France to Ban Burning of Luxury Goods

6 June 2019

France's prime minister on Tuesday announced a crackdown on the destruction of unsold or returned consumer products that will affect online retailers such as Amazon and luxury goods brands.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s announcement, that a ban on destroying non-food goods would come into force within the next four years, came after the number of Green party voters surged across Europe in last month's European elections, not least in France where the EELV party came third with 13.5% of the vote.

According to the French premier's office, over £575 million ($730 million) worth of new consumer products are thrown away or destroyed every year. The measure would make it compulsory to hand in the products for reuse or recycling.

"It is a waste that shocks, that is shocking to common sense. It's a scandal," said Philippe, as he launched the measure at a discount store in Paris.

The measure is part of a draft bill on the economy which is due to be discussed by the cabinet in July. It would apply by between 2021-2023.

British fashion firm Burberry also caused a furore last year by acknowledging that it had burned unsold clothes, accessories and perfume worth £28.6 million ($35.5 million) annually to prevent them being sold off cheaply. The aim was to maintain the exclusivity and luxury mystique of the brand and it later became clear that the practise was relatively commonplace in the industry.

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