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THE BODY SHOP Shopping for Cosmetics

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THE BODY SHOP Shopping for Cosmetics

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									THE BODY SHOP
The Evolution of Business in Society

No longer are business and community two mutually exclusive spheres of
influence in the society today. Increasingly, the trend in companies is to be
actively engaged in corporate social initiatives with community involvement.
Multinationals like Microsoft, BP, and McDonalds have come to appreciate the
benefits reaped from successful integration of corporate social responsibility
(CSR) efforts into their core business units, which serve as a powerful
competitive edge over other companies.

The competitive nature of business has very much remained. However, the
fundamental role of business in society has evolved over the years. Within a
company, there are employers, managers and shareholders. Outside of it lies
the sphere of influence that extends towards the government, consumers and
not forgetting the community at large. With complex intertwined relationships
between business, government and the society, a business exists not solely for
the sake of profits but it can entail shrewd corporate strategies like how best to
serve its customers, satisfy the needs of the community and meet the
expectations of the government.

Interestingly, many companies like The Body Shop, Philip Morris and Shell are
adopting the new model of strategic philanthropy to incorporate corporate social
initiatives into their business. On the other extreme end, multinationals are
spending millions on corporate philanthropy, which has absolute nothing to do
with their products. In this paper, our group will first outline the various CSR
taken by The Body Shop International as well as The Body Shop Singapore. All
information with regards to the local CSR initiatives were given by Grace
Chang, public relations manager of The Body Shop Asia Pacific. Next, we will
attempt to share our objective analysis of these initiatives and what they entail.
This is crucial, as we will further analyse the extent of The Body Shop’s
corporate social initiatives taking shape in Singapore, which is culturally,
socially and politically different from the West.

The Green Symbol of Success

Anita Roddick founded The Body Shop in 1976, which had evolved from one
small shop in Brighton, with only around 25 hand-mixed products on sale, to a
multinational company today. Today, The Body Shop has over 1,900 outlets in
50 countries and an impressive collection of over 1000 products.

The Body Shop aims to distinguish itself to be a leader in corporate social
responsibility. The Company's campaigns against human rights abuses, in
favor of animal and environmental protection and its commitment to challenge
the stereotypes of beauty perpetuated by the cosmetics industry, have won the
support of generations of consumers. It is estimated that The Body Shop sells
a product every 0.4 seconds with over 77 million customers worldwide.

In 1996, The Body Shop won the prestigious UN Grand Award for outstanding
achievement in public relations campaigns. According to the 1997 Interbrand
survey criteria, the Body Shop was named as the 28th top brand in the world
and second in the retail sector. The Financial Times voted The Body Shop as
the 27th most respected company in the world in a 1998 report. In 1999, the
Body Shop was voted the second most trusted brand in the UK by the
Consumers Association.

Mission Statement

The Body Shop Mission Statement dedicates the Company's business to the
pursuit of social and environmental change. Underpinning the mission
statement is The Body Shop Trading Charter, which addresses the three
principal concerns of social responsibility, environmental sustainability and
animal protection.

The focus on these three primary concerns helps to address and balance the
needs between the stakeholders, the environment, the communities, and
animals, reflected in the policies put down by The Body Shop.

Great Expectations

The Five Core Values

As a socially responsible business, The Body Shop campaigns for the
protection of the environment, against animal testing and campaigning for
human and civil rights within the cosmetics and toiletries industry around the
world. In the following sections, the group will outline and analyze the various
environmental, social and community efforts taken by The Body Shop
International as well as The Body Shop Singapore and Asia Pacific, which we
group under the five core values stated by The Body Shop.

1. Against Animal Testing

The Body Shop operates on a strict purchasing rule that ensures they do not
buy any ingredient that has been animal tested for cosmetic purposes by their
suppliers since 31 December 1990. The Body Shop informs the public and
campaigns to ban cosmetics tests on animals. Instead of testing on animals,
The Body Shop supports the use and development of alternative technologies
like Irritection, a replacement for the rabbit eye test, and human volunteer trials
such as skin patch tests assists The Body Shop in ensuring safety and efficacy.
In 1986, The Body Shop launched its first window campaign in support of the
Greenpeace campaign, Save the Whale. Since then, The Body Shop has
actively undertaken several campaigns to protect endangered species. In 1990,
The Body Shop raised public awareness against animal testing through its
series of campaigns. In 1995, The Body Shop became the first cosmetic
company to have their Against Animal Testing supplier-monitoring systems
independently audited and successfully certified against the ISO9002 quality
assurance standard. In November 1996, The Body Shop was the first
international cosmetic company approved under the Humans Cosmetics
Standard operated by many of the world's leading animal protection groups.

