In the lead up to Christmas cosmetic retailer The Body Shop is coming under increasing pressure from women’s human rights groups with calls for consumers to boycott their products.
The Body Shop is one many corporate offenders on the Collective Shout 2016 Crossed Off list an annual blacklist of corporate offenders who have sexualised girls and objectified women throughout the year.
These companies do not respect women, they have not changed their ways, and they don’t deserve your money.
The Body Shop, formerly owned by Anita Roddick, was bought by French cosmetic giant L’Oreal in 2006 and is 30% owned by Nestle.
Ethical Consumer has given L’Oreal a very poor rating of 5 out of 20…..
In 2015 L’Oreal was a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. This was regarded by Ethical Consumer as an international corporate lobby group which exerted corporate influence on policy-makers in favour of market solutions that were potentially detrimental to the environment and human rights.
On 18th November 2016, The Body Shop Foundation, founded by Anita and Gordon Roddick, which has been in operation for over 27 years, announced that they would be closing down in 2017. The Body Shop Foundation received most of its funding from The Body Shop International. The announcement came with a brief explanation….
Unfortunately, despite our history and impact our lengthy conversations with the current management of The Body Shop have not resulted in a shared vision for the independent future of the Foundation. A committed funding stream has not been agreed, nor has a fundraising product been put in place for us in 2017.
The Body Shop also posted to it’s website a statement about the parting of the ways with The Body Shop Foundation:
Having launched our Enrich Not Exploit™ Commitment in February 2016, we have mobilised The Body Shop global family around a new aim of true sustainability.
Many of us at The Body Shop worked directly with our founder, Anita Roddick, and the Commitment is not only inspired by her fundamental belief that business can be a force for good, but also by the company’s thinking around sustainability in the 1990s.
To deliver this ambitious aim of true sustainability we need to think differently and more radically and creatively than before across the full range of our activities, including our philanthropic efforts. To that end, we invited The Body Shop Foundation to work with us in a new way. Unfortunately, the Trustees declined our offer so, sadly, we accepted that decision. To ensure our philanthropic activities remain a fundamental part of the business, we will be launching a new The Body Shop Foundation in 2017.
Ironically the Body Shop’s motto is Enrich, Not Exploit, (it’s in our hands) but the company has no hesitation in using sexploitation advertising as part of their marketing campaign to target consumers interested in ethical choices.
In June 2016 Caitlin Roper from Collective Shout wrote:
The Body Shop reoffends with sexploitation advertisement
The Body Shop is at it again, with their third sexploitation advertisement in the last 12 months found in shop front windows in shopping centres around the country. For decades, The Body Shop has had a reputation as an ethical retailer. In 2007 when founder Dame Anita Roddick passed away, the company emphasised their commitment to continuing her legacy. From the ‘About Us’ section on their website:
“At the heart of our business are our values. In everything we do we are committed to helping protect the planet, defending human rights, activating self-esteem, supporting community trade and remaining strong on our stance against animal testing. It is not just part of our jobs - it is part of our corporate DNA!”
However, something has changed in the last year, with the company that was once dedicated to ethical treatment of people, animals and the environment opting to use sexploitation to promote their products.
Last year their highly sexualised window front “Wake up with a big one” posters featuring of a man’s headless torso drawing attention to the man’s genitalia received criticism. A similar collection of posters in shopfront windows in malls around the country featuring the slogan “Get your hands on the good stuff” attracted media attention after the imagery triggered distress in a young child with a history of sexual abuse- but The Body Shop refused to remove it. The Herald Sun contacted us for comment.
The Body Shop clearly haven’t learned a thing, as they have released yet another massive sexualised poster of a man’s headless torso to promote their moisturiser, with the tagline “Moisture with Muscle”. It’s hard to believe The Body Shop could be ignorant as to the research on sexualised and sexually objectifying imagery and negative physical and mental health outcomes for young people- especially given that they’ve been called out for this before. They just don’t care.
The Body Shop are repeat offenders. Let them know you won’t be back while they continue to use sexploitation to sell products.
Contact The Body Shop
Phone 1800 065 232
Adding to the growing list of organisations boycotting The Body Shop is the Nordic Model Australia Coalition (NorMAC).
The Body Shop in Hobart are selling products at The Body Shop as part of a fundraising campaign for Amnesty International. On the 24th November 2016, the National Director of Nordic Model Australia Coalition Simone Watson wrote to The Body Shop raising questions about the companies partnership with Amnesty International and their support for the global sex trade…
It is a serious issue for the reputation of The Body Shop to align itself with Amnesty International as this organisation has recently given its support to the global sex trade with it’s vote for decriminalisation of pimps, johns and profiteers in a multi billion dollar trade in women’s bodies, a trade now recognised to be inherently violent to women and girls especially.
Simone Watson included in her email an article by Taina Bien Aime, Executive Directive of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women The Framing of Gender Apartheid: Amnesty International and Prostitution in which Taina Bien Aime states…
Women have the unequivocal right to make decisions about their health, body, sexuality and reproductive life. Men, on the other hand, do not have the fundamental right to gain access to that body in the sex trade or in any other sphere, despite Amnesty’s premise to the contrary. Amnesty is refusing to admit that the prostituted suffer at the hands of buyers regardless of the legal environment, willfully ignoring “johns‘“ own accounts of their predilection for dehumanization and research showing their propensity for sexual violence. As Native Canadian survivor Bridget Perrier states: “It is not the laws that are killing our women; it is the men.”
