Beauty with heart: the values chain by The Body Shop

The Body Shop is not a mere beauty brand: it is a beauty brand with heart. Since its foundation in Brighton, England, in 1976, it incorporates its core values in its value chain in order to give birth to a virtuous circle: from developing and sourcing to selling its products, it aims to create a sustainable supply chain strategy and engage in community-based development projects, according to 5 main ideas:

The ideas to develop new products often come from customers and market research: when the specification is ready, the team looks at the best way to make, package and market it, but along with market considerations, ethical concerns are fundamental too. For instance, The Body Shop includes at least one Community Fair Trade ingredient in every product and makes sure that packaging comes from recycled or sustainable sources.
In other words, these issues are considered in the whole process, and not just as an afterthought, so that ethical values are fully integrated into the business.
But how is the company actually pursuing these goals?

As for human rights, beyond raising funds and global awareness of domestic violence, providing support and protection of abused women and children and campaigning the issues surrounding HIV and AIDS, so far the biggest campaign has been “Stop The Trafficking of Children and Young People”. It was created to mobilise customers and inspire those with decision making power to take action. The response was incredible, 7.044.278 petition signatures were collected and they have already influenced governments in 20 countries.
The Body Shop also supports Community Fair Trade, with 25 Community Fair Trade suppliers from the four corners of the globe. The programme was launched in 1987, in order to trade fairly with suppliers. The company seeks out small-scale farmers, traditional artisans and rural co-ops, while offering good trading practices and independence-building prices. Today, they are providing some of the finest ingredients and accessories in the world, such as olive oil from Italy, aloe from Guatemala, wooden accessories from Russia and cotton accessories from Mauritius, and there are real benefits for over 300.000 people.
Concerning the commitment to reduce the environmental impact, the Body Shop has set clear targets for 2020 to reduce the direct consequences of its operations in stores, offices and distribution centres: in particular, it aims to reduce CO2 emissions, electricity consumption and waste by 50% and domestic water consumption by 25%. In order to reach these challenging goals, it is buying electricity from companies that generate it from renewable or low-carbon sources, removing low-efficiency lighting in stores and introducing energy-management systems. Emissions from business travel have been reduced by encouraging video-conferencing and by choosing company cars with low emission levels.

In 2010, 6% of transport packaging was eliminated through careful review and engineering, and afterward new products with minimal impact on the aquatic environment have been introduced and wildlife areas have been created at all the corporate sites, in order to improve biodiversity.
Another important commitment is the fight against animal testing: none of the products has been tested on animals and all The Body Shop® products are certified by Cruelty Free International as meeting their Humane Cosmetics Standard. This standard is set by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) and is regarded as the highest standard for animal welfare in the cosmetics industry. Moreover, every two years the firm checks its policies and compliances to respect the latest animal-welfare guidelines.
Last but not least, the company wants to enhance self esteem, because true beauty actually comes from confidence, vitality and inner wellbeing. By funding a range of training courses, events and health treatments, it aims to enhance its staff's sense of wellbeing, in order to make its customers and employees feel good about themselves.

Another way to feel good? Doing good. That’s why The Body Shop also donates a portion of its pre-tax profits to corporate philanthropy as part of its efforts to be more socially responsible. The Body Shop makes charitable contributions through The Body Shop Foundation which aims to give financial support to pioneering, frontline organizations working to achieve progress in the areas of human and civil rights, environmental and animal protection.

Chiara Crognoletti