Boohoo could end up being a force for good after its Leicester factories scandal

Jim Armitage
·1-min read
 (Getty Images for boohoo.com)
(Getty Images for boohoo.com)

Boohoo likes to point out that it was already dealing with its Leicester supply chain before the Sunday Times exposed its shocking failures.

That’s as may be, but it clearly wasn’t proceeding fast enough.

The gruesome sight of Britain’s poorest workers earning just £3.50 an hour shook the country and scarred the reputation of British business.

Executive chairman Mahmud Kamani should have quit to let outsiders clean up the mess. His large founder’s stake in the company meant that didn’t happen.

But thanks to the guidance of a sensible newish CEO in John Lyttle, Boohoo is running a textbook reputation recovery plan.

It hired not one but two respected QCs to investigate its behaviour; one to review its mistakes and another to make sure it puts them right.

It’s easy to be cynical about corporate change programmes after scandals occur, but the changes Boohoo is making to its business seem meaningful.

The company is now crawling with auditors checking its complex network of suppliers don’t break the rules.

It has invested heavily in monitoring and finding better ones as the business expands and made a main board director responsible for ethical sourcing.

Some 64 bad suppliers have been ejected and Sir Brian Leveson, QC, is auditing its progress. While saying much remains to be done, he seems impressed by the work so far.

Hopefully, having erred so badly, Boohoo can use its muscle to be a force for good in Leicester, improving the whole industry with it. This seems a good start.

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