Boohoo’s chief executive has said he was “very upset” about the damning reports into its supply chain as he defended his decision not to step down.
John Lyttle, who has helmed the fast-fashion giant since 2019, defended his companies practices in a recent interview with BBC Radio 5.
It comes just days after reports into the Leicester garment industry, from which Boohoo receives a significant portion of its stock, revealed that illegally low wages, intimidation and a lack of any accountability are still rife one year after the scandal.
“It’s not the culture of our business, it’s not how we look after our staff,” Lyttle said.
“We want to make sure everything is proper and done in the right way.”
After the expose into exploitation at many of Boohoo’s suppliers was published last year, many investors called for Lyttle’s resignation, while a recent investigation from The I criticised both the government and Boohoo’s clampdowns for leading to no prosecutions and little change in the industry a year later.
Lyttle defended his decision to retain his position, stating that: “If I’d have resigned, it would have set it back – in terms of time – to do what we needed to do.”
Responding to two separate recent investigations which found many garment factory workers continuing to be underpaid, he added that he had “not seen evidence” to suggest this and Boohoo could “level up our audit and investigation to ensure those workers are getting paid”.
He also sought to defend Boohoo’s sustainability record, telling the BBC that “20 per cent of all our ranges will be sustainable this autumn… 40 per cent next spring/summer.
“They’re not going to be fixed in six and 12 months… It’s the same 2030 timeframe as combustible engines.”
Manchester Fashion Institute’s senior lecturer Noelle Hatley said that while “40 per cent is a reasonable target”, it is meaningless as there is no “industry-wide agreement” on what “sustainable” means.
“…It all hinges on what they mean by sustainable and how much information they will actually share with the customers,” she added.