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25 Mär 2021

Sarah Butler, The Guardian

UK: Boohoo cuts ties with hundreds of suppliers following review highlighting lockdown, minimum wage and labour rights violations in fast fashion e-tailers supply chain

“Boohoo severs ties with hundreds of UK manufacturers after critical review”, 25 March 2021

Boohoo has published a full list of the UK clothing manufacturers it works with after severing ties with hundreds of companies following a damning review last year of its supply chain.

… [T]he review by Alison Levitt QC found the fast fashion retailer had been working with up to 500 UK suppliers when subcontractors were included. The review concluded there were “endemic” problems at Leicester factories in its supply chain, including minimum wage and life-threatening fire risk.

Boohoo has now banned subcontracting by its main suppliers so some of the reduction in numbers is the result of outsourced work being brought in-house. However, the 78 approved manufacturers operate across just 100 sites.

Boohoo said the reduction in suppliers would “strengthen oversight and ownership and provide greater protection to workers”.

Sir Brian Leveson, the retired judge who has been appointed by Boohoo to oversee the overhaul of its supply chain … warned “there is some way to go to ensure the changes put in place become business as usual”.

In his second progress report published on Thursday, he praised better monitoring of factory staff … but flagged concerns about some factory workers being signed up to zero-hours contracts.

Boohoo said it remained committed to UK manufacturing and continued to order the same volume of goods from Leicester despite reducing supplier numbers.

John Lyttle, the chief executive of Boohoo, said: “We have faced up to the problems of the past and are now driving positive change in the industry. We want to play our part in rebuilding a vibrant manufacturing base in Leicester, one that offers good employment and great prospects for the workers and the industry in Leicester as a whole.”