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The Body Shop International plc, known as The Body Shop, has 2,400 stores in 61 countries, and is the second largest cosmetic franchise in the world, following O Boticario, a Brazilian company. The Body Shop is headquartered in Littlehamptonmarker, West Sussexmarker, Englandmarker, was founded by the late Dame Anita Roddick and is now part of the L'Oréal corporate group.


The opening of Roddick's first modest shop received early attention when the Brighton newspaper, The Evening Argus, carried an article about an undertaker with a nearby store who complained about the use of the name "The Body Shop."

The Body Shop experienced rapid growth, expanding at a rate of 50 percent annually. Its stock was floated on London's Unlisted Securities Market in April 1984, opening at 95p. After it obtained a full listing on the London Stock Exchange, the stock was given the nickname "The shares that defy gravity," as its price increased by more than 500%.

In March 2006, The Body Shop agreed to a £652.3 million takeover by L'Oréal. It was reported that Anita and Gordon Roddick, who set up The Body Shop 30 years previously, made £130 million from the sale.

During her lifetime, Body Shop founder Anita Roddick had built a reputation for innovation, integrity and social responsibility.

Following her death in 2007, Prime Minister Gordon Brown paid tribute to Dame Anita, calling her "one of the country's true pioneers" and an "inspiration" to businesswomen. He said: "She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. "She will be remembered not only as a great campaigner but also as a great entrepreneur."

About The Body Shop Story from Encyclopedia of Leadership, Volume 4[85423]

The Body Shop turned increasingly toward social and environmental campaigns to promote its business. In 1997, Roddick launched a global campaign to raise self-esteem in women and against the media stereotyping of women. It focused on unreasonably skinny models in the context of rising numbers in bulimia and anorexia. The star of the campaign became world famous. The company created a doll in the likeness of Barbie but with a lifelike voluptuous figure and luxuriant red hair, that came with the tag line, "There are 3 billion women who don't look like supermodels and only 8 who do" Her name was Ruby, a real-life size 16 plastic doll that Mattel thought looked too much like Barbie. The strategic platform and global campaign production were developed with Host Universal, who went on to create an old-age Ruby for Body Shop Australia. Mattel later sued the company for copyright infringement The company stopped the campaign.

There was a huge controversy surrounding claims that L'Oréal continues to test on animals, which contradicts The Body Shop's core value of Against Animal Testing. L'Oréal states the company has not tested on animals since 1989. There was talk of boycotts around the globe from customers. Roddick addressed it directly in an interview with The Guardian, which reported that "she sees herself as a kind of "trojan horse" who by selling her business to a huge firm will be able to influence the decisions it makes. Suppliers who had formerly worked with the Body Shop will in future have contracts with L'Oréal, and working with the company 25 days a year Roddick will be able to have an input into decisions."

Social Activism

In its earliest years, The Body Shop did not visibly market itself as committed to social causes, which would later become its key branding strategy. It promoted its products as "natural," and by the standard of the times they were. However, the bright colours and strong fragrances were created by chemicals, including from petrochemicals, which were also used as preservatives. The products were created with Mark Constantine, Roddick's original cosmetologist, who subsequently left the company and ultimately founded Lush. The social activism dimension of the company first evidenced in 1986 when The Body Shop proposed an alliance with Greenpeace in the UK to promote her line as helping to save the whale, implying that jojoba oil was a substitute for whale spermaceti. Undeterred, Roddick began launching other promotions tied to social causes, generating massive free publicity. The Body Shop regularly featured posters on shop windows and sponsorship of local charity and community events. Over time, Roddick blossomed into a full-time critic of business in general and the cosmetic industry in particular, criticizing what she considered the environmental insensitivity of the industry and traditional views of beauty, and aimed to change standard corporate practices Roddick said: "For me, campaigning and good business is also about putting forward solutions, not just opposing destructive practices or human rights abuses".

The Body Shop instituted pioneering social audits in the mid-1990s, and now regularly promotes its values such as Community Trade, reflecting its avowed practice of trading with communities in need and giving them a fair price for natural ingredients or handcrafts they purchase from these often marginalized countries. The first Community Trade activity in 1987 was a footsie roller which was supplied by a small community in Southern India (today known as Teddy Exports) and still a key CT supplier. Since then, The Body Shop has found many trade partners in over 20 different countries that often are overlooked by the local as well as the global society.

Policy on Animal Testing

Signage posted in Body Shop location reads, "Our products are not tested on animals, never have been and never will be. The same page asserts that The Body Shop "also supports the development of alternatives to animal testing."

Community Trade (formerly Trade not Aid)

By 1991, The Body Shop's "Trade Not Aid" initiative with the objective of "creating trade to help people in the Third World utilise their resources to meet their own needs" had started a paper factory in Nepalmarker employing 37 people producing bags, notebooks and scented drawer liners. Another initiative was a 33,000 square foot (3,000 square metre) soap factory in the depressed Glasgowmarker suburb of Easterhousemarker, whose payroll included 100 residents.

Sometimes considered anti-capitalist or against globalization, The Body Shop philosophy is in fact in favour of international marketplaces. The chain uses its influence and profits for programmes such as Trade Not Aid, aimed at enacting fair labour practices, safe working environments and pay equality.According to The Body Shop, 65% of the company's products contained community traded ingredients by the end of 2008 and the company spent over $12 million on community traded ingredients in 2006.

In October 2009 The Body Shop invited employees, including a store manager from the UK to visit a supplier and see the benefits that the Community Trade programme has brought to a community in India .

However numerous indigenous rights groups, particulalrly Cultural Survival, which teamed with The Body Shop in its first trade initiative, in the Amazon, and Amanakáa, a Brazlian rights group, have criticised the company for exploiting cultures, and former University of Chicago anthropologist Terrence Turner famously dismissed The Body Shop's Trade Not Aid marketing strategy as "Aid Not Trade" - aid by indigenous groups to The Body Shop with only paltry volumes of trade in return.

The Body Shop has decided to not export its products to China, because cosmetics sold there have to be tested on animals, according to Roddick. However, The Body Shop has always sourced many of its baskets and other non cosmetic supplies from China.

The Body Shop has undertaken periodic independent social audits of its activities .


The Body Shop carries a wide range of products for the body, face, hair and home. The Body Shop does not claim its products are 'all-natural', but "inspired by nature." Its products still contain chemical dyes, scents and preservatives.

The Body Shop Foundation

Despite representing itself, in Roddick's words, as "giving most of its profits away," The Body Shop, in its first 11 years, gave no money to charity and had given little money to charitable causes until critical articles began to appear in 1994. The Body Shop has since responded by significantly expanding its charitable giving. The Roddicks founded The Body Shop Foundation, which supports innovative global projects working in the areas of human and civil rights and environmental and animal protection. It is The Body Shop International Plc's charitable trust funded by annual donations from the company and through various fundraising initiatives.

The Body Shop Foundation was formed in 1990 to consolidate all the charitable donations made by the company. To date, The Body Shop Foundation has donated over £9.5 million sterling in grants. The Foundation regularly gives gift-in-kind support to various projects and organisations such as Children On The Edge (COTE).


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