The Body Shop, Corporate Social Responsibility

Topics: Social responsibility, The Body Shop, Corporate social responsibility Pages: 21 (6819 words) Published: March 30, 2011
MA Management

Corporate Social Responsibility


Corporate Social Responsibility Analysis of The Body Shop

Date29 January 2010

Word Count 5477


Table of Contents

Corporate Social Responsibility2
Opposition to Animal Testing3
Support for Community Trade6
Environmental Protection9
Appendix 120


The objective of this piece of work is to undertake a critical analysis of the cosmetics company The Body Shop, in terms of its philosophy, business practices and other activities and assess the extent to which the organisation can legitimately be regarded as a socially responsible corporate entity. The concept of corporate social responsibility will necessarily be outlined and discussed to provide a theoretical framework within which the subsequent analysis will itself be located. The study will then explore the organisation’s opposition to animal testing, its support for community trade and commitment to environmental protection. The chosen areas represent three of the five core values that underpin The Body Shop’s mission statement (Appendix 1) the other two being the activation of self-esteem and the defence of human rights, which will not be addressed specifically. It is anticipated that the structure of the study will allow the company’s history, achievements, strengths and limitations in each defined area to be evaluated within a holistic paradigm (Campbell & Kitson, 2008). The values which the company has defined and set for itself will ultimately be used as benchmark criteria against which the organisation will be assessed. Evaluation will therefore be an ongoing and integral part of the analysis, rather than a process that is separate and distinct from it, although the main themes and issues will be drawn together to expose areas of concern and signpost future courses of action.


The Body Shop International PLC is a global cosmetics company launched in 1976 by Anita Roddick and her husband Gordon, which was predicated on ethical principles and the values of environmental sustainability. Generally known as The Body Shop, the company has 2400 stores in 61 countries, two thirds of which are franchised, selling a range of over 1500 products (The Body Shop, 2009a). The company also sells its products through an in home sales programme, The Body Shop at Home, in the United States, Australia and here in the United Kingdom (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2009). One of the first companies to prohibit the use of ingredients tested on animals, The Body Shop also pioneered Community Trade agreements with countries in the developing world. The company is also attributed for shaping ethical consumerism in the way it has produced and retailed its various consumer products. For many years, bolstered by its eco-friendly credentials and ethically focussed marketing strategies, The Body Shop accommodated a decidedly popular position within the public consciousness and for some at least, was seen as the epitome of a socially responsible organisation. In March 2006, The Body Shop was sold to L’Oreal in a £652.3 million takeover deal, netting Anita and Gordon Roddick £130 million for the firm they had conceived and set up thirty years previously (The Times, 2007). Anita Roddick died in September 2007 of a brain Haemorrhage (BBC News, 2007).

Corporate Social Responsibility

At its most basic, corporate social responsibility is an umbrella term used to describe the various ways in which organisations strive to ‘integrate social and environmental obligations with their business activities’ (Watson and MacKay, 2003:625). Put differently, corporate social responsibility is the belief held by increasing numbers of individuals that businesses have responsibilities to society and the community in which they operate, that go beyond their obligations to...

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