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The Body Shop Essay, Research Paper

The Body Shop’s trading charter describes their company as “ensuring human and civil rights”, as using “environmentally sustainable resources wherever technically and economically viable”, “supporting long term, sustainable relationships with communities in need” and “promoting animal protection”. If these things are infact so, you would believe that “The Body Shop” is ethical in the sense that it replenishes the environment and is generous to all disadvantaged people. However, we are going to show whether this is the case, or whether the whole issue is just a marketing ploy to gain respect and sales for the company. On the 16th March 1998, a press release was issued highlighting the issue that there are flaws in the company’s “green consumerism”. The Body Shop has manufactured an image of being a caring company that is helping the environment, but: -The Body Shop has over 1,500 stores in 47 countries and aggressive expansion plans. Like all multinational companies, their main purpose is to make money for their shareholders. – The Body Shop make wide use of non-renewable petrochemicals, synthetic colours, fragrances and preservatives – they use only tiny amounts of botanical-based ingredients. – They pay their workers low wages and are opposed to trade unions, ensuring low labour costs and that the workers cannot improve their conditions – The indigenous people are exploited as The Body Shop claim to help through so-called “Trade Not Aid” and “Community Trade” projects, but less than 1% of sales go to these causes. For example: The Body Shop have claimed that by using brazil nut oil in hair conditioner, the Brazilian Indians are able to make sustainable use of the forest, but only a small number of the Kayapo (Indians) are involved creating resentment and divisions in the community, and The Body Shop, as the sole buyers, can set any price. – The Body Shop has brought legal action to those who have criticised them, trying to stifle public opinion, and thus, demoting “free speech”. Although these points are highlighted, it can also be argued that The Body Shop: – Allows disadvantaged people to work and looks after socially and economically marginalised – Gives some of its profits to good causes – Its goods aren’t tested on animals, but relies on some animal tested ingredients Conclusion: Depending on your point of view, Body Shop is a visionary concept, or an organisation exploiting idealistic followers, getting rich while pledging to help save animals, the indigenous peoples, and a host of other complex causes. Even the best make mistakes and/or compromise their ideals under bottom-line pressure To be ethical it can be argued that we can identify firms that acknowledge their daily struggle to improve product quality, environmental practises, and worker and community relations, and which open their practices to outside scrutiny. Although it can be highlighted that ‘nobody can make the world a better place by shopping.’

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