We believe that The Body Shop has certainly lived up to public’s expectations in
this area. The Body Shop firmly believes that animals should not be made to
suffer just to make humans look better. Hence, they are very strict with their
suppliers, requesting them to get certification for the supplies bi-annually to
show that they are not tested on animals. While the suppliers have been able to
take advantage of several loopholes in the supplying agreements, The Body
Shop has been quick to plug such gaps. In fact, even for ingredients required by
law to be tested on animals, The Body Shop is considering replacement with
alternatives so as to not go against their anti-animal testing principle.

We feel that this firm belief, while intended to be altruistic, has given The Body
Shop at least two distinct advantages over their competitors in satisfying their
stakeholder’s expectations. Firstly, animal rights advocates that have always
been railing at cosmetic companies for testing their products on animals has
seldom done so to The Body Shop. In fact, The Body Shop is one of the few
cosmetics and body care companies they openly support. Next, consumers of
cosmetic and body care shops are mostly women. When they purchase their
products from The Body Shop, they do not have the feeling of guilt that some
cute and furry mammal is suffering for them to feel and look good. Such positive
relationship with their stakeholders will further enhance Body Shop’s public

However, having such close relationships with stakeholders such as animal
rights advocates can have its disadvantages as well. A clear example would be
the Pink Dolphin incident in Singapore. During an interview, Grace Chang, she
revealed that The Body Shop faced some problems here. Initially, when Yeo
Hiap Seng first introduced the Pink Dolphin drink, they declared that a portion of
the profits from this drink would go into research on dolphins in Sentosa
UnderWater World. The Body Shop Singapore chipped in, thinking that this
would help to save endangered dolphins, which is coherent with their mission.
However, a major animal rights advocate group in the United States apparently
believed that by doing so, this would encourage breeding dolphins in captivity,
which they feel should be left to breed in the wild. The Body Shop Singapore
received a protest call from them and to prevent offending them, they tried to
verify that the money was going to benefit dolphins. However, the project was
eventually scrapped in the end.
From this incident, it is evident that The Body Shop has a tremendous
responsibility to uphold against animal testing values. Although only in
Singapore, where we are consider small compared to larger markets in Japan
or Spain, the impact of local activities tremors can be felt even in the United
States. This goes to show how The Body Shop has successfully gathered
support from the public especially the animal activists, who play substantial
roles in its CSR initiatives.

2. Protecting the Environment

The Body Shop believes that a business has a responsibility to protect the
environment in which it operates. The Body Shop’s first Environmental Policy
was developed in to ensure that environmental laws are complied with at all
times and in the event of difficulties, these will be reported to the appropriate
regulatory authorities. The Body Shop is also committed to raise environmental
awareness amongst its employees and business partners around the world.
Other crucial stakeholders involved are the environmentalists and consumers.

In 2001, The Body Shop joined forces with Greenpeace International in a global
campaign to increase awareness of the issue of global warming and encourage
customers to take part in halting global warming by switching to renewable
energy. In 2000, The Body Shop International Service Centre, UK/ROI regional
offices in Littlehampton and London along with 100 UK/ROI company stores
switched to renewable energy supplied by Ecotricity.

This environmental policy of The Body Shop has humble beginnings. Initially, in
order to save costs, The Body Shop made use of recycled materials. As saving
the environment gradually became a larger public concern, The Body Shop
responded in a strategic enhancement tie with their stakeholders. It gradually
evolved into a full-fledged policy. This policy of saving energy and recycling,
even encouraging customers to refill their products by reusing bottles, have won
plaudits from environmental activists all over the world. The 1996 Environmental
Reporting Scoreboard' - a study by Company Reporting, an independent
accounts auditor, ranked The Body Shop highest out of 42 environmental
reports and statements according to the amount of information disclosed by
companies about their impact on the environment. By implementing an
environmental policy and following it, The Body Shop is able to save costs, as
well as to generate positive image to its stakeholders.

