A retail chain, founded originally in the United Kingdom in 1976 by Anita Roddick, now with over 1700 outlets in 49 countries throughout the world. They deal in cosmetics and general body and skin care products.

The driving philosophy behind the Body Shop is one of social, ethical and environmental/ecological values: their products are made, as much as possible, with all natural ingredients; are neither tested on animals nor made with animal-based ingredients; reuse and recycling of product packaging is encouraged; and economic development of impoverished or third-world countries is fostered through fair trade programs with such countries.

Some information taken from the official website at http://www.bodyshop.com

The Body Shop Mission Statement

  • To dedicate our business to the pursuit of social and environmental change.
  • To creatively balance the financial and human needs of our stakeholders: employees, customers, franchisees, suppliers and shareholders.
  • To courageously ensure that our business is ecologically sustainable: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the future.
  • To meaningfully contribute to local, national and international communities in which we trade, by adopting a code of conduct which ensures care, honesty, fairness and respect.
  • To passionately campaign for the protection of the environment, human and civil rights, and against animal testing within the cosmetics and toiletries industry.
  • To tirelessly work to narrow the gap between principle and practice, whilst making fun, passion and care part of our daily lives.

The Body Shop is a global company which expanded from a small business Anita Roddick started when she began selling homemade skin and hair products in minimal packaging from a small shop in Brighton, England in 1976. The original shop sold 25 different products made from natural ingredients. Roddick then sold this idea to business minded people who set up their own Body Shop franchises throughout the world. Presently there are around 1900 outlets in over 50 countries throughout the world with a portfolio of over a thousand products.

Alongside their retail trade, The Body Shop funds campaigns to stop the abuse of human rights, animal experimentation and to help environmental causes.

In the Beginning...

Two years after Anita Roddick unveiled her small shop in Brighton on 26th March 1976 selling products containing the previously unfashionable aloe vera, jojoba oil and rhassol mud, the first Body Shop overseas franchise commenced trading from a kiosk in Brussels. By 1982 new franchises were opening at the rate of two per month.

By the end of another two years of business, The Body Shop had become a public company and had sponsored a run of posters promoting Greenpeace.


The next year, 1986, the company created their own environmental projects department with their first major campaign being Save the Whales with Greenpeace once again.

In 1989 The Body Shop ran their Stop the Burning campaign in a bid to cease the widespread burning of rainforests by the Brazilian government. A million customers signed the instore petition which Anita Roddick presented to the Brazilian embassy.

This project as so sucessful that in 1990 The Body Shop Foundation was born. Since its conception it has funded many human rights and environmental protection groups which comply with the foundations philosphies. The initiation of the Big Issue magazine in 1991 was just one of these causes.

After only one year of being launched in the US, The Body Shop plc recieved 2500 applications for franchises to add to the list of outlets spanning 39 different countries.

By 1993 the company was in a strong enough position to launch an international campaign. The foundation decided that they should try to raise awareness of the Ogoni people who were persecuted for protesting against the petrol company Shell and the Nigerian dictatorship in their homeland.

The Body Shop at Home

The direct selling section of The Body Shop was created in 1994 in the UK with Canada following soon after in 1995, Australia in 1997 and the USA and Ireland in 2001.

In the UK alone in 2002 there are more than 3000 consultants who sell Body Shop products in the home of customers totalling 103,762 parties in 2000/2001 alone.


Alongside this new initiative, The Body Shop also strengthened its environmental interests in 1994 when it bought a 15% stake in a wind farm in Wales in a move to use only enviromentally friendly electricity in its UK stores.

By 2001 all of The Body Shop regional head offices and service centres switched to Ecotricity. 127 of The Body Shop UK stores and were converted to green electricity with the remainder of outlets aiming to follow suit in the near future.

Continuing the environmental theme, Anita Roddick introduced an innovative management degree at the University of Bath. This qualification combines a business degree with social, environmental and ethical issue awareness.

After the success of previous campaigns, The Body Shop began collecting signatures in 1996 for a petition against animal testing. Little did they know but this petition was to become one of the largest ever petitions with over four million signatures. This was delivered to the European Commission in 1996 leading to a ban on animal testing on cosmetic products and ingredients in the UK in November 1998.

