// Boohoo Leicester factory probe concludes it “did not deliberately allow poor conditions and low pay to exist within its supply chain
// The independent review also found Boohoo “has already made a significant start on putting things right”
A review of Boohoo’s supply chain has identified “many failings”, but it freed it from allegations of deliberately allowing poor conditions and low pay for garment workers.
The independent probe was called after reporters uncovered serious concerns about some of Boohoo’s suppliers in Leicester over the summer, including allegations of modern slavery.
The Alison Levitt QC-headed review concluded that hat Boohoo “did not deliberately allow poor conditions and low pay to exist within its supply chain, it did not intentionally profit from them and its business model is not founded on exploiting workers in Leicester”.
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The probe also found that Boohoo could have been a force for good if it had been “willing to take a different approach to how it both views and interacts with the Leicester supply chain”.
The review added: “It has already made a significant start on putting things right.”
The probe has also led to recommendations of a series of improvements to Boohoo’s corporate governance, compliance and monitoring processes.
Meanwhile, Boohoo said initiatives aimed at “remedying problems in its Leicester supply chain had been implemented nearly a year ago”, but conceded that “with the benefit of hindsight we regret that these processes did not advance quickly enough”.
“The group recognises that in order to effect real change in the Leicester textile industry, further clear, strong and measurable actions are needed in addition to those that the group was undertaking,” the online fashion retailer said.
Boohoo added it was already working on improving its corporate governance, pointing to its recent hiring of a new group director of responsible sourcing as an example, and that it would soon appoint “a highly experienced and respected individual” to oversee its change agenda.
The online retail giant said it also plans to bring in two new non-executive directors, with one of having a speciality in dealing with environmental, social and governance matters.
Boohoo added that supply chain compliance would now become “a mandatory item” at every board meeting “with immediate effect”, and that its buying teams will undergo “mandatory education and training” to ensure new purchasing principles are being implemented.
The retailer also pledged to consolidate the number of businesses on its approved supplier list and will invite new suppliers with a track record of “ethical and sustainability policies”.
Meanwhile, Boohoo promised to establish a Garment and Textiles Community Trust to support Leicester factory workers.
“As a board, we recognise that we need to rebuild confidence that these matters will be dealt with appropriately and sensitively, and that they will not recur,” Boohoo chief executive John Lyttle said.
“Garment workers in Leicester and our suppliers across the city are an important part of our success.
“We recognise that Boohoo has been a major force in driving the textile industry in Leicester and today want to reinforce our commitment to being a leader for positive change in the city, alongside workers, suppliers, local government, NGOs and the community at large.
“Today, we are setting out the further steps we are taking to drive long-lasting and meaningful change that all stakeholders in the Boohoo group will benefit from.”