Following recent allegations regarding its supply chain, online fashion retailer Boohoo has taken decisive action by announcing an independent review of its UK supply chain. This comes after the company faced delistings by popular online marketplaces like Asos and Zalando, which prompted Boohoo to address the issue promptly and protect its business.

Boohoo’s board expressed shock and disappointment at the allegations made against the company, while also highlighting that there were inaccuracies within the exposé of Leicester factories. The company emphasized that the majority of its turnover comes from its own websites, with wholesale operations only accounting for a small percentage. Specifically, wholesale accounted for less than 4% of group turnover in the last financial year and just 1.4% in the first four months of this year.

In an effort to rebuild the reputation of the textile manufacturing industry in Leicester and prevent the actions of a few from tarnishing the work of many suppliers, Boohoo has appointed Alison Levitt QC to lead the independent review. Additionally, the company has committed an extra £10 million to address any supply chain malpractice. Boohoo is also expediting its third-party supply chain review by partnering with compliance specialists Verisio and Bureau Veritas.

Boohoo has made it clear that it will not tolerate non-compliance with its Code of Conduct or any mistreatment of workers. Suppliers who fail to comply will have their relationships terminated. Although there were some inaccuracies in the initial media report, Boohoo clarified that the garments in question were manufactured in Morocco rather than Leicester. However, the company did find evidence of non-compliance with its Code of Conduct during its investigation, leading to the immediate termination of relationships with certain suppliers.

Despite not owning or operating manufacturing facilities, Boohoo remains committed to UK manufacturing, with around 40% of its products made in Britain. The company recognizes the potential risks associated with its supply chain setup and aims to identify areas of risk and non-compliance through the independent review of its UK supply chain. This review will focus on supplier compliance with minimum wage regulations, Covid-19 regulations, working hours and record-keeping, as well as right-to-work documentation and contracts of employment. Boohoo plans to provide updates on the review during its half-year results announcement in September, as well as in January and at other points throughout next year.

Useful links:

1. Ethical Trade Initiative: Findings from the Leicester Garment Sector Inquiry
2. UK Government: Working hours and conditions