Wednesday 16 December 2020 5:48 pm

Boohoo exits 64 Leicester factories over code of conduct breaches following supplier scandal

Boohoo terminated relationships with more than 60 Leicester suppliers following an investigation into working conditions at garment factories in the city. 

The fast fashion firm has exited 64 factories following a scandal that found some clothing suppliers in the city were paying workers less than minimum wage. 

Read more: Boohoo hires retired judge Leveson to oversee supply chain revamp

Boohoo’s director of responsible sourcing and product operations Andrew Reaney told MPs this afternoon that the decisions were made over “violations of the Boohoo code of conduct”.

He told the Environmental Audit Committee that the breaches were “serious enough to cease trading with those companies”, adding that “obviously paying a fair living wage is part of our code of conduct”. 

Boohoo’s founder and executive chairman Mahmoud Kahmani also gave evidence to the parliamentary select committee this afternoon.

An inquiry was launched into working conditions in UK garment factories and clothing sustainability issues following a Sunday Times report this summer containing allegations of low pay and poor working conditions in Leicester.

An independent review, conducted by Alison Levitt QC and published in September, found that allegations of low pay and poor working conditions at Boohoo’s Leicester supplier “not merely well-founded but substantially true”.

It also revealed that the company’s monitoring of its Leicester supply chain was “inadequate”, which was “attributable to weak corporate governance”.

The company vowed to address all of the concerns raised in the report.

Kamani told MPs today that the company did not previously have the “right oversight and structures in place”.

“Our business has been growing between 50 per cent and 100 per cent year on year and we have been growing the top line, and processes do fall away,” he said.

Read more: Boohoo factory saga ‘one of the worst ESG scandals’ in UK history, Leicester MP says

“What we are guilty of, if anything, is we didn’t put processes in fast enough. 

“We recognise in this industry that when we’re dealing with an independent factory who is not owned by us that some of them don’t play with a straight bat as it were, but we try our best to make good.”