An important point to highlight here is that the fact that Anita Roddick is able to
integrate extensive environmental policies into The Body Shop’s business is
because of a silent assumption that the public is capable of being educated to
think in an environmentally responsible way. By being actively involved in
campaigning for saving the environment, The Body Shop collaterally create new
wants and needs in the consumers’ mindset i.e. to get the consumers to think
and go green, a common trend in the market today. But a bigger question we
ask The Body Shop is to what extent are the Singaporean consumers willing to
spend on environmentally friendly cosmetic products without burning a hole in
their pockets? Do consumers worldwide especially in Singapore support and
buy The Body Shop products just because they provide refill services and
recycled bottles or do consumers really care?

To answer our deepest doubts, we scoured the streets to interview The Body
Shop’s customers in Singapore. Our interviews revealed that when customers
buy from The Body Shop, supporting the environment is not the main reason for
purchasing their products. Practical reasons like reasonable price and quality
were some of the answers provided when asked why they buy The Body Shop’s
products. Little is known about the initiatives taken by The Body Shop to protect
the environment, the animals or human rights. However when asked if they are
willing to pay more to support environment programs or campaigns, most of the
consumers do not mind as long as it is within their budget. Therefore, we think
that the passion to support The Body Shop because it engages in saving the
environment is virtually non-existent in the minds of Singaporean consumers.
This can be attributed to the fact that most Singaporeans are often nonchalant
towards environment issues, which usually are taken with a pitch of salt.

Another attempt by The Body Shop in Singapore was to sponsor recycling bins
in the MRT stations. However they ran into a lot of bureaucracy from the
Government with regards to the strategic positions of the bins due to strict
security reasons. This avidly shows the obstacles that The Body Shop faced in
the implementation of environmental programs in Singapore, which probably
explain for the low publicity, and occurrence of such intensive programs.

Disregarding the red tapes present in the Singapore context, we feel that that
The Body Shop is capable of doing even more. Take the recycling bottles for
consumer as an example, it is a very good initiative but we feel that The Body
Shop is not emphasizing enough. Customers in Singapore do not purchase
items from The Body Shop just because they can reuse the bottles and save
the environment. There is very little incentive for them to do so as they do not
save much money from it. In fact, some staffs in Singapore are not even aware
of the refilling services that The Body Shop provides. In the West, customers
are given the option of carriers such that plastic or paper bags are minimally
used. However, in Singapore, carriers are given without even asking the
customers. This goes on to show that even employees of The Body Shop
Singapore are not trained or informed of The Body Shop’s environmental policy.
We feel more should be done to get its employees in Singapore to be well
informed and be more proactive in areas of helping to save the planet. Though
it may be spoiling its intended motive of recycling, The Body Shop Singapore
can give incentives, such as rewarding their customers who refill with vouchers
or free gifts. In a way, they may benefit from gaining customers’ loyalty;
incentives will not only help to improve their relationship with regular customers,
but will also make their environmental policy even more successful, as more
people will be reusing their bottles.

3. Defend Human Rights

The Body Shop believes that businesses, in particular, have a part to play in
effecting social change. If more businesses demonstrate a social conscience
and act with social responsibility, governments would have to listen.

The Body Shop began their campaigning on this issue years ago with Amnesty
International in full support of their customers - 3,000,000 of them signed up to
the 'Make your Mark' campaign. In 2000, The Body Shop launched its own
Human Rights award as an ongoing commitment to support the defense of
human rights the world over. The intention is to give special attention to the
neglected areas of social, economic and cultural rights, such as education,
housing and health.

