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The Body Shop International Limited, trading as The Body Shop, is a British cosmetics, skin care and perfume company that was founded in 1976 by Dame Anita Roddick. It currently has a range of 1,000 products which it sells in over 3,049 owned and franchised stores internationally in 66 countries.[2] The company is based in East Croydon and Littlehampton, West Sussex.

The Body Shop International plc
Founded26 March 1976
FounderAnita Roddick
Number of locations
Key people
Jeremy Schwartz, CEO
  • Skin care
  • cosmetics
  • fragrances
RevenueIncrease US$ 1.4 billion (2017)
OwnerNatura & Co
Number of employees
WebsiteOfficial website

The company is owned by Brazilian cosmetics company Natura. The company had been owned by the French cosmetics company L'Oréal between 2006 and 2017. In June 2017, L'Oréal agreed to sell the company to Natura for £880 million. The deal was approved in September 2017.




The Body Shop’s founder, Anita Roddick (nee Anita Perella), was born in Littlehampton, England, in October 1942. Through her travels across Europe, the South Pacific, and Africa, she became inspired by traditional and cultural forms of health and body care.

In 1970, she visited "The Body Shop", a shop in Berkeley, California, selling naturally-scented soaps and lotions. The shop, run by Peggy Short and Jane Saunders, used natural ingredients, and helped to employ and train immigrant women.

Six years later, in 1976, Roddick opened a similar shop in the UK, also named The Body Shop. Her vision was to sell products with natural, ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients, with simple packaging. Even in the early days of business, she offered fragrance-free refillable bottles. Her lack of packaging was anti-waste - customers should return the plain bottles to be refilled; if she huckstered anything, it was the history of the ingredients and the anthropology of their cultivators. In addition, Anita promised that the ingredients used in her products were not tested on animals, were not synthetic, and - long before the Fairtrade movement – that they had been ethically sourced from ground-level growers rather than commodity brokers.[3]

By 1978 The Body Shop was growing so fast that it started franchising the business to open more shops across the UK, and then across Europe and globally.

In 1987, Roddick offered Short and Saunders $3.5 million to purchase the name "The Body Shop".[4][5][6] From its first launch in the UK in 1976, The Body Shop experienced rapid growth, expanding at a rate of 50 percent annually.

The Body Shop in the Prudential Center in Boston

The Body Shop 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%.

The Body Shop turned increasingly toward social and environmental campaigns to promote its business in the late 1980s. 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 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."[7]


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.[8]

In 2017, L’Oreál sold The Body Shop to the ethical Brazilian cosmetics B-Corp, Natura.

There was a media controversy surrounding claims that L'Oréal continues to test on animals, which contradicts The Body Shop's core value of Against Animal Testing.

Roddick addressed the controversy over selling The Body Shop to the world's largest cosmetics company in an interview with The Guardian,[9] 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 was able to have an input into decisions."

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."[10][11]

The Body Shop is now owned by Brazilian Cosmetics Company "Natura Cosméticos" who bought the company off of L'Oreal. Natura Cosméticos is a cruelty free brand that focuses on ending animal testing, education and training to find alternative technologies for testing on animals, and using fresh and sustainable ingredients.[citation needed]

International expansionEdit

Year of opening Country[12]
1976 UK
1978 Belgium
1979 Austria, Greece, Sweden
1980 Iceland, Canada
1981 Denmark, Ireland, Finland
1982 France, Netherlands
1983 Cyprus, Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia, UAE
1984 Italy, Hong Kong, Malaysia
1985 Norway, Bahamas, Bahrain
1986 Portugal, Spain, Kuwait, Oman
1987 Malta, Antigua, Bermuda, Qatar, Saudi Arabia
1988 Gibraltar, United States, Taiwan
1989 Cayman Islands, New Zealand
1990 Japan
1991 Luxembourg
1992 Indonesia
1993 Mexico, Brunei, Thailand, Macau
1996 Philippines
1997 Korea
1999 Romania
2001 South Africa
2006 India, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic
2012 Hungary
2014 Brazil, Morocco
2015 Sri Lanka
2016 Chile
2017 Bangladesh, Slovenia, Cyprus

The Body Shop At Home: multilevel marketing networkEdit

In addition to retail channels, products from The Body Shop are available through "The Body Shop At Home" multilevel marketing network. The network was established in 1994.[13] Distributors (or consultants) can also recruit others to sell the products.[14] Consultants receive 25 per cent of the sales proceeds of products sold at parties or directly, and a 25 per cent personal discount on products (as at 2008).[15]

