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The Body Shop Ethics in Business

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

The Body Shop: A Legacy of Ethics and Sustainability in Business

Dame Anita Roddick started The Body Shop in 1976 in the small town of Brighton, London, with a clear message that is relevant even today - authentic beauty and business-for-good, introducing the world to natural, sustainable personal care products and practices. This became the foundation of The Body Shop's success story. Taking an activist stand in the 70s, The Body Shop created campaigns around their products to challenge unhealthy female body stereotypes and instead focus on self-love and a positive body image.

In 2006, L'Oréal acquired The Body Shop, with Anita Roddick promising her loyal base of customers that the ethics of the brand would remain intact after the acquisition, demonstrating the importance of ethics in business. But unfortunately, The Body Shop lost much of its fan base and niche market after Anita's untimely demise in 2007.

In 2017, Brazilian brand Natura acquired The Body Shop, and the brand has since gained back its image and lost ground by following the original vision for the company set by Anita Roddick. This transition served as an important part of the personal care business case study.

Defining Traits

The Body Shop has always stood for strong ethics in business and its line of products. Well before the competition, Roddick adopted an environmentally friendly approach, creating a business that was conscious of using Earth's resources. More than 40 years later, customers continue to love these simple touches that make them feel like they are making a difference by buying from The Body Shop, further enhancing The Body Shop's success story.

They introduced concepts like refill-n-reuse bottles and handwritten labels, creating products with minimal packaging waste. The company also enjoyed the side advantage of saving packaging, branding, and labeling costs, providing an interesting insight into the personal care business case study.

The Body Shop built a business persona with its product line. Using ideology around natural and cruelty-free, their environmentally-friendly practices have created global brand loyalty unlike any other in the beauty and personal care business. Their ethical stance and image have carried them for over four decades as a business that can be trusted to do the right thing, signifying the importance of ethics in business.

Key Takeaways

While it's easy to start a trendy concept based on sustainable practices and quirky homemade products, The Body Shop shows us how to walk the talk over a long period of time. And in that, the strongest takeaway from this business is authenticity and integrity, whether it is in their handwritten labels, their natural product line, or the earthy green color of their brand and stores. Longevity over decades requires a steadfast approach - the underlying foundation of strong values remains a stable platform even as the company changes with the times.


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