Our group feels that The Body Shop, being a beauty and cosmetic business
does not have a direct interest to advocate Human Rights issues. As such, by
doing so, The Body Shop would probably gain a lot of positive publicity and
goodwill, as it will be hard to question the motives of this initiative. We feel that
this program is very closely related to The Body Shop mission statement of
being socially responsible to the community. For example in 1993, The Body
Shop risked suffering political disfavor from the Nigerian government by
supporting the campaign of the Ogoni people of Nigeria against the economic
exploitation and environmental destruction caused by the Nigerian military
dictatorship and multinational oil companies like Shell. The Body Shop
supported this campaign and its founder, Anita Roddick, personally fought the
issue through public press by presenting many high profile speeches written by
herself and other company executives. Though we think that Anita Roddick may
be doing this as a means of publicity for The Body Shop, we feel that it’s a win-
win situation for both The Body Shop and the community. If The Body Shop
had not supported the campaign, there would be one less voice to support and
speak up for these people. The Body Shop’s contribution to social change in
this aspect is significant. Hence, we feel that this program is a very good
illustration of how a large powerful multinational company like The Body Shop
can do to lend a larger voice to the people under oppression around the world
and that The Body Shop should try to continue and expand the scope of this

We feel that The Body Shop has been very vocal and daring to take up an issue
that is both controversial and sensitive even in a controversial society like
Singapore. In Singapore, it took leadership in conducting AIDS awareness
courses in business, which was a success. In addition, The Body Shop
Singapore has hired around 8 HIV positive staff whom they want to keep low
profile on and had classes for its employees on how to work with AIDS
colleagues. This is by far a great leap forward in the Singapore society, which
prefers to hush-hush on AIDS and AIDS patients, which explains for the low
number of Aids positive patients coming forward to the public to create

4. Support Community Trade

The Community Trade program is aimed at small producer communities around
the world who supply it with accessories and natural ingredients. Fair prices
help producers to take control over their own lives and allow money to go back
into the community to supply basic needs such as water, health and education.

The Body Shop believes that big businesses have a huge responsibility to use
trade not just to make money but also to have a positive influence in the world.
Their goal is to create livelihoods by sourcing ingredients and accessories from
socially and economically marginalized producer communities. The Body Shop
currently trades with over 42 Community Trade suppliers in more than 26
countries. Two of the longest standing suppliers, Teddy Exports in India and
Get Paper Industries in Nepal have, with support from The Body Shop, set up
AIDS awareness projects which now attract international funding.

For such projects, The Body Shop needs to be careful not to be the only buyer
from these communities. The Body Shop would not be there to help them
forever, and thus we raise the question of self-sustainability by these
Community Trade suppliers. In actual fact, The Body Shop’s ability to purchase
from these communities depends on their customers. If the demand for, say,
handicrafts from such communities by The Body Shop’s customers dropped,
one doubts The Body Shop would continue to purchase them just to aid the
community. If there are multiple purchasers, not only would such communities
be more self-sufficient, but they would be able to demand better prices as well.
The concern was raised to Grace Chang, and she assured us that The Body
Shop has looked into this matter and is focused on ensuring these communities
become self sufficient and not overly reliant on The Body Shop.

However the group feels that while The Body Shop has been exemplary in
spearheading this concept of providing a source of living hood to the
marginalized people, it has failed to clarify on the principles on the amount of
usage of the raw materials purchased in their products. All they have is a
specific monetary target; that an undisclosed dollar amount of their raw
materials will be sourced form these places. We feel that the relatively
inexpensive raw materials placed The Body Shop in an advantageous situation
whereby the sales of these products will provide The Body Shop with a
relatively high profit due to the premium prices charged for these products. We
wonder how much of their profits are being channeled back into these
communities which they have purported to help. As a result, we feel that these
communities may be exploited. Thus, the scale and effectiveness of The Body
Shop’s direct trading projects is somehow questioned.
Next, even when they do try to give such aid to the communities, there are
certain regulatory hurdles, some of which could not be crossed. In an incident
related to us by Grace Chang, The Body Shop International has tried to help
some farmers of a certain type of plant, called hemp, in a remote part of Asia.
The leaves of hemps could be made into creams and sold in The Body Shop. It
was quite successful, and would have even been more so had the leaves not
contain certain ingredients that could be made into marijuana. Although the
creams contained only a tiny fraction of the ingredient required to manufacture
marijuana, the Singapore authorities are adamant that this product do not enter
our borders. A shipment from Hong Kong carrying this product was forced to
turn back because of this reason.

