September 23, 2019 / 3:36 PM / 21 days ago

Body Shop joins businesses looking to prove purpose beyond profits

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The Body Shop was awarded an ethical business certification on Monday, joining a growing global cohort seeking to prove to the public that business can be a force for good.

The 43-year-old retailer is the latest company to become a B Corporation - or B Corp - under a certification scheme that requires companies to track their impact on employers, suppliers, community and the environment.

It joins about 3,000 companies spanning 60 countries that have achieved the certification, including U.S. outdoor apparel brand Patagonia, ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s and British chocolate social enterprise Divine.

“The planet and society need more fully committed, responsible businesses. It is not enough just to be concerned with making short-term profits,” said Body Shop chief executive David Boynton in a statement.

Increasingly, consumers, employees and shareholders reward companies they see as “supporting a sustainable future”, he said.

Founded in England in 1976 by the late environmentalist and human rights activist Anita Roddick, The Body Shop is considered a pioneering ethical business, famous for promoting natural, ethically-sourced products and rejecting animal testing.

As consumer demand for businesses to prove their ethical credentials has grown in recent years the Body Shop has faced greater competition from newcomers offering similar products.

When French cosmetics giant L’Oreal bought The Body Shop more than a decade ago the move was regarded by some as a sell-out of its green credentials, but it was later acquired by Brazilian beauty company Natura&Co, also a B Corp, in 2017.

The certification process is run by B Lab, a non-profit organization based in the United States.

Reporting by Sarah Shearman @Shearmans. Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking and slavery, property rights, social innovation, resilience and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org to see more stories

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