The perils of insufficiencies in strategic sourcing and supply relationship management have hit the headlines after a stinging criticism from the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) for online retailer Boohoo, which was judged guilty of mis-selling real fur products.
The Humane Society International (HSI) had undertaken an investigation of a line of Boohoo jumpers which the retailer claimed consisted of fake fur. In fact, tests by an independent textile laboratory found real rabbit fur in the product.
The ASA found that an external supplier of Boohoo’s “faux fur pom-pom” jumpers had signed an agreement to refrain from sullying products containing real fur. Boohoo had, the ASA concedes, put in place quality control tests but a sample of fur from the jumper in question had wrongly passed these internal checks.
Acting swiftly to limit reputational damage, Boohoo released a statement saying, “We have a strong commitment against the sale of real fur in any of our products. Following the enquiry made by the Humane Society, the item has been removed from sale. We uphold our commitment against the sale of real fur in any of our products and continue to investigate the matter internally and with the supplier in question, and we do so as a matter of priority.”
The executive director of HSI UK, Claire Bass, was uncompromising in her response, stating that British companies have a responsibility to establish rigorous checks across the entire span of the supply chain to make sure that their customers are not misled over the cruel use of real fur.
The findings follow a string of other cases of mis-selling real fur following HSI investigations, with high street brands Tesco, Boots and FatFace all found culpable.
Ms Bass conceded that many retailers found to have been selling real fur had been misled by some of their suppliers, but she insisted that they should have done their duty and implemented rigorous tests within their chains to stop rogue products reaching customers.