The Body Shop International - Sustainable Corporation

Topics: Corporate social responsibility, Social responsibility, Business ethics Pages: 9 (2753 words) Published: May 8, 2013
Businesses worldwide are being urged to assume more serious and broader responsibilities to community than ever in recent decades, and asked to serve a wider range of human values. The pressures of society responsibilities are distinctly real as many leading global businesses including Nike, Reebok, and Nestle are witnesses; these businesses have been encountered tense disrepute to their reputations because they failed to cleave to social responsibility standards. The term sustainability or the triple bottom line hence has been widely discussed and debated in both academic and practical to align businesses’ economic performance with social responsibilities. This essay will serve a considerable discussion on the latest triple bottom line or sustainability conception; then leads to examine and evaluate The Body Shop Corporation because the Body Shop has claimed its title of the ‘Green’ corporation, and has been reportedly a pioneer in acting sustainably to communities where its businesses operate. Inspiration to examine the case of Body Shop will hence satisfy the purpose of this essay.

Deriving from the idea that corporate has its absolute obligation to foster social betterment in which the company operates, corporate social responsibility planted its root in early 19th century simply by industrial revolution which provided workers with housing and basic comforts. It then became more accustomed to corporate world with the notion that corporations should take into account of all stakeholders including shareholders, employees, suppliers, communities, and customers (Thompson, Strickland, and Gamble 2007). The idea has been well developed throughout decade experienced large number of global companies failed to act in according to social responsibilities by which resulted in huge unexpected business lost. Sweatshops scandal of child labour, during the 1990s, in Nike third world countries contractors is a typical example of acting socially irresponsible resulting in huge business lost. Nike consequently lost millions dollar on its global businesses because of customer boycott protesting against its sportswear products; and years on making marketing effort to clear up its image (Luthans and Doh 2009). To comprehend the essence of socially responsible business behaviour, John Elkington coined the phrase ‘People, Planet, Profit’ called the triple bottom line in 1995 (Elkington 2004), comprehensively social, economic, and environmental responsibility (Brown, Dillard, and Marshall 2006). Since then, the triple bottom line has been employed worldwide in both business strategy and making decision, and represents a vital important dimension of contemporary business practices to corporations. Some critics argue that the theory application is primarily a means for amplifying the organization public image (Schilizzi 2002) while others believe that the application advances the organization in terms of allowing engagement ‘in legitimate environmentally and socially responsible activities’ (Cheney 2004; Brown, Dillard, and Marshall 2006).

On the top of these arguments, fortunately, it is obvious that businesses have no elusion its responsibility to society but concern its duty ‘to operate in an honourable manner’ or to be obligated to display a social conscience (Thompson, Strickland, and Gamble 2007, p.342) which clearly indicates the importance of how business decisions and actions impact on humanity, employee, local communities, the environment, and society at a whole; and as the same time affect on its own economic performance. Therefore, whether locally or globally companies operate, demonstrating social responsibility and attaching to the triple bottom line is a must to the survival and success of the business. On the other hand, speaking of acting sustainably means a corporation will entail undertaking actions that build trust and respect from all stakeholders. This notion of the triple bottom line, or the most succinctly and...
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