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How The Body Shop shapes businesses to make a better world

Rooted in passionate and bold environmental and social activism, The Body Shop has been an integral part of The Big Issue story since the magazine launched 30 years ago

From Save the Whale to Community Fair Trade, Dame Anita Roddick, who founded The Body Shop in 1976, had already established a proven track record in game-changing campaigning when, in autumn of 1991, along with her husband Gordon, she helped John Bird to launch The Big Issue.

In those challenging early years The Body Shop continued to nurture and support the publication, investing £500,000 over the first three years. 

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Roddick’s pioneering philosophy that business could be a force for good saw The Body Shop revolutionise the beauty industry as a pioneering activist brand, one of the earliest to champion body positivity, its groundbreaking Community Fair Trade programme and its campaign to end animal testing in cosmetics, which saw the practice banned in the UK in 1998. Issues such as human rights abuses, domestic violence and supporting HIV and AIDS charities have also been at the heart of the business. Roddick passed away in 2007, but her legacy lives in The Body Shop ethos today. The ethical beauty brand became a certified BCorp in September 2019.

Last year The Body Shop with the help of its customers raised over £470,000 for End Youth Homelessness  – a UK-wide national movement of local charities, administered by Centrepoint, working to transform the lives of over 40,000 young people. 

Giant steps (l-r) Anita Roddick, John Bird, Shelter director Sheila McKechnie and Gordon Roddick launch the mag in London in 1991. Image: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

The donation – raised through transactional and customer donations, as well as a Sleep Out fundraiser –  helped fund a dedicated housing team assisting young women and mothers between the ages of 16 to 25 move into their own homes. 

The Body Shop has continued to raise money for the charity this year to help launch a Health Fund, providing vulnerable young people with access to mental health support to help rebuild their confidence and self-worth, and enable them to have successful and independent futures. 

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Around 10-20% of young people have mental health issues, but this figure jumps to over 50% in young people accessing housing and support services, with the vast majority suffering from more than one issue.*

“Our partnership with The Body Shop is helping to improve the life chances of hundreds of homeless young people,” said Nick Connolly, Managing Director at End Youth Homelessness.

“It could not come at a better time. As we reflect on the collateral damage the pandemic has caused we all know our collective mental health has suffered.

“Homeless young people have suffered immeasurably from isolation and anxiety. The Health Fund will help homeless young people address these and other issues quickly so they don’t overshadow their whole lives.

“This support is essential. Existing services are already over-stretched but we know that if young people get the right support at the right time, regardless of their start in life, they have immense potential.”

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The Body Shop has recently launched the practise of Open Hiring as part of their Inclusive Hiring Strategy, for its retail and distribution centre. The first candidate to apply, is the first candidate that gets the opportunity. The new hiring approach asks three simple questions and no background check is required, which removes barriers to employment for many including those experiencing homelessness. They are partnering with charities and social enterprises across the UK including Barnardo’s, Radical Recruit and Catch22 to share job vacancies with the people that they support.

Who customers choose to shop with can make a difference, as The Body Shop continues to campaign and lead the way in showing that good business can change the world.

To find out more visit www.thebodyshop.com 

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