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DISPATCH: Voicing Opinions
Posted on March 23, 2006 by Anita Roddick

Iím finding Iím much more curious about the negative comments on this proposed relationship with LíOreal than I am about positive comments Ė strange that.

I have, however, just received some really great comments from people I admire and who are also just about the best independent thinkers Iíve met.

I would also add that I realise I need to reply to the comments that have been emailed to me regarding Nestle, which I will do, but as Iím just about to go to the Far East for a few weeks on business, Iíll craft my response upon my return.

Anita Roddick and The Body Shop Sale
by Gus Colquhoun of Jacaranda

So the sale of The Body Shop was a sellout? Presumably, by the same token, the listing of The Body Shop on the stock market back in the eighties was a similar sellout, or was that OK?

The stock market listing gave them the funds to go international...and the funds to build Romanian orphanages, support trade initiatives in Nepal, provide jobs in India, support Ken Saro-Wiwa against Shell, get the laws on animal testing changed, raise awareness of global warming, support Greenpeace, buy Amnestyís new London HQ, set up the Big Issue and a few other things.

They could have not sold out to the City and stayed a small franchised operation on the Sussex coast. Would that have been better? Many people, lacking the luxury of cynicism, wouldnít agree.

Now theyíve sold out to LíOreal. What should they have done instead? Sold it to Superdrug? Boots? WalMart? who? Or not sold it at all and simply watch it become a marginalised niche retailer? Would that have been morally better?

Just suppose they can get LíOreal to start thinking about its depiction of women, its attitude to global trade, its stance on animal testing, its responsibility to the environment - could that really be possible?

Donít imagine it isnít.

What The Roddicks have done, in the space of around twenty years, is turn their particular brand of hippy idealism into mainstream business practise.

When I worked for them in the late eighties the things they were saying about how to run a company were characterised by the mainstream business world as, at best, the crazed ramblings of a mouthy idealist. Now, no-one in BP or any of this countryís major companies would dare to suggest that Corporate Social Responsibility is anything other than one of their major business priorities.

And why should we care that theyíve made a personal fortune out of the process? Why should that be somehow worse than, say Alan Sugarís personal fortune, or Richard Bransonís from his offshore trusts?

Iím amazed and amused that theyíve sold The Body Shop to LíOreal. I think itís about the least predictable thing they could have done - and all the better for that. If you have a problem with it, donít shop there - give your money to charity instead. Iím sure Anita will be delighted.

Selling Out, or Infiltrating?
by Brooke Shelby Biggs of CorpWatch

The news in the past week that Tom's of Maine is being sold to Colgate-Palmolive, and The Body Shop will be acquired by L'Oreal disappoints some ... but creative thinkers might see opportunity where cynics see surrender.

Anita Roddick, a personal friend of mine and founder of The Body Shop, says L'Oreal won't change The Body Shop's core values (environment, human rights, fair trade, etc.), but rather that L'Oreal will be transformed. As she says, "I am, of course, pathologically optimistic. But that doesn't mean I am wrong. "

After all, Unilever bought Ben & Jerry's years ago, and the brand is still free of BGH and antibiotics, and the milk is bought from family farmers. Does it mean Unilever is any less evil? No, but neither is B&J, which is something, isn't it? Two steps forward, one step back is better than three steps back.

Colgate-Palmolive has been criticized for being anti-union, for putting unlabelled toxics in its products, and lacing its toothpaste with borderline toxic ingredients. Acquiring Tom's can be seen either as swallowing an embarrassing competitor, or an acknowledgement that Tom's natural formula works - there's a market for chemical-free products.

L'Oreal, after all, fired a counter clerk in 2003 for not being "hot" enough. And it has joined competitors such as Estee Lauder and Revlon in opposing "safe cosmetics" legislation. Is The Body Shop window-dressing, or is it an admission that doing good can actually be good for business? Guess it depends on how cynical you are. Maybe Roddick is right - maybe a vastly expanded market will be good for the communities from which The Body Shop sources its products. No one has accused The Body Shop or L'Oreal with being OxFam - they sell stuff you don't need. But at least with The Body Shop, if you're going to buy Body Butter anyway, its good to know you're helping women in Ghana feed their families at the same time. Personally, I get irked at progressives who attack other progressives for not being pure enough, for questioning any motives that don't keep us marginalized. Seems to me there's a place for open minds and optimism. At least until they are proven to be misplaced.

Topic : About Anita
Posted By : Anita Roddick
Posted On : March 23, 2006



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Re : Voicing Opinions
By malek mokrani on September 21, 2007

I've had a complete change of heart on this topic recently.

Having read the 2007 values report this has totally put my mind at rest on the body shop purchase by loreal. It's made me realise how this has a potential to bring about some some exciting and great opportunities for real change.

Re : Voicing Opinions
By malek mokrani on September 20, 2007

I've had a total change of heart on this topic. Having looked at the 2007 values report I feel The Body Shop are still a really great company and somewhere I would happily shop. I had my doubts about the takeover but my concerns have been addressed.

I think at the time of the announcement I was a little shocked. But now I can see how this could be a change for alot of good in the grand scheme of things.

Re : Voicing Opinions
By on June 11, 2007

I know that I'm repeating everything that was said by all the other people who posted, but I too feel the need to express my thoughts.

I'm from Greece and I have been using Body Shop products for about 10 years now. It's the only make-up I use, because it feels right on me and it is in accordance to my believes. And I was pleased to see that these products became so popular here in Greece.

