Boohoo brings in leading judge Sir Brian Leveson for its clean-up in wake of sweatshop scandal
Boohoohas appointed one of the UK’s top judges to oversee the overhaul of its factories after a report found sweatshop conditions.
Sir Brian Leveson, 71, best known for his role chairing the public inquiry into phone hacking, will report directly to the board on the fashion giant’s progress in cleaning up its supply chain.
He will work with two ethical audit specialists to ensure the fast-fashion firm’s supply chain ‘is treated fully in accordance with the law and principles of ethical trading’.
Sir Brian Leveson, 71, best known for his role chairing the public inquiry into phone hacking, will report directly to the board on Boohoo’s progress in cleaning up its supply chain
An independent report published in September by Alison Levitt QC revealed ‘excessive’ hours, life-threatening conditions and illegally low pay across much of the supply chain.
Leveson 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.’
He added that he would also publish publicly available progress reports.
Leveson, who was called to the Bar in 1970, retired from the bench in June 2019 and is the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, which oversees powers exercised by intelligence services and the police.
Boohoo hope that appointing a senior former judge will allay fears over the firm’s governance.
Its bosses are desperate to resurrect the firm’s image and its share price, which plunged following newspaper reports that workers making Boohoo garments were paid as little as £3.50 an hour.
The stock fell from 400p to 210p in a fortnight, and despite remedial action has only recovered to 300p despite the online seller emerging as a lockdown winner.
Boohoo’s bosses are in line for a £150million bonus if the company’s market capitalisation rises to £7.55billion by June 2023.
It is currently £3.8billion. The next test will come in December when its executive chairman Mahmud Kamani faces MPs.
He has faced calls to quit after emails revealed he was criticised for forcing buyers to drive ‘faster, harder’ bargains.
But he said he was ‘fully committed’ to cleaning up the supply chain.
He added: ‘I am encouraged by the progress been made by our teams since setting out our Agenda for Change programme in September.’