Boohoo Starts Independent Review Amid Labor Abuse Concern

Boohoo Group Plc commissioned an independent review of its supply chain amid concern over the exploitation of labor at the online fashion retailer’s contractors.

Alison Levitt, a lawyer and former U.K. public prosecutor, will lead the review. Boohoo hired Bureau Veritas, a compliance specialist, to investigate.

Shares in Boohoo have plunged this week on concern it could face a formal investigation under Britain’s Modern Slavery Act. The U.K.’s National Crime Agency said on Monday that it had visited a number of business premises in the Leicester, England, area “to assess concerns of modern slavery and human trafficking.” The agency didn’t identify the companies involved.

Retailers including the U.K.’s Next Plc, fashion site Asos Plc and German e-commerce outlet Zalando SE have temporarily suspended the sale of Boohoo products.

On Monday Boohoo said it has launched its own investigation and would review its supply chain in Leicester, the site of a recent flareup in coronavirus infections. It has pledged to immediately terminate contracts with any suppliers that have breached its code of conduct.

Boohoo is earmarking 10 million pounds ($13 million) to eradicate supply chain malpractices, according to a statement Wednesday. The retailer said it also canceled contracts with two suppliers that were breaking its code of conduct.

Last year, Boohoo hired Verisio, an ethical audit specialist, to monitor contractors. Since 2016, the company said it has been carrying out regular unscheduled inspections among suppliers in Leicester.

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