Leicester MP Liz Kendall renews attack on top Boohoo investors

The fast-fashion retailer is seeking to distance itself from the scandal around its supply chain in Leicester

A Leicester MP has again hit out at Boohoo’s top investors following the controversy around the retailer's supply chain in Leicester.   

Liz Kendall, the Labour member for Leicester West, said the response from large shareholders, including Jupiter, Fidelity, Invesco and BlackRock, had been disappointing after she wrote to them calling for action last month. 

Except for Standard Life Aberdeen, which sold its Boohoo shares in July, she said none had "changed any of their actual investment decisions. 

“That makes a total mockery of their promises and claims to champion responsible investment,” Ms Kendall added. 

“Fund managers need to champion responsible investing - not as the latest marketing gimmick, but because they intend to drive real change. Otherwise it is all just warm words and not worth the paper, or website, it is written on.”

Jupiter Asset Management, Boohoo’s second-largest shareholder, has rejected calls for a leadership change, saying it was reassured by the measures taken by the company. 

The fast fashion retailer was plunged into turmoil in July when an undercover reporter visited a factory where staff were allegedly paid less than minimum wage.

https://kaleistyleguide.com/business/2020/07/10/top-investor-dumps-boohoo-inadequate-response-sweatshop-claims/

Alison Levitt QC subsequently found no evidence Boohoo had broken the law, but said the company failed to take action quickly enough. She also warned that its supply chain in Leicester was likely to be riddled with bad behaviour from poor working conditions to serious fire safety violations.

Ms Kendall’s remarks were made during a debate on Wednesday about worker exploitation in the Leicester textile industry. 

In her view the failures in Boohoo’s supply chain in Leicester constituted “one of the worst environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) scandals in modern UK history”. 

The MP said she told investors she "did not think that those who had turned a blind eye to these problems over many years were the right people to take the company forward. To be clear, the executive chairman and the chief executive officer should be removed.”

Mahmud Kamani, who co-founded Boohoo with Carol Kane in 2006, is the executive chairman. Together they recruited John Lyttle as chief executive from Primark last year. They have vowed to make sweeping changes to make Boohoo "better". 

A spokesman for Boohoo declined to comment.