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Boohoo appoints retired judge to oversee supply chain improvement

By Huw Hughes


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Boohoo has appointed retired judge Sir Brian Leveson to provide independent oversight of the group's Agenda for Change programme which it launched in September following an independent review into the fast-fashion group’s UK supply chain.

In his new role, Leveson will report directly to the board and his reports will be published, “thereby bringing both transparency and further independence to the process”, Boohoo said.

The former judge, who was president of the Queen’s Bench Division and Head of Criminal Justice, has also appointed both legal and independent enquiry and enforcement specialists to supplement the Agenda for Change programme.

“Boohoo has recognised that it must institute and embed change so that everyone involved in the Group's supply chain is treated fully in accordance with the law and the principles of ethical trading,” Leveson said in a statement.

“I look forward to providing independent oversight of the Agenda for Change programme and to working with the boohoo team, KPMG and the other independent experts to achieve this, while, at the same time, providing publicly available progress reports.”

It comes amid a bumpy year for Boohoo, with an independent review of the retailer’s UK supply chain, concluded in September, finding “many failings” in the factories of some of its suppliers in Leicester.

The review was launched after an undercover investigation in July by The Sunday Times alleged some of the Leicester factories supplying clothes to Boohoo were paying workers just 3.50 pounds per hour and forcing some to work while sick. Boohoo denied claims of illegal wages.

Boohoo then announced its Agenda for Change programme in which it set out six steps to enhance its supplier audit and compliance procedures, including the bolstering of its corporate governance through the appointment of new independent directors and the launch of a Supply Chain Compliance Committee.

In recent weeks, Boohoo appointed KPMG to assist with the programme to work with the group's growing responsible sourcing and compliance team, and existing supply chain auditors Bureau Veritas and Verisio.

Mahmud Kamani, group executive chairman, said: “I am encouraged by the progress that has been made to date by our teams since setting out our Agenda for Change programme in September.

“Myself and the board are fully committed to this programme, with the appointments of Sir Brian Leveson and KPMG bringing independent oversight, additional expertise and further transparency to a programme that will help us on our journey to lead the fashion e-commerce market globally in a transparent manner.”

Photo credit: Boohoo