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Going Green: One Entrepreneur’s Affect on the Cosmetic Industry--Anita Roddick
By: Jean E. Allured
Posted: August 31, 2006, from the September 2006 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
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According to The Body Shop’s Web site, www.thebodyshop.com, the goal of community trade relationships, “is to help build livelihoods and to explore trade-based approaches to supporting sustainable development by sourcing ingredients and accessories from socially and economically marginalized producer communities.”
Aran Puri was head of research and development and general manager of the fair trade department during his decade with the company. One of his projects was ;to open and run The Body Shop Research Centre in Brazil where his mission was “to discover new materials, fair traded where possible, to go into new products for the next century.”
Among the ingredients the company now obtains through community trade relationships are babassu oil and Brazil nut oil (Brazil), shea nut butter and cocoa butter (Ghana), sesame seed oil (Nicaragua) and hemp seed oil (Canada). On Roddick’s Web site, www.anitaroddick.com, she writes: “The Body Shop now has 29 such projects in 23 countries, and we aim to develop more.”
The company manufactured its own products from 1981–2000 and, therefore, had complete control of ingredients and testing. The decision was made to get out of the manufacturing business in 2000. After that time, The Body Shop would not start relationships with new manufacturers unless they agreed to a full social, animal and environmental audit. Suppliers were asked to complete a screening questionnaire that told The Body Shop, “All we need to know from the environment, health and safety, and quality points of view. We still create the product ideas in our own laboratories, and then we find someone to manufacture them for us to our precise specifications and wherever in the world is most suitable,” Roddick writes.
The company first went international in 1978 (Belgium), went public in 1984 and came to the United States in 1988. Growth continued, which resulted in some organizational challenges including the appointment of a CEO in 2002 so Roddick could concentrate on style and image, communications and social responsibility. Then in March 2006, The Body Shop was sold to L’Oréal.