The share price of UK fast fashion company Boohoo continued to suffer this week after allegations about worker exploitation by a supplier in the English town of Leicester. A major shareholder, Standard Life Aberdeen, has offloaded much of its 3.5 per cent holding. Boohoo has expressed its shock at the accusations and promised an independent review of its entire supply chain in Britain.
But the real story goes beyond Boohoo or Leicester. For Labour Behind the Label, a UK-based advocacy group that published a report on Boohoo supplier factories last month and lobbies for garment workers’ rights worldwide, it’s yet another incident in a nearly 20-year campaign to expose what it describes as fundamental flaws in fashion supply chain networks worldwide.
“The conditions we found in Leicester are endemic to the industry globally. It’s part of a much bigger systemic issue,” says Meg Lewis, a campaign manager for the group.
The media furore about Boohoo’s supply chain has highlighted the problems of an industry that is underregulated and faces little accountability, Lewis says. As the news cycle moves on from the Boohoo investigation, Labour Behind the Label and other advocates intend to keep a focus on the underlying issues. At the top of their list of priorities: a review of brands’ procurement practices and tougher legislation.
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