LONDON — Burberry has joined a legion of fashion and luxury companies helping to fight the coronavirus, leveraging its supply chain to make emergency deliveries of medical equipment and using its Yorkshire factories to manufacture hospital gowns and masks for patients.
The company said Saturday it is using its global supply chain network to fast-track the delivery of more than 100,000 surgical masks to the U.K. National Health Service, for use by medical staff.
It is also “retooling” its trench coat factory in Castleford, Yorkshire to make nonsurgical gowns and masks for patients. Production and distribution will be subject to approval from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, Burberry said.
The company added that it is funding research into a single-dose vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford, which has one of the world’s best track records in emergency vaccine development, with past success in fighting Ebola and MERS. The vaccine is on course to begin human trials next month.
The company also said it was donating to charities including FareShare and The Felix Project, which aim to tackle food poverty across the U.K.
“With pressures mounting on food supplies, the charities are further expanding efforts to help those struggling as a result of the outbreak. This includes setting up community produce hubs, delivering food to young people who rely on free school meals and increasing pre-packed food parcels to help food banks cope with demand and maintain social distancing policies,” Burberry said.
Marco Gobbetti, chief executive officer of Burberry, declared that “in challenging times, we must pull together. The whole team at Burberry is very proud to be able to support those who are working tirelessly to combat COVID-19, whether by treating patients, working to find a vaccine solution or helping provide food supplies to those in need at this time.”
He said that COVID-19 “has fundamentally changed our everyday lives, but we hope that the support we provide will go some way towards saving more lives, bringing the virus under control and helping our world recover from this devastating pandemic. Together, we will get through this.”
Oxford’s head of medical sciences, professor Gavin Screaton, described Burberry’s support for the university’s research into a vaccine for COVID-19 as generous.
He added that it was “an example of forward-thinking corporate philanthropy that complements and bolsters government and other investment in Oxford’s leading global talent in this field. Donations like this have real and rapid impact, allowing us to be agile in our response, to accelerate this time-critical research.”