As many others, I too was dissapointent by the acquisition by L'Oreal, but unfortunately I wasn't so surprised. The Body Shop has gotten too "big", and in most cases this means too "corporate". And when you reach that point, being acquired by an even bigger multinational is almost a certainty.

The news hit me just when I was finishing my MBA. I knew that the acquisition was a good thing for the corporation and it's stock, but a bad thing for all the loyal customers.

I'm sure L'Oreal will let The Body Shop to stay true to its principles. After all, like Ms Roddick said, that's what they are paying for.

It's the fact that The Body Shop is now part of that part of the corporate world that upsets me. For example I know that The Body Shop products will not be the results of animal testing but now it belongs to a company that does perform animal testing! Loyal customers find that inconsistent to The Body Shop's pricinples.

How does the founder of The Body Shop feels about that? and how does the founder thinks the loyal customers of The Body Shop are going to feel about that?

Is L'Oreal's corporate umbrella enough to protect The Body Shop from the loss of customer loyalty?

And at the end, what customers will The Body Shop have? Are they going to be the same as they have been all these years?

I still use the Body Shop products. Is it because I still believe in the company or is it because here in Greece it is difficult to find other similar products? I think it's both.

In the end I still respect all that Ms Anita Roddick has accomplished. I believe that she is the one that opened the way to make products like that part of mass consumption. What is going to save the world is not the few believers, but the large population addopting the right attitude and behavior towards the environment, animals and of course other human beings. Ms Anita Roddick at least assisted greately towards that.

Unfortunately, what is difficult is protecting these efforts from the interests of the narrow-minded few.

Thank you for the opportunity to express my thoughts.

Re : Voicing Opinions
By Angelika on December 19, 2006

I was really suprised when I heard that the Body Shop was sold to L'Oreal. And so were more people here in the Netherlands because it was kept very quietly. I will not do any shopping there anymore, simply, because I do not trust the products anymore, L'Oreal is known for their products tested on animals. Well, I am very sorry that Mrs. Roddick closed the Body Shop Chapter like this. Sincerely, A. Heller

Re : Voicing Opinions
By barry Farrimond on July 24, 2006

In response to Beths comments, I think that you are quite right when you say that I can't forget the fantastic work that the body shop has done. It has been a beacon of hope in the market place for years, it has educated and informed, fought and often prevailed. However wouldn't you agree that now the Body Shop has just become a contradiction of its own ethics? So much of what you stood for, so much of what you have protested against and fought is, and always has been propagated by the companies you are now owned by and funding! I fail to see how this can be justified.

Re : Voicing Opinions
By malek mokrani on June 23, 2006

Why do I have a feeling we'll never hear Anita's feelings about Nestle? So much for voicing opinion.

This has left me feeling totally disheartened with the body shop and anita.

I wonder what Lush products are like....

Re : Voicing Opinions
By Beth Bates on June 13, 2006

If possible I would like to respond to Barry's comments. The Nestle list you provided us with is impressive, However don't you think a responsible individual needs to look at both sides, criticism and praise.
It is your choice to boycott the Body Shop, but you can't forget all the Body Shop has done for human rights, the environment and animals. That doesn't go away just because the company was bought.

Re : Voicing Opinions
By malek mokrani on June 6, 2006

Anita, are we ever going to hear your crafted response regarding Nestle?

By Emma Woods on June 6, 2006

I'm just writing to ask again that Anita responds to the nestle issue soon. I'm not making any statement about whether it was right or wrong to sell the body shop to L'oreal. I understand both arguments, I'm just unhappy about buying anything that profits nestle and I have avoided it for a good few years now. I'm running out of shampoo and I just need to know if I can go back to the body shop or if I need to investigate my local herbalist's selection. Anita Roddick has been my hero since I was a child and I trust that she has the best interests of the body shop at heart, AS a poor student I would just like to know what she has to say about the nestle issue before I spend my money. Emma.

Re : Voicing Opinions
By barry Farrimond on May 29, 2006

I think that it is disgusting Body Shop being sold to LíOreal. Do you really think that you can influence these people from the inside? No! These are companies that have flourished in the face of opposition for nearly twenty years!! L'Oreal claim that they don't test on animals however:

EU Legislation states that new chemical formulas must be tested on animals.
L'Oreal develop over 4000 new chemical formulas every year!!

And we won't even go on about nestle...actually we will, nestle (who we all know own L'Oreal) have had criticism from the ethical community for:

Tests on dogs
Experimented on dogs
Testing on cats
Colombian activities criticised
Nanotech food products
Failure to act on palm oil environmental threat
Concerns over Indonesian palm oil sourcing
Habitat destruction in US
Products containing meat not labelled as free range or organic
Sold non-organic/free range meat
Sale of products containing battery eggs
Sale of products containing gelatine
Use of animal byproducts
Dispute over Brazilian water extraction
American Indians file lawsuit over Great Lakes
Sued by human rights group over child labour
Link to slavery & child labour
Child labour policy, but no independent monitoring
Lobbying against breastmilk substitute regulations
Police seizure of contaminated formula
Misleading medical claims on baby milk
Russia - hiding GM and advertising chocolate to kids
Possible use of GM food additives
Boycott call by BIG Campaign
Boycott over baby milk marketing
Thai boycott over GM
Member of grocery lobby group
Donation to US Republican campaign
Jollies for UK MPs
Demanding money from wartorn Iraq
Perpetuation of Ethiopian debt

Your now funding these people! What was once a brilliant and independent company built on strong unshakable morals has been reduced to another brick in the wall, purchased because it offered an ugly company a better public image. I am so sorry to have to boycott your products but you have left me with little or no choice, who would have thought it would come to this....

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