Think of this: over three million women and girls are sold to men on a daily basis in mega-brothels in India. Under Amnesty’s plan, that number would exponentially increase with legalized demand and cultural acceptance of prostitution as a viable livelihood for poor, low caste and invisible girls and young women. A vote to endorse the global sex trade would wipe out any progress to advance women’s rights that Amnesty might have made in the past years.
Deb Baxter, Corporate Responsibility Co-ordinator for the Body Shop based in Melbourne replied to Simone Watson’s email a few days later ....
We value the work of Amnesty International and the positive impact they have made to defend human rights around the world; we respect their policies and the thorough research behind them…..
The Body Shop will continue to uphold our commitment to be a business as a force a good.
During the period that Amnesty International was under fire globally from women’s human rights groups over its flawed and undemocratic stakeholder consultation on it’s ‘sex work’ policy, Jessie Macneil-Brown was the London based Senior Manager of International Campaigns and Corporate Responsibility. Jessie Macneill-Brown has a career history with L’Oreal, The Body Shop and between April 2014 and August 2015 was Global Campaigns Manager for Amnesty International ....
Campaigning against the control and criminalisation of sexual and reproductive rights…..
I lead on operationalizing campaign strategy across country, region, law & policy, thematic, communications, media and creative teams. This role also includes input in research and policy development and multi-disciplinary coordination across different stakeholders inside and outside the organization on the body of work within My Body My Rights Campaign. https://au.linkedin.com/in/jessiemacneilbrown
Previously in March 2014 The Body Shop came under fire from Choice Magazine over its claims of products being animal cruelty free and warned:
Consumers who have purchased The Body Shop products on the proviso that the company is cruelty free have been misled and may be entitled to a refund under Australian Consumer Law. If you’re concerned about the misleading statements being made by The Body Shop and L’Oreal, vote with your money – take the products back to the store you bought them in, and send the message that consumers deserve to know the truth.
The Naturewatch Foundation has also raised it’s objections to The Body Shop…
Show your beauty is more than skin deep
It’s a staggering reality that many people do not realise that, despite the EU Cosmetics Testing Ban, which came into force on 11th March 2013, multinational companies can continue to test on animals elsewhere in the world to develop new ingredients for new products to sell outside Europe.
The EU Cosmetics Testing Ban means that any company wishing to sell NEW cosmetic products within the EU must ensure that none of the ingredients, or finished products, have been tested on animals anywhere in the world. The ban affects all cosmetics including toiletries and beauty products from soap to toothpaste. (Please note: the ban does not apply to household products.)
Although the EU Cosmetics Testing Ban sends a strong message worldwide in support of cruelty free, it’s important to note that the ban only applies to NEW products, not those already on the shelves manufactured by companies we don’t endorse, such as L’Oreal. These products contain ingredients that have been tested on animals and profits from sales can be used to fund animal testing outside Europe. On the plus side, we are hopeful that the ban will mean increased effort is put into developing and validating non-animal methods for the remaining animal tests.
What does the EU Cosmetics Testing Ban mean for the Animals?
It means that consumers’ money spent on products in the EU produced by multinational companies we don’t endorse, can still be used to fund animal testing elsewhere in the world, ban or no ban. These companies continue to be responsible for a deplorable level of torture and cruelty to innocent animals in order to increase their profits.
Companies like L’Oreal are wasting no time in accelerating their expansion into China, the world’s second-biggest economy. For example, L’Oreal has acquired Chinese cosmetic companies in order to increase its grip on China’s £20 billion beauty market, at the cost of even more animals’ lives. Annually, in the region of 4,000 beauty products are introduced in China which translates into more than 300,000 animals suffering and dying in cruel tests on vanity products.
To add insult to injury, so called ‘cruelty-free companies’ like The Body Shop prove time and time again that it was worth it for L’Oreal. Media reports tell us that each year The Body Shop hands over dividends to L’Oreal. In July 2013, The Body Shop handed over a dividend of £39.9 million and in 2014 its dividend contribution was £215 million. Read article here.
Do you still believe The Body Shop is cruelty free?
Every single Body Shop product you buy puts money into the hands of L’Oreal, and those purchases help L’Oreal fund animal testing….........and there are many more companies out there like The Body Shop.
We are calling on you to help us step up the pressure. Boycotting companies that continue to test on animals anywhere in the world and reducing their profits will send a very clear message we know they’ll understand - money talks!
The Body Shop’s motto to Enrich, Not Exploit, (it’s in our hands) is coming under increasing scrutiny by many ethical consumers, as is parent company L’Oreal, over their their lack of corporate responsibility towards especially girls and women’s human rights, their dubious partnership with Amnesty International and concerns over animal cruelty. Time to shop elsewhere.
*Isla MacGregor has worked with several National and Tasmanian public interest and Whistleblower organisations since 1993. Isla worked closely with many Tasmanian whistleblowers especially during the 1990’s and led the campaign to introduce Public Interest Disclosure Laws in Tasmania. In 2008, Isla contributed to the Tasmanians for Transparency campaign to push for establishment of a proper Anti Corruption watchdog in Tasmania. Isla thinks there is an urgent need to revitalise public interest activism if Tasmanians want to see more accountability and transparency from Public Officials, Governments and the corporate sector.