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In the cosmetics industry, the body shop has developed fundamental environmental management values which are at the forefront of greening the corporation as exhibited in the company’s environmental action. The company has commitment to social and environmental issues. The body shop greening values are based on operations assessment; sustainability of resources; safe products testing and marketing; Energy efficiency; pollution control and waste management; risk reduction; education; land use and information and communication (Robbins, 2001).
By prioritizing its efforts, the body shop’s focus is on environmental matters that are relevant to its operations such as waste management, energy issues and product life cycle assessment. The body shop was started in 1976 in south coast of England, a place called Brighton by Anita Roddick who was inspired when she visited a shop in the Berkeley in California (Amodeo, 2002). When Anita started the shop it had only twenty five types of products in five different types of bottles which were refilled when the product were used up.
This type of selling among other strategies gave the shop fame and popularity which enabled it to grow very fast to the extent that the shop currently have branches in forty five counties worldwide with a total of 1200 branches (Darwent, 1998). The success of the body shop that seen it climb the ladder is attributed to the greening principles and values it has embraced over the years. The body shop turned to using environmental campaign in order to promote its business and Roddick in 1997 started a global campaign to raise women’s self esteem and she campaigned against media stereotyping women in the society.
Anita in 1987 combined the mission of the business which was social responsibility with the company’s need for foreign natural ingredients which enabled the company establish partnership programmes with the struggling companies (The body Shop, 2010a). The business attributed environmental conservation to beauty and an attempt to destroy environment spell doom on the beauty of women and the planet as well since beauty is drawn from the environment.
This effort brought awareness in the need to conserve the environment since it plays a very big role in human beauty which is the pride of all. The strategy of the Roddick termed the Body shop Trade not Aid Programme made remarkable efforts in assisting needy communities across the globe by purchasing exotic natural ingredients from as far as Mexico and Amazon River basin. She purchased Brazil nut oil and Blue corn from Kayapo Indians living in Amazon River and Pueblo Indians in Mexico respectively (The body Shop, 2009c).
Such efforts help the developing counties get more money from selling their sources which were renewable rather than earn a living by destroying their habitat. This effort furthered the greening principles since community were informed of the dangers that destruction of the environment and depletion of the natural resources come with. The ethical practices of the Body shop which aimed at helping helpless community was eminent when Roddick spent substantial amount of money trying to assist the local communities and those that were in need.
The business for instance; the soap making factory, accompany in Glasgow used 25% of its profit on the economically depressed city while the retail store located in New York formulated a policy of giving a half of the profit the company generates to on the local groups. Another example of the charitable mission of the body shop is donating a total of 230000 sterling pounds to start a weekly newspaper for the homeless in London in 1991(The body Shop, 2009c).
Such efforts aimed at improving the leaving standard will have a direct implication in the environment. Hungry societies always turn to the natural environment for survival will ensure that it is completely destroyed before they can succumb to hunger. Therefore the effort of the body shop to provide community with a better life spares many natural resources depletion. One of the driving forces of the body shop is their aim to make the world a more suitable place to live by returning more of their gains to the society.
The issue of just making profit without appropriate principles is nowhere in the body shop as some of their management principles are protection of the environment, championing against animal testing, civil rights and human rights consideration, fair trade amongst others (The body Shop, 2010c). The most famous policy of the body shop is that their products are not only natural but one hundred percent pure which has made the business play important role in green business (The body Shop, 2009a).
When the local communities are empowered both economically and with information about protection of the environment, they will not deplete the natural resources in order to earn a living and the body has greatly contributed in empowering communities in different parts of the world. Sparing the animals the risk of death ensures preservation of nature and that mean a better and a more stable ecosystem because the animals play a very important role in the food chain and the general ecosystem.
The body shop plays a very important role in stewardship of the fauna and flora, the physical environment as well as man. The practices of the business and the core values of the body shop enables it achieve the fundamental objectives that have been disregarded by the world in many spheres. Being a green business and upholding the principles that appertain to green business, body shop has been embracing stewardship. Stewardship means managing on behave of others.
According to Appleby (2004) in defining stewardship he states that “Stewardship is the responsible use (including conservation) of natural resources in a way that takes full and balanced account of the interests of society, future generations, and other species, as well as of private needs, and accepts significant answerability to society”. Therefore the question that we can pose is whether the body shop is responsible in using natural resources; does the business use the natural resources while respecting the interest of the societies involved?
Does the body shop use the resources they require as ingredients for their products with the future generations in mind? Do they also consider other organisms that may be affected directly or indirectly by their products or raw material harvesting? And does the business uphold conservation of natural resources. The body shop when passed through the above named test, then it emerges as a good steward of the natural resources and the society. Firstly, the body shop is against animal testing in the cosmetic trade.