If The Body Shop International is able to take into account the individual
sensitivities and regulations in the various countries like Singapore where it has
a presence, its programs would be even more successful. We recommend that
they should come up with a comprehensive strategy to solve such cross cultural
and political issues.

5. Activate Self-Esteem

The Body Shop defines self-esteem to be “…. about self-awareness, self-
confidence, self-worth, and self-acceptance”. It's about respecting yourself,
looking after your body and soul, and being proud of who and what you are.

In 1998, The Body Shop produced 'The Body and Self Esteem', the first
publication in the 'Full Voice' series. Distributed worldwide, this publication
aimed to raise awareness of the issue of self-esteem and generate debate. In
1997, a campaign based on 'Ruby', a doll representing real women, was
launched. In Singapore, The Body Shop supported a debate on self-esteem by
the Sophia Institute - one of the few institutions in the world dedicated to
promoting self-esteem.

Our group trust that it is a common knowledge that The Body Shop’s clientele
consists mainly of women who buy their beauty and hair products. Hence, we
believe that The Body Shop’s advocacy of women issues is a clever marketing
ploy and that it is a move to appeal to what their clientele can identify with.
Compared to the past, more women now are provided educational and better
work opportunities. Therefore, they now enjoy higher buying power and level of
disposable income. By advocating women’s issues, The Body Shop is likened
to be killing two birds with one stone. They could be seen to be socially
responsible in educating women on positive self image as well as a means of
publicity of the Body Shop products as a way to fulfilling a holistic well being
experience. Consequently we feel that The Body Shop has manipulatively used
claims of social concerns for pure commercial advantage. However, The Body
Shop’s move to educate women on positive self-esteem issues and to stimulate
debate on eating disorders and self-love should not be undermined. It has
indeed generated greater awareness and education on these pressing issues of

The Body Shop Foundation

Eleven years on, The Body Shop Foundation has donated over £5 million in
grants and gift-in-kind support, assisting the work of various worldwide
organizations. In addition to the work, the Foundation covers UK administration
costs for its two core projects; the Brazilian Healthcare Project and children on
the edge. On the whole, The foundation effectively benefits the Brazilian
Healthcare Project, Children on the Edge, The Maiti’s children trust, The Ogoni
Foundation, The Born Free Foundation and Body & Soul. Closer to our home,
The Body Shop Asia Pacific had contributed L700000 to The Body Shop
International Foundation.

Community Involvement

Community involvement is a concept that has always been an integral part of its
business. The Body Shop supports and encourages employees throughout the
world to volunteer their time in local community action. The Body Shop’s
community action covers a wide range of activities from conservation work to
providing massages and taking part in activity sessions for blind and partially
sighted people.

Other CSR Initiatives In Singapore

Besides those mentioned before in the report, The Body Shop Singapore had
once collaborated with Singapore Sports Council (SSC) to organize a National
Leisure Cycling event which was tied with the “ Save the World” campaign.
Initially, SSC was against the signing of petition to “Save the World”. But they
got around the problem by asking participants to go to all The Body Shops in
Singapore to get a 16.90 soap free which they have to sign a petition in the
shop before they get the soap.

In addition, The Body Shop Asia Pacific is working with UNICEF to build playing
space for children for East Timor. They chose East Timor not because it is
prominent, but because they wanted to give help to where it was needed most.
Some of the successful programs that The Body Shop Asia Pacific has
organized so far were the recycling bins programs, AIDS awareness programs
and the employment of AIDS positive staff in the company.

In all of the programs mentioned above, we asked Grace Chang why The Body
Shop engages itself to the implementation of such programs and why CSR is so
important? We were given answers like The Body Shop truly wanting to give
back to the society and helping those in need especially those in third world
countries. At first glance, it may seem that The Body Shop’s motives for CSR
are truly altruistic. This may be supported by two reasons. Firstly, The Body
Shop is venturing into “no man’s land”, in effect, it is exploring deeper and
serious social and environmental issues that most of us in developed countries
often take for granted. Most companies involved in the area of CSR initiatives
usually avoid these issues. Some of these issues like the AIDS programs in
Singapore and world human rights programs are controversial to the society at
large. Yet The Body Shop is bold enough to bring out these issues right in front
of our faces, urging the compassionate side of humans to surface. Secondly,
especially in conservative Singapore, The Body Shop Asia Pacific had initiated
the AIDS awareness talk to businesses and the petition to “Save the World”
program. This illustrates the extent of The Body Shop’s passion to “help the
needy”. While it may be difficult to carry out activities in some countries because
government regulations pose barriers to faster implementation of CSR
initiatives, it can be avoided usually with some creative effort.