The multilevel marketing program was known as "The Body Shop Direct" in Britain, and was first trialled in Australia in Gippsland in 1997.[16] In 1998, the Australian division was featured in the Australian Financial Review for their motivational-based policy of funding unrelated courses for home distributors, such as tarot reading or French polishing.[17]

The Body Shop At Home multilevel marketing network has had a presence in Canada since 1998, but with locality restrictions (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) due to franchisee interests. As of 2001, the home sales accounted for 4 per cent of Canada's total sales.[18] The network has been in New Zealand since at least 2001,[19] launched in Mexico in 2002,[20] and launched in Germany in 2007. There are distributors in 48 American states, as well as France, the Netherlands and South Korea.[13]

In 2003, Anita Roddick parted with her publisher HarperCollins, but despite this, planned to release two titles. She was advised that The Body Shop outlets would not stock the books, but that they would be made available through The Body Shop At Home.[21] That same year, Roddick predicted that the company's home sales would fuel growth, and eventually exceed the sales of retail outlets.[22]

In 2004, there were 3,500 home distributors in the United Kingdom, generating almost £25m in sales for the parent company.[23]

In 2014, the Mail reported that young people in Surrey were being targeted online by The Body Shop At Home distributors. The consultant would advertise "free parties", and then the teenagers would feel pressured to buy products. It was highlighted that The Body Shop's parent company L'Oreal, was a signatory to a voluntary pledge from the Advertising Association, prohibiting the use of people under 16 years of age in peer-to-peer marketing. The Body Shop responded that the home consultants are self-employed, but that teenagers were not actively targeted to be party hosts or work as consultants. The consultant in question claimed that the teenager's mother had agreed to the party and been present for the duration.[24]

In 2014, an unfair dismissal case ruled against The Body Shop (Adidem Pty Ltd T/A The Body Shop v Suckling [2014] FWCFB 3611). Nicole Suckling worked in an administrative support role for The Body Shop At Home, and began a role as an independent direct candle seller for company PartyLite. The Body Shop alleged that Suckling's access to their confidential contractual information could threaten The Body Shop's commercial interests.[25]

Social activismEdit

The social activism dimension of the company first evidenced in 1986 when The Body Shop proposed an alliance with Greenpeace in the UK to save the whales. Roddick began launching other promotions tied to social causes, with much public and media interest. 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, criticising what she considered the environmental insensitivity of the industry and traditional views of beauty, and aimed to change standard corporate practices[26] Roddick said: "For me, campaigning and good business is also about putting forward solutions, not just opposing destructive practices or human rights abuses".[27]

In 1997, Roddick launched a global campaign to raise self-esteem in women and against the media stereotyping of women. It focused on unreasonably thin models in the context of rising numbers in bulimia and anorexia.

Community Trade (formerly Trade not Aid)Edit

Launched in 1987, The Body Shop’s Community Trade programme based on the practice of trading with communities in need and giving them a fair price for natural ingredients or handcrafts, including brazil nut oil, sesame seed oil, honey, and shea butter. The first Community Trade product was a wooden footsie roller which was supplied by a small community in Southern India, Teddy Exports, which is still a key Community Trade supplier.[28]

The Body Shop now works with 29 suppliers in over 20 different countries, benefiting 25,000 people directly each year. The Body Shop aims to double this programme to 40 ingredients by 2020.

Criticism has been made of the programme by fair trade activists. "The company's prominently displayed claims claim to pay fairer prices to the Third World poor but covered less than a fraction of 1 percent of its turnover", wrote Paul Vallely, the former chair of Traidcraft, in the obituary of Anita Roddick published in The Independent.

Sometimes considered anti-capitalist or against globalisation,[by whom?] The Body Shop philosophy is in favour of international marketplaces.[contradictory] The chain uses its influence and profits for programmes such as Community Trade, aimed at enacting fair labour practices, safe working environments and pay equality. According to The Body Shop, 95% of the company's products contain community traded ingredients.

The Body Shop regularly invites employees and stakeholders to visit Community Trade suppliers to see the benefits that the Community Trade programme has brought to communities and The Body Shop products.[29]

The Body Shop does not export its products to China, because cosmetics sold in the country have to be tested on animals, according to Roddick.[30] However, The Body Shop has always sourced many of its baskets and other non cosmetic supplies from China.

