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Cases Events Publications

‘Enrich Not Exploit’: Can New CSR Strategy Help Body Shop Regain Glory?


This case looks at some key challenges before Jeremy Schwartz (Schwartz), CEO of The Body Shop International Plc. (Body Shop), and its International Director of Corporate Responsibility and Campaigns, Christopher Davis (Davis), as they try to re-establish the company as a leader in ethical retail and maintain its distinct image amid tough competition and boost sales.

Body Shop was regarded as a pioneer in modern CSR practices and was strongly associated with the social activism of its founder, Dame Anita Roddick (Roddick). The case discusses how since its inception, Body Shop had endorsed and championed various social issues such as opposition to animal testing, development of community trade, building of self-esteem, campaigning for human rights, and protection of the planet. Through these initiatives, the company had cultivated a loyal base of customers. The case goes on to discuss the acquisition of Body Shop by the beauty care giant, L’Oréal SA (L’Oréal), and how its ethical image suffered after the takeover. Customers and activists felt betrayed by the deal as Roddick had previously been vocal in her criticism of companies like L’Oréal on account of their alleged unethical policies. According to Schwartz, after the death of Roddick in 2007, Body Shop’s fortunes reportedly took a sharp downturn and its ethical message faded.1 Moreover, with a host of new competitors making their way into the green cosmetics market, the sales of Body Shop plummeted.

In 2016, to reinvigorate the brand, position itself as a more ethical business, and reassert its position as a trailblazer of positive change, Body Shop unveiled its new global CSR campaign. The new commitment entitled ‘Enrich Not Exploit’ outlined 14 sustainable targets with a focus on people, products, and the planet, touching all areas of the business, to be delivered by 2020. The initiative was aimed at supporting Body Shop in its aim of becoming the world’s most ethical and sustainable global business. But will this help Body Shop regain its past glory?

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