The Body Shop

The  Body  Shop, founded in  the  mid  1970s,  is  a  beauty   company that  offers vegetable-based products and  a strong ethical  mission. It is the  second largest cosmetic franchise in the  world.  The  Body Shop  emphasizes its stance against animal  testing and  for fair trade  and  promotes positive  environmental and  social change through its products and  community investment.


In 1976, Anita Roddick founded The  Body Shop  in Great  Britain.  Currently, The Body Shop  has  over 2,400  stores  in 61 countries, and  offers 1,200  products. In 1986, the company formed an alliance with Greenpeace, joining the group’s campaign  to save the  whales.  Greenpeace and  The  Body Shop  ended their  alliance a few years  later  after  London Greenpeace published a treatise criticizing The Body  Shop  for  prioritizing corporate values  over  community. The  Body  Shop responded with  a leaflet  extolling  the  ways in which  it promotes environmental responsibility. The  company rejoined with  Greenpeace in  2001  to  promote clean energy. In 1990, the Body Shop  Foundation was formed for the purpose of providing financial  resources for nonprofit activist  groups working for the  protection of human rights  and  the  environment. In March 2006,  L’Oréal  bought The  Body Shop  for $1.1  billion.  Animal rights groups protested the  takeover, since  other products produced by the  parent company are alleged  to be tested on animals; L’Oréal,  however, states  that  the company has not  tested  on animals since 1989.

Animal Rights

The Body Shop  takes a stance  against animal  testing. The company’s slogan reads: “Our  products are not tested  on animals, never have been and never will be.” Critics note  that  the  actual  policy  on  animal  testing is to use  ingredients that  were tested  on animals before  1991  (when  their  policy was introduced) or ingredients that  were  tested  on  animals after  1991  for non-cosmetic reasons. However, the company insists  that  its products are cruelty  free. The  Body Shop  was the  first international company to  be  recognized under the  Humane Cosmetics Standard,  sponsored by the  British  Union for the  Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV ). While The Body Shop  carries a range of personal care products, including lotions, cleansers, and  fragrances for the home, all of its products have been  100 percent vegetarian as  of June  2007.  Conducting research on  natural preservatives, the company is working toward  a goal of having  80 percent of its products free from artificial preservatives.

Community Trade

The  Body Shop  has a long-established program called Community Trade, which is the company’s own fair trading network. The company does business with more than 30 community suppliers in 20 countries for its ingredients. By purchasing community-produced ingredients, the  Body  Shop   supports fair  trade,  providing a fair price  for community-produced ingredients. As of 2008,  65 percent of the  company’s products contain Community Trade ingredients. In  addition to securing product ingredients from such  community partners, the Body Shop  has offered  handcrafted items  supplied by small communities. The  first such  product was a foot  massager developed by a community in southern India.  Critics  note that  the  company’s actual  payments to such  communities resulted in less than one percent of its costs.

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