As part of the Community Trade programme, The Body Shop undertakes periodic social audits of its sourcing activities through Ecocert Environment.[31]

A campaign by Christian Peacemaker Team and other allies protested the alleged role of The Body Shop in purchasing palm oil from Daabon, a third-party supplier in Colombia, who forcefully evicted 123 families from their land at Las Pavas, Columbia on 14 July 2009.[32][33] The Body Shop initially denied intentionally purchasing palm oil from the Las Pavas area,[34] but later dropped Daabon as a supplier after the company failed to provide proof that it was not involved in the land seizures.[35][36][37]

Policy on animal testingEdit

The Body Shop has campaigned to end animal testing in cosmetics alongside animal cruelty NGO Cruelty Free International since 1989. The company's products are non-animal tested and are certified cruelty-free by Cruelty Free International’s Leaping Bunny.[38]

The Body Shop’s campaigning has led to many changes in law. The company’s campaign, Ban Animal Testing, launched in 1996 and led to a UK wide ban 8 years later. In 2013, the campaign launched as Against Animal Testing and made history when the EU banned animal testing in cosmetics, and marketing of any animal tested products.

In June 2017, The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International launched Forever Against Animal Testing, its largest ever campaign, aimed at banning animal testing in cosmetics everywhere and forever. The campaign aims to receive 8 million signatures which will be presented to the UN General Assembly, to call for a global ban on animal testing in cosmetics.

In October 2009, The Body Shop was awarded a 'Lifetime Achievement Award' by the RSPCA in Britain, in recognition of its uncompromised policy which ensures ingredients are not tested by its suppliers.[38]

The Body Shop FoundationEdit

The Roddicks founded The Body Shop Foundation in 1990, 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.[39] The Body Shop Foundation was formed to consolidate all the charitable donations made by the company. To date, The Body Shop Foundation has donated over £24 million sterling in grants. The Foundation regularly gives gift-in-kind support to various projects and organisations such as Children On The Edge (COTE).[40] Approximately 65% of the grants that the company funds come to nominations from the staff, consultants or franchisers attached to the company from all over the world.

In 2017, The Body Shop announced its new approach to corporate philanthropy, the World Bio-Bridges Mission (Re-Wilding the World), which aims to build 10 Bio-Bridges by 2020. The purpose of the World Bio-Bridges Mission is to enrich biodiversity around the world while creating truly sustainable supply chains where possible.[41]


The Body Shop stand at New Zealand department store Farmers

The Body Shop carries a wide range of products for the body, face, hair and home. The Body Shop claims its products are "inspired by nature" and feature ingredients such as marula oil and sesame seed oil sourced through the Community Trade program.

In 2010, The Body Shop produced its first ECOCERT certified organic skincare line, Nutriganics. Following the launch of Nutriganics, The Body Shop reformulated their hair line to contain no colourants (Rainforest Hair Care), and produced a new line of deodorants that contain no aluminium salts, and use volcanic minerals as a substitute.

Products include:


  • The September 1994 investigative article "Shattered Image: Is The Body Shop Too Good to Be True?,[42] " written by Jon Entine and published in Business Ethics magazine, created an international controversy and led to dozens of stories in the international media, including articles on The New York Times' business section front page and on ABC World News Tonight. A flurry of news reports led to a temporary 50% drop in the market value of the stock of the company, which until that point had been considered a model "socially responsible" company.
  • Entine reported that Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop International in the UK, had stolen the name, store design, marketing concept and most product line ideas from The Body Shop[4][5][6] founded in 1970 in Berkeley, California by Peggy Short and Jane Saunders who started the French-style perfume store, where customers could do their own blending. Roddick subsequently fabricated her story of travelling around the world discovering exotic beauty ingredients. In 1989, Roddick purchased the US and Israeli rights to The Body Shop name, and the Berkeley-based chain of five stores renamed itself Body Time.
  • Roddick's unsubstantiated claims and inaccurate reports in popular articles and even some university case studies that Roddick's The Body Shop "gave most of its profits to charity", documents from Britain's Charity Commission showed that Roddick's company gave nothing to charity over its first 11 years and was penurious in its philanthropy thereafter. The Body Shop also faced millions of dollars in claims by disenchanted franchisees.
  • Entine referred to The Body Shop's marketing as "greenwashing," which was one of the first uses of that term. The article in Business Ethics (now defunct), which was cited with a National Press Club Award for Consumer Journalism in 1994, is still widely used in university business ethics classes and is generally credited with prompting companies claiming to be socially responsible to match their claims with operational practices and to increase transparency.
  • The "Shattered Image" article had originally been scheduled to be published as a 10,000 word feature in Vanity Fair earlier in 1994 but was dropped after legal threats by The Body Shop. The original article was eventually published in 2004 by The Nation Books in Killed: Great Journalism Too Hot to Print,[43] edited by David Wallis. Business Ethics, which had featured Roddick on its cover just the year before, subsequently agreed to print a much shorter version of the exposé.
  • In April 2013 it was revealed that The Body Shop was charging Irish consumers up to 33% more than their London counterparts.[44]