According to the body shop (2010b) they have never tested their cosmetic products on animals and they do not intend to do so in future. The body shop further states that “We also don’t commission others to do it for us. In fact, we campaigned for years to bring about a ban on testing cosmetics on animals. We are among the few companies to comply with the stringent requirements of the internationally recognized Humane Cosmetics Standard”. This make the business a good steward of the animals by not manufacturing harmful products that are then tested on animals thereby posing serious risk the life of animals.
The principles and values of the business promote the conservation of animals which therefore qualifies them as good stewards of the fauna. In addition, the body shop spends a lot of money even to the tune of 11. 5M USD every year to buy accessories, gifts and ingredients from local communities worldwide. They use the money to pay fairly the producers of their raw materials thereby bringing the global market closer to the local communities who would have not been able to access such a market.
According to the body shop more than 25000 people found in more than 20 countries get fair benefits under favorable conditions. By doing so, the body shop upholds community trade where they trade responsibly and fairly with the local communities who are their main suppliers. The body shop encourages community trade by reaching out to the traditional craftsmen, small scale farmers, tribal villagers and rural cooperatives with which they forge a rewarding and long lasting relationship which benefits the local community participants with suitable trade and reliable wages (The body Shop, 2010f).
Such efforts of the body shop is a clear demonstration that they indeed do business with the environmental and societies concern and needs in mind hence the body shop upholds real stewardship (The body Shop, 2009b). The body shop has also done remarkably well on embracing the native ecology. The business has enhanced conservation of animals and sustainable use of plants which provide the enterprise with the raw materials. This has enhanced preservation and conservation of endemic animal and plant species.
The human natives of the locations where the business derived its resources have also not been left out. The business considers the plight of the producers of the resources and the entire communities by offering them good payment and supporting many community projects which have been very helpful to several communities all over the world (The body Shop, 2010b). They body shop does not destroy the environment in places where there extract the resources but instead they try to leave it better by championing for the conservation of the environment.
The body shop also embraces the philosophy of deep ecology. Deep ecology which is considered deep because it asks deep questions of how and why is concerned with the impacts of human life as part of the ecosphere (Johnstone, 2002). Deep ecology considers mankind as integral part of the environment and the value of man and non-human life. The body shop is deeply involved in keeping the values of deep ecology and the belief that animals and plants are valuable and we as human being cannot be separated from them.
Policies and values of the business consider human kind as an integral part of the environment. This they have manifested by their effort to campaign against animal testing and sustainable use of the natural resources. The body shop aims to use wood from sources that are managed responsible which is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The body shop (2010) states that “The devastating environmental effect of palm-oil plantations on deforested land has been well documented.
That’s why, as members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), we’ve worked to create new standards designed to help protect natural biodiversity and workers’ rights. We are proud to say that all of our 7. 5m soaps sold annually are now produced using palm oil sourced from a plantation that is successfully audited in line with RSPO regulations”. The body shop being a global business has the feeling that they should be active in the war against climate change (Suzuki, 1997).
Consequently they are seeking ways which will enable them improve their business and at the same time reduce their carbon footprint. The business fraternity is currently in the process of improving their energy efficiency whereby the management has started energy awareness training for their staff. That is not all since the body shop is also converting their car fleet to lower emission models and they have also reduced air travel. The business is also sourcing for renewable energy in most of their operations.
They have also started introducing plastic bottles which are 100% recyclable and in 2008 they replaced their carrier bags with the ones that made from organically grown cotton and are 100% recyclable. All these efforts indicate the commitment the business has shown in perpetuating deep and native ecology values. The body shop has also incorporated the values of eco-feminism which imply that the movements that oppress women and nature are interconnected. The enterprises use natural ingredients to enhance the natural beauty of women.
Therefore, the natural beauty of women comes from nature and when there is destruction of the ecosystem there is a threat to the natural beauty that are directly linked to the human beauty. The value of this philosophy has been brought out clearly by the body shop by trying to demystify our dependence especially women on nature (ecosystem) for beauty. The body shop also addresses ecological issues which Bookchin (2001) states that “… is its recognition of the often overlooked fact that nearly all our present ecological problems arise from deep-seated social problems.
Conversely, present ecological problems cannot be clearly understood, much less resolved, without resolutely dealing with problems within society”. He believes that most problems we face today such as economic, gender, cultural, and ethnic conflicts and others are as a result of serious ecological dislocations. The body shop is upholding the principle and values of this philosophy by trying to address the plight of many local communities all over the world by offering them fair payment, supporting community projects and fight for the human and civic rights of several communities worldwide (The body Shop, 2010d).
The values of stewardship, native ecology, deep ecology and eco-feminism, social ecology /Eco-socialism have played a very important role in the history and the current status of the body shop. These have values have made the business to be preferred by many due to the fact that it presents the people with only the best quality products which are made with total concerns and regard of the environment and the local communities. It has presented the course of the business as that which cares about people and the environment; no wonder it has become such a power in the world of business (The body Shop, 2010e).