Body Shop concocts new formula for making money while protecting the planet

Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:07am EST
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By Megan Rowling

BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Beauty brand The Body Shop is turning 40 next month and has set an ambitious goal of being "the world's most ethical and truly sustainable global business".

Founded in England in 1976 by the late environmentalist and rights activist Anita Roddick, The Body Shop was famous for promoting natural, ethically-sourced products and rejecting animal testing.

But the sale of the brand to French cosmetics giant L'Oréal 10 years ago was regarded by some as a sell-out of its green credentials. Results were disappointing last year, with like-for-like sales in the fourth quarter falling 5.8 percent and 0.9 percent overall in 2015.

Now the firm has put in place 14 targets to be met by 2020, based around a commitment to "enrich our people, enrich our products and enrich our planet".

The targets include doubling the company's community trade programme - a form of fair trade - to cover 40 ingredients, ensuring 100 percent of its natural ingredients are traceable and sustainably sourced, protecting 10,000 hectares of forest and other habitat, and powering all its stores with renewable or carbon-neutral energy.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation spoke to Jeremy Schwartz, who joined The Body Shop as its chairman and CEO two years ago, to find out how the company plans to put the new commitment into practice.

Q: Can The Body Shop really become the world's most sustainable business?   Continued...