  1. ^ a b Schipani, Andres (27 June 2017). "L'Oréal sells The Body Shop to Natura Cosméticos". Financial Times. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  2. ^ "About Us".
  3. ^ "Dame Anita Roddick". The Guardian Business. 10 September 2007.
  4. ^ a b "History".
  5. ^ a b "Body Flop: Anita Roddick proclaimed that business could be caring as well as capitalist, by Jon Entine, The Globe and Mail Report on Business Magazine". 31 May 2002. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Made In Berkeley: Berkeley's Body Time the Original Body Shop. Category: Features from". The Berkeley Daily Planet. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
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  9. ^ The Guardian. Interview: Anita Roddick, Body Shop founder
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  11. ^ About The Body Shop Story from Encyclopedia of Leadership, Volume 4. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  12. ^ "Wayback Machine" (PDF). 5 March 2005.
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  14. ^ "Body Shop targets homes". The Times (United Kingdom). 30 April 2004. p. 27.
  15. ^ Repko, Melissa (12 June 2008). "Direct selling can pay off; A hobby for some is a business for others". Buffalo News. p. B7.
  16. ^ Dabkowski, Stephen (20 October 1997). "A beauty business with more hope than hype". BRW. p. 70.
  17. ^ Hepworth, Annabel (5 June 1998). "Belly dancing and tarot cards: learn on the job". The Australian Financial Review. p. 54.
  18. ^ Theobald, Steven (20 February 2001). "Body Shop Canada avoids taking a bath --- Sales grow 6% as strategy here escapes U.K. woes". The Toronto Star. p. BU03.
  19. ^ Groenestein, Catherine (11 October 2001). "Record turnout is anticipated". Daily News. p. 10.
  20. ^ David, Rita (10 May 2002). "Body Shop to take direct shopping arm to Mexico". Retail Week. p. 6.
  21. ^ Parkhouse, Sam (6 April 2003). "Anita and Annie to change the world". The Mail on Sunday.
  22. ^ O'Donnell, John (15 June 2003). "Roddick to launch ethical fashion chain". The Sunday Times.
  23. ^ "Financial fascists". Manchester Evening News. 30 April 2004.
  24. ^ Sibary, Shona (10 July 2014). "How The Body Shop is cynically using children to push its products - by throwing them parties". Mail Online.
  25. ^ Byrnes, Michael; Cheema, Sadaat. "The servant of two masters: Competing employees and poorly drafted restraints - Knowledge - Clayton Utz". Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  26. ^
  27. ^ "The Body Shop". The Body Shop. 25 February 2011. Archived from the original on 28 July 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  28. ^ "The Body Shop - Natural Products Inspired by Nature".
  29. ^ "Nicola will be no stranger to fair trade (From This Is Cheshire)". 22 October 2009. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  30. ^ "BBC: The Magazine Monitor". BBC News. 16 December 2005. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  31. ^ "The Body Shop Values Report". Archived from the original on 9 November 2006.
  32. ^ "Episode 19: Sarah Thompson on Charlottesville, CPT and confrontational nonviolence".
  33. ^ CPTDeutschland (2 November 2009). "Christian Peacemaker Teams public witness at The Body Shop outlets in London" – via YouTube.
  34. ^ Simmons, Shelley (15 September 2010). "A Commitment to Colombia: The Body Shop's Solution for Palm Oil Sourcing".
  35. ^ Syal, Rajeev; Brodzinsky, Sibylla (2 October 2010). "Body Shop drops supplier after report of peasant evictions in Colombia". the Guardian.
  36. ^ "The Body Shop drops Colombian palm oil supplier for alleged land grabbing". 10 October 2010.
  37. ^ "What we do - Christian Aid".
  38. ^ a b "Leaping Bunny Approved Brands". Leaping Bunny. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  39. ^ "The Body Shop Foundation". The Body Shop Foundation. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  40. ^ "Home". Children On The Edge. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  41. ^ "World Bio Bridges Mission | The Body Shop". Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  42. ^ "The Body Shop: Jon Entine writes on sustainability, corporate responsibility, DNA, race, and Jewish identity". Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  43. ^ ISBN 1-56025-581-1
  44. ^ Kelleher, Lynne (2 April 2013). "Irish shoppers pay 33% more than London counterparts". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 5 May 2014.

External linksEdit