Boohoo reduces UK supplier number following Leicester investigation

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2021-03-26 13:03:40 – United Kingdom

United Kingdom-based online fashion retailer Boohoo has cut ties with a number of suppliers following a review of its UK supply chain.

In a statement on Thursday, Boohoo said that despite being provided with opportunities to address any issues identified in the auditing process, they have ceased doing business with a number of manufacturers who were unable to show the high standard of transparency required. And the remaining suppliers were required to bring production in-house in order to allow for greater oversight and remove the issue of unapproved subcontracting.

It is followed by an independent review into the fast-fashion giant’s supply chain which was launched last year following reports of poor working conditions.

Many of the measures in the company’s Agenda for Change program were recommended in an independent report which was published by senior lawyer Alison Levitt last year. The review was concluded in September and found many shortcomings in the factories of some of its suppliers in Leicester. But in the end, they stated that there was no evidence regarding the company itself or its officers had committed any criminal offenses.

The independent review contained the 6 steps to enhance its supplier audit and compliance procedures. As part of that, they said that they would publish a full list of its UK suppliers. Boohoo's newly-published list contains the 78 approved manufacturers operating across 100 sites in the UK.

Boohoo admitted that the number of approved manufacturers was much lower than the approximately 500 quoted in the Levit report. The company said that it worked with independent auditors Bureau Veritas and Verisio to carry out unannounced visits to suppliers, with the majority of them having been audited twice over the last 8 months.

John Lyttle, Boohoo’s CEO stated that this is the beginning of a new way of working with their suppliers and is not the end of the project. They are guiding a positive change in the industry and want to play their role in rebuilding a vibrant manufacturing base in Leicester. It will be the one that offers good employment and great prospects for the workers in Leicester.

The new sustainability strategy, ‘Up. Front Fashion Ready for the Future’ was also announced by Boohoo which has set out the target in 3 key areas: better terms for suppliers,  smarter manufacturing of clothes, and a reduced carbon footprint.

Lyttle added that another step is added on their journey towards greater transparency and embedding positive change with the publication of our UK supply chain List. This is not only beneficial for their own organization, but also through the wider network of businesses that make up our supply chain. They are committing to ambitious targets across supply, production, and governance through their Sustainability Strategy to ensure the business is ready for the future.

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