Amnesty International

The 50th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights was also in 1998. To mark this occassion The Body Shop co-operating with Amnesty International launched a campaign to highlight human rights defenders around the world. Over 3 million people supported the cause.

The foundation was particularly busy this year as alongside the human rights issue, they funded in part the launch of The Big Issue in Los Angeles.

Loyalty Scheme

In 1999 The Body Shop introduced a loyalty scheme in its UK outlets to provide incentives to its customers. These included the option of donating money to World Society for the Protection of Animals and the Missing Persons Helpline.

The Body Shop Human Rights Award

The next year the foundation had increased its influence enough to create an award to recognise individuals and groups working at the grassroots of social, economical and cultural problems around the world. This biennial award gives practical and financial help where is is needed to groups which satisfies its chosen criteria. The theme for 2000 was child labour and groups which helped children, girls in particular, to recieve a basic education.

In addition to The Body Shop foundation, the company sources its products in an ethical manner. In 2002, the company bought natural ingredients and accessories though the community trade programme to the value of £5 million. This included nearly 400 tonnes of natural ingredients.

South Africa

In 2001, The Body Shop chain reaches South Africa and felt the need to appoint a major South African retailer. The company chose New Clicks Holdings as their franchisee as they are committed to social responsibility through its own foundation.

Community Trade Programme

The Body Shop also retains its ethical values when sourcing ingredients for products and their range of accessories. Through developing a community trade programme it creates trading relationships with disadvantaged communities throughout the world to help them become self reliant and sustainable. Raw materials are bought from over 20 countries worldwide helping many people to build their community and give education and health benefits along with them. Two examples of these benefits are Teddy Exports in India and Get Paper Industries in Nepal. These are two of The Body Shops long standing suppliers who have both set up AIDS awareness projects for their communities.

The Other Side of the Story....

Despite The Body Shop declaring its interests in the enviroment and ethical issues, the company has not been without criticism. Some say that its image is manufactured by the company as an advertising ploy when in reality The Body Shop has as much a detrimental effect on the environment as any other multinational company but have set themselves on a pedestal raised above other companies via their PR exercises to exploit the idealism of the general public and capitalise on them.

Through marketing and publicity, they create a demand for their ethical products where none existed before as people were unaware of the issues the company alerted the public to, creating a need for their products. This selling tactic earns a massive amount of money for the shareholders of The Body Shop under the banner of an ethical cause when the answer to the worlds problem cannot be caused by shopping.

Also despite using natural ingredients in their products, The Body Shop still makes use of non-renewable petrochemicals, synthetic colours, fragrances and preservatives in most of their products with the natural ingredient being only a small percentage of the finished product. Some final products are even irradiated using cobalt-60 in an attempt to kill microbes. The products themselves are sold in packaging which is not eco friendly, however, if taken back to the store, they can be refilled at a discounted price.

Even though the company is against animal testing, some of their products contains chemicals which have been tested on animal by other companies as well as ingredients which have been tested before 1991 or not specifically for cosmetics. Some products from the body shop also contain gelatine made from crushed animal bones.

If that wasn't enough to tarnish their reputation, like McDonalds, The Body Shop pays their workers at a rate very close to the minimum wage and is against their workers being in a trade union. Because of this employees have to go through official Body Shop procedures if they have any grievance.

The Body Shop's community trade projects are also brought into question as the producers receive less than 1% of sales. One of the companies projects with the Brazilian Kyapo Indians was shown to be less than ethical with The Body Shop claiming that the Indians were able to make sustainable use of the rainforest through harvesting Brazil nut oil and selling it to them to make hair conditioner. In reality only a small number of Kyapo Indians were employed in this way causing resentment through the community. Alongside this, The Body Shop is the only company wanting to buy the oil making them able to set their own price and making the Indians have no safeguard for the future. The community has also been used for extensive PR exercises for which they have never been compensated.

http://www.organicconsumers.org/irrad/di rtybombs.cfm - Thanks Skinwalker

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