Nevertheless, on a further note, it may seem that The Body Shop is actually
trying to fulfill the mission statement laid out. Being an international company
with stores all over the world, it has successfully build up its brand equity and
awareness. The public views The Body Shop as a socially responsible
business, thus the high expectations. In order not to tarnish the image built, The
Body Shop has to be persistent and always on the look out for supporting or
initiating social and environment issues.

The Art of the Media Game

While we sneered at the large posters or newspaper advertisements of how
companies like Starbucks and NTUC have sponsored charities and sporting
events in attempts to conduct CSR initiatives, it is interesting to note that The
Body Shop does not spend money on advertising at all. When Anita Roddick
first started small business in 1974, she could not on large-scale advertising.
Moreover, she firmly believes that The Body Shop is not in the business of
selling unattainable dreams, promising effective results for its consumers.
Therefore till today, we do not see huge budget media advertising on The Body
Shop’s products. This further emphasised the belief that she does not support
the conventional modes of advertising and making false claims on their
products being practiced by big cosmetic companies nowadays.

Ironically, the bulk of so-called “advertising” comes from the wide media
publicity generated from the environment, social and community activities that
The Body Shop engages in. On the same note, most of these free “advertising”
also came from slams about The Body Shop engaging in illegal or undesirable
activities contrary to their mission statement. The reason why the group did not
dig into The Body Shop’s dirty linen is because we were overwhelmed by the
tremendous criticisms against them. Even so, we are not in the position to judge
which is true and which we should believe. Therefore, we would attempt to
analyse the CSR initiatives objectively from what we view as credible sources
like the official website and Grace Chang. This brings us to a controversial point
about The Body Shop’s media publicity stints, which highlights our groups
overall view about the CSR initiatives though some intended to be altruistic that
The Body Shop has undertaken.

As we study deeper into each of the CSR initiatives undertaken internationally
as well as in Singapore, we are sceptical about the altruistic element in the
active involvement. The altruistic motives are dubious to a greater extent when
recently its founder Anita Roddick stepped down. We therefore explore the
possibility of a hidden agenda to promote the brand name of The Body Shop.
There seems to be a skewed direction from what it originally stood for. The
good or even the bad publicity has created a greater public awareness.
Undeniably these media reports are actually The Body Shop’s use of media
channels to generate publicity widely and effectively. In retrospect, it seems that
such media publicity do not create such deep impressions in Singaporeans.
One of the reasons we feel may be that The Body Shop Singapore does not
engage in enough “reported CSR initiatives” to reflect on consumers’ mindset or
that most Singaporean consumers just simply do not care about environmental,
social or animal issues. Even so, we feel that The Body Shop Singapore has
not done enough intensive CSR programs in Singapore.

Piecing the Whole Picture

The group feels strongly for the hidden agenda behind all the active
involvement in the CSR initiatives despite the fact that when The Body Shop
stands up for certain issues, both the company and the community benefit. It is
a win-win situation. As Anita Roddick stepped down, what entails are the
strategic social and environmental involvements and programs designed to
establish greater brand equity and awareness. This point is further
substantiated by the decrease in profits in its balance sheets over the recent
years. Furthermore, the group greatly feels that CSR initiatives are not enough
and relevant in Singapore even though they are bold. The Body Shop
Singapore seems to give us the feeling that it is following the headquarters in
Brighton with regards to the kind of activities it engages in. As we interview
Singaporean consumers, The Body Shop come across to us as a profit making
company instead of a socially responsible company it claims to be. Therefore,
we conclude that The Body Shop is likened to have many facets; it is up to the
stakeholders to see which facet they favor in their interest.

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