Boohoo responds to independent review into supply chain “failings”

Boohoo has responded to the findings of the independent review into its supply chain, stating it is “wholly supportive” of the recommendations set out by Alison Levitt QC. It has therefore outlined a range of steps it will take to “effect real change in the Leicester textile industry”.

The independent review was commissioned by the online fashion group following reports in The Times in July that that workers within its supply chain were being paid around £3.50-£4 per hour – less than half the required National Living Wage for people over the age of 25.

The findings of the review were delivered to Boohoo’s board on 24 September, and will be published in full on the group’s website today.

The Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing and Nasty Gal parent company, which has also recently acquired Coast, Karen Millen, and Oasis and Warehouse, said the review “identified many failings in the Leicester supply chain and recommended improvements to boohoo's related corporate governance, compliance and monitoring processes”. It added that Levitt was satisfied that Boohoo “did not deliberately allow poor conditions and low pay to exist within its supply chain”.

Following these recommendations, the eCommerce brand has firstly set out plans enhance its governance and oversight; these include appointing a “highly experienced and respected individual” to oversee its change agenda as well as two new non-executive directors to its board, one of whom is experienced in dealing with environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters.

Boohoo is also seeking to redefine its purchasing practices through initiatives such as implementing a new set of principles for its buying teams and introducing mandatory training for its purchasing teams. The company additionally revealed an action plan to raise standards across its supply chain, supporting Leicester workers and workers' rights, support for suppliers, and demonstrating best practice in action.

John Lyttle, group CEO at Boohoo commented: "Today we publish Ms Levitt's Independent Review in full. This has identified significant and clearly unacceptable issues in our supply chain, and the steps we had taken to address them, but it is clear that we need to go further and faster to improve our governance, oversight and compliance. As a result, the group is implementing necessary enhancements to its supplier audit and compliance procedures, and the board's oversight of these matters will increase significantly.”