Ethical Trading Initiative says no to Boohoo supply chain probe
The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) has questioned the independence of a QC-led probe into working conditions and worker’s rights at Boohoo factories in Leicester.
The review, which has been commissioned by Boohoo and is being led by senior barrister Alison Levitt QC, aims to investigate allegations that staff at one of its factories are paid less than the minimum wage.
Levitt issued a public call for evidence and has invited various organisations and advocacy groups to provide information. But the ETI has revealed it will not participate, challenging the inquiry’s focus and impartiality.
In a statement, the organisation said Boohoo has known about supply chain issues in Leicester, brought to light by various reports and investigations, since 2015. Instead of focusing on individual factories, fashion companies need to improve corporate business practices around purchasing. But according to the ETI, Boohoo has not shown a willingness to engage in this process.
Additionally, the supply chain monitor said “we do not believe that an enquiry commissioned by Boohoo and paid for by Boohoo can be fully independent. We would expect a wide number of stakeholders who understand the complexities of the UK garment industry to be involved in a truly independent enquiry.”
The public call for evidence invites everyone who can offer an insight to provide information about the group’s Leicester supply chain via an online questionnaire.
A spokesperson for the review told the Financial Times: “We regret the Ethical Trading Initiative’s unjustified questioning of the independence and impartiality of the review and, by doing so, seeking to undermine important work being carried out in the public interest.”
The Ethical Trading Initiative is an alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs that promotes respect for workers' rights around the globe. Its members include Asos, H&M Group, Marks & Spencer and John Lewis.
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