Boohoo will grow its own sustainable cotton amid Western concerns about the mass production of the raw material in Xinjiang.
John Lyttle, chief executive of the online fast fashion firm, revealed the company has planted its own crop in Pakistan, which it plans to harvest in the first half of next year.
Its first crop will yield about 2,000 tons, which will go into Boohoo’s supply chain and be used to create “millions” of garments for its leisurewear and denim ranges. The company said the move will allow it “complete traceability” on the source of its cotton.
The initiative comes amid widespread reports of human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region of north-west China affecting Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities over many years.
Boohoo has denied using products made with forced labour in the region following an investigation by the business, energy and industrial strategy committee. The retailer said it did “not knowingly source any yarn or fabric” from the region, as MPs questioned auditing processes at the business following a row over working conditions at its Leicester supply chain.
Boohoo plans to publish a list of its global suppliers in September.