Ethical Issues in Business (Body Shop)

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The Body Shop: Ethical Issues in Business

It is nearly impossible to pick up any newspaper and avoid reading a section that deals with the unethical or even illegal conduct of the people who run our companies. Whether it’s stock manipulation, dubious accounting practices, or discarding of environmental waste, the stories keep on emerging. Ethical standards mostly relate to performance or behavior that is not covered by law, and the rule of law covers behaviors that may not necessarily be covered by moral or ethical standards. The principles for social or ethical conduct are embodied within each member of staff as well as within the business itself. Ethics are “the code of moral values and principles that rule the behavior of a person or group with respect to what is right or wrong (McGraw-Hill, 1)”. Because business practices reflect the values, attitudes, and behavior patterns of an organizations culture, ethics are as much an organizational issue as a personal one. Every individual brings his/her personal set of values, and beliefs into the workplace. The organization’s ceremonies, rituals, symbols, language, slogans, founder and its history also influences one’s decision. Since business practices reveal the values, attitudes, and behavior patterns of an organization itself, ethics are to a great extent an organizational issue as a personal one.

In this report, an organization is investigated in response to ethics in marketing. The Body Shop is perceived to be among the most ethical of companies, and is considered to be one of the best companies worldwide at managing and effecting environmental resources. Anita Riddick founder of The Body Shop is internationally known for the unconventional success of her cosmetics business and for the ethical standards she promotes through her company. What do you think makes a company ethical? Read on and find out how this organization markets itself as being ethical…

Set up on 26 March 1976 by Anita Riddick, the founder of The Body Shop, the Body Shop sets out to offer an environmentally-friendly, feel-good business with products ranging from hair and body to beauty and gifts. Now well-known for creating a niche market segment for naturally inspired hair and skin care products, the Body Shop now has more than 1,900 shops operating in 50 countries. The products that are sold in the outlets are produced with natural ingredients from all over the world, encouraging local and global trade. As well as its well-known “Against Animal Testing” campaign, the Body Shop also helps promote self-esteem, supports community trade and human rights organizations, and plays a significant role in promoting environmentally friendly messages around the globe.

Their Mission Statement is as follows (Body Shop webpage, 2006):

“To dedicate our business to the pursuit of social and environmental change” •“To creatively balance the financial and human needs of our stakeholders: employees, customers, franchisees, suppliers and shareholders” •“To courageously ensure that our business is ecologically sustainable: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the future” •“To meaningfully contribute to local, national and international communities in which we trade, by adopting a code of conduct which ensures care, honesty, fairness and respect” •“To passionately campaign for the protection of the environment, human and civil rights, and against animal testing within the cosmetics and toiletries industry” •“To tirelessly work to narrow the gap between principle and practice, whilst making fun, passion and care part of our daily lives”.

Their mission statement attracts many audiences around the world and helps to develop a bond with their readers. Not only have they started out wanting to be ethical from the start but til today they have put their full efforts in containing their image as being one of the most ethical businesses. More importantly, their values help in...
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