Boohoo Group says it will have no choice but end its relationships with suppliers that continue to fail to meet supply chain standards. It says it’s working with suppliers that need to change their working practices – but that that walking away from every factory that had issues would have a “catastrophic impact” on workers’ livelihoods. However, where company owners do not show a “demonstrable, measurable and significant improvement to protect the jobs of those employed” it will have to walk away, it said in a statement. “If we are left in any doubt about an owners’s true commitment to drive change in the time frame that we have set out we will have no choice but to terminate trading with them.”
The fast fashion pureplay group, whose Boohoo brand is ranked Top100 in RXUK Top500 research, issued its statement in response to reports in The Guardian that auditors had raised red flags at Boohoo supplier factories in Leicester. The Guardian cites auditor reports on 18 Boohoo suppliers, produced over four years, that raised questions about minimum wage violations,
Boohoo’s Leicester supply chain came under scrutiny during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown as a result of high rates of local infection that triggered a subsequent local lockdown. Some garment factories serving the group were at the time reported not to be properly observing health and safety requirements during the pandemic.
Boohoo Group responded by asking QC Alison Levitt to lead an independent and comprehensive review of the Leicester supply chain, including a public call for evidence. It now says it would be inappropriate to comment on auditors’ reports before that report is published. It added: “The group is committed to delivering the highest standards of ethics, compliance and transparency and we have committed to sharing an update on the findings of Ms Levitt’s review, our response and the actions that we will take to address any failings at the end of September.” It said it was also working with organisations including the GLAA and the Slave Free Alliance.
Boohoo Group’s half-year results will be published on September 30 when the company has committed to giving an update on the findings of the Levitt review.