Boohoo publishes list of UK suppliers to meet transparency pledge

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FILE PHOTO: A woman poses with a smartphone showing the Boohoo app in front of the Boohoo logo on display in this illustration taken September 30, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

(Reuters) – British online fashion retailer Boohoo on Thursday published a list of 78 approved manufacturers operating across 100 sites in the UK, meeting a commitment for increased transparency.

The list was released exactly six months after Boohoo accepted all the recommendations of an independent review led by senior lawyer Allison Levitt which found major failings in its supply chain in England in the wake of newspaper allegations about working conditions and low pay.

Last September the group, which sells clothing, shoes, accessories and beauty products targeted at 16- to 40-year-olds and has grown into a company with a stock market value of 4.2 billion pounds ($5.8 billion), also set out steps to tackle the problems.

In November Boohoo appointed retired judge Brian Leveson to independently oversee its “Agenda for Change” programme, which implements the recommendations of Levitt’s report.

Boohoo said the list was the result of work carried out through the programme, to map and audit its manufacturers and introduce changes to the way the business works with its suppliers.

The retailer said Andrew Reaney, its director of responsible sourcing, worked with independent auditors Verisio and Bureau Veritas to examine the working practices of suppliers, with a majority of UK suppliers audited twice over the last eight months.

Boohoo said Leveson also commissioned Tim Godwin, a former senior police officer, to carry out additional forensic level enquiries to identify and address any irregularities in the leadership and management of suppliers.

Publishing a list of UK approved suppliers was one of Levitt’s core recommendations.

Boohoo said it has ceased doing business with a number of manufacturers who were unable to demonstrate the required standard of transparency.

“This is the not the end of a project for us at Boohoo but the beginning of a new way of working with our suppliers,” said CEO John Lyttle.

“We have faced up to the problems of the past and are now driving positive change in the industry.”