The Body Shop: Social Responsibility or Sustained Greenwashing?

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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG067
Case Length : 25 Pages
Period : 2002-2006
Organization : The Body Shop International Plc.
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : UK, Europe, USA
Industry : Beauty care / Cosmetics

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Excerpts Contd...

Body Shop's Response

Body Shop clarified that the acquisition by L'Oreal would not dilute its ethical stance and that it would continue its position on anti-animal testing. Body Shop spokesman Bill Eyres said, "It has been agreed that all our values are ring-fenced and we will continue to apply our animal testing policy."

Roddick justified the deal by saying that L'Oréal wanted to learn from Body Shop's commitment to the environment and human rights in business. She also denied that she had sold out and maintained that the company's values would not change. She said, "I don't see it as selling out. L'Oreal has displayed visionary leadership in wanting to be an authentic advocate and supporter of our values."...

L'oréal Buying CSR?

Some analysts felt that the acquisition was an attempt by L'Oréal to buy CSR. They cited other instances when major multinational corporations bought up smaller, model ethical corporations such as Unilever's acquisition of Ben and Jerry's, The Coca Cola Company's buyout of Odwalla, Colgate-Palmolive Company's takeover of Tom's of Maine, and Dean Foods' acquisition of Horizon Organics. Critics argued that these "model"corporations would find it difficult to continue the good work under their new parent...


Some analysts felt that L'Oreal did not share the principles of Body Shop and that this acquisition had removed the biggest supporter of ethically-sourced beauty care products from the market. Despite the assurance to the contrary, Body Shop might not be able to function autonomously. They pointed out that already five members of the board, namely Peggy Bruzelius, Howard Mann, Jack Keenan, Irene Miller and Gordon, had resigned, and were replaced by former L'Oréal UK chief Tom Vyner and current L'Oréal CEO Jean-Paul Agon, along with four others...


Exhibit I: Body Shop's Mission Statement
Exhibit II: Body Shop's Values
Exhibit III: Awards Won by Anita Roddick*
Exhibit IV: Key Financials of the Body Shop*
Exhibit V: Leaflet Released by MCspotlight and Greenpeace UK
Exhibit VI (A): Backlash against Body Shop
Exhibit VI (B): Backlash against Body Shop


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