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Nov 26, 2020
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​Boohoo ups ethical stance, Leveson to head its ‘Agenda for Change’ programme

Published
Nov 26, 2020

Boohoo’s well-publicised bid to clean up its ethical act has intensified with the appointment of a serious heavyweight to oversee its ‘Agenda for Change’ programme, announced in September.


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The fast-fashion online retailer has appointed former judge Sir Brian Leveson to “provide independent oversight" of the programme in order to “deliver long-lasting and meaningful change to the group's supply chain and its business practices”.

Meanwhile, the group has also appointed accounting specialist KPMG to assist with the programme, “bringing additional resource, expertise and independence to the process".

Boohoo's in-depth review follows allegations that one of its UK suppliers was paying workers less than the minimum wage. It was also alleged the supplier failed to protect workers against Covid-19.

Sir Brian's appointment will give Boohoo's bid to shine a bright light on its ethical practices some credence. He is best known for chairing the public probe into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press in 2011/12, prompted by the News of the World phone-hacking affair.

Sir Brian will report directly to the board and his reports will be published, “thereby bringing both transparency and further independence to the process”.

He has also appointed both legal, and independent enquiry and enforcement specialists “to supplement the Agenda for Change programme to ensure that everyone associated with the group's supply chain is treated fully in accordance with the law and the principles of ethical trading”.

Meanwhile, KPMG will work with the group's “growing responsible sourcing and compliance team”, and existing supply chain auditors Bureau Veritas and Verisio, Boohoo said.

Sir Brian said: "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. 

“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".

Group executive chairman Mahmud Kamani added: "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.

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