“You educate people by stirring their passions. You take every opportunity to grab the imagination of your employees, you get them to feel they are doing something important, that they are not a lone voice, that they are the most powerful and potent people on the planet.”
HOW WE’RE BUILDING ON 35 YEARS OF CHANGEMAKING
To be a successful changemaker we know that all you need to do is find the source of your own power. Everyone at The Body Shop is a changemaker and everyone we meet has the potential to change the world. As long as we keep moving and keep fighting
We strive for long term, systemic social change for the next generation. Always have done, always will. Over the years we’ve campaigned on issues other businesses might dodge for being too complicated or too risky. Long before the dawn of ethical consumerism we campaigned against the destruction of the Amazonian rainforest. We’ve fought animal testing and the sex trafficking of children and young people. It was maybe not terribly obvious to anyone in 1997 why The Body Shop was campaigning for the rights of the Ogoni People, when we didn’t actually retail in Nigeria. But it was obvious to us. Because it was the right thing to do.
Here are some of the campaigns we’re most proud of:
1986 – “SAVE THE WHALE” WITH
The first big campaign that Dame Anita Roddick and The Body Shop launched drew attention to the continuing threat to these majestic mammals. Initially, the posters provided some relief from what Anita described as her slightly ‘tedious’ window displays. It was her first shot at this style of visual communication and not exactly shy and retiring. But then neither was she.
1988 – OZONE? OR NO OZONE
As early as the 1980s, environmental groups saw the climate change issue as a threat to the earth. Before fuel lobbying groups influenced the debate, Anita added The Body Shop’s voice to the issue of global warming. We worked with Greenpeace on a high-profile campaign against the destruction of the ozone layer by CFCs. It lay the foundation for our punchy poster campaigns and helped set the tone for fights to come.
1989 – “STOP THE BURNING” SAVE THE RAINFOREST CAMPAIGN
Our groundbreaking “Stop the Burning” environmental campaign collected almost a million petition signatures calling for the end of the burning of the Brazilian rainforests. Alongside this Anita also threw her heart and soul into a successful campaign to block a major dam project in Brazil.
Anita’s methods energized everyone who worked on the campaign out the street petitioning people, asking the public questions like ‘did you know that an area the size of Wales is burning every year?’ Many people who worked on the campaign remember this as a critical moment before climate change issues slipped off the international agenda.
1991 – AGAINST ANIMAL TESTING
Probably our most iconic campaign, and one that made us the first cosmetics brand to campaign on the issue of animal testing within our own industry. In 1996, we delivered a petition signed by 4 million people to the European Commission and in 1998, Britain introduced a ban on animal testing on cosmetic products and ingredients. It was changemaking activism, in action, and remains one of our proudest moments.
1993 – OGONI PEOPLE
The Body Shop launched an international high-profile campaign to raise awareness of the plight of the Ogoni people and their leader Ken Saro-Wiwa, who were persecuted for protesting against Shell, the oil and gas multinational, and the Nigerian dictatorship for overexploiting their homeland.
“I think businesses see human rights as a nuisance, as a threat to their bottom line… If big business is more powerful than governments and does not care about human rights, then God help us all.”
1997 – THE BIRTH OF RUBY
The Body Shop debuted its self-esteem campaign featuring the fuller-figured doll, lovingly referred to as "Ruby." She graced store windows in the UK with the powerful slogan, "There are 3 billion women who don't look like supermodels and only 8 who do."
Ruby challenged harmful stereotypes of beauty and openly challenged the influence of the mainstream beauty industry. Honest, confrontational and with a characteristic ambition, it was Ruby who inspired a worldwide debate about body image and self-esteem.
1998 – “MAKE YOUR MARK” WITH AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
Anita was all about action. She empowered store staff to run campaigns their own way. The philosophy was 'glocal' - local issues but with a global outlook. Alongside this international campaigning for human rights, staff volunteered at local refuges and shelters or visited schools. It was these lasting relationships with the community that enabled staff to build a movement fast.
In ‘98, we partnered with Amnesty International and campaigned to highlight the plight of human rights activists around the world. The campaign saw over three million customers make their mark in 34 countries by ‘signing’ our petition, consequently helping to free 17 out of 30 prisoners of conscience.
2002 – “CHOOSE POSITIVE ENERGY” WITH GREENPEACE
In 2002 the concept of renewable energy was pretty new or seen as a luxury, so we ran a campaign to push it up the agenda. These ideas weren’t so popular in our global franchise stores such as Indonesia, a country that exports large amounts of petroleum. But, we energized, petitioned and educated staff - and it worked. The global campaign culminated in the presentation of over 6 million customer signatures at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.
We reinforced our commitment to environmental sustainability through investment in renewable energy, funding of energy efficiency projects in low-income countries and incorporating post-consumer recyclates into our packaging.
2003 – STOP VIOLENCE IN THE HOME CAMPAIGN
This was a global campaign that built on 10 years of campaigning on the issue in markets such as Canada, West Malaysia and the United States. It highlighted the issue of domestic violence in more than 50 countries and has since raised over £2 million to support survivors of violence in the home. In some countries, such as Indonesia and Canada, the campaign helped change the law on domestic violence.
Staff volunteered and met women who had been affected by domestic violence. Staff in various markets met women leaving abusive homes and kept in touch with them on their journey into employment. Many staff insights from this time have inspired our inclusive hiring program in North America.
2008 TO 2012 – OVER £600,000 RAISED FOR THE STAYING ALIVE FOUNDATION THROUGH THE HIV/AIDS AWARENESS CAMPAIGN WITH MTV
In 2008 we ran a campaign to give 100% of the profits from some of our best-selling products to the Staying Alive foundation. It ran for four years and raised over £4 million. The unrestricted money gave them the freedom they needed to invest in young people working in their own communities during the HIV epidemic. They spent it in areas where they could make the biggest impact, where rates of infection were high and grassroots community groups were running on debt.
2009 TO 2012 – STOP SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE CAMPAIGN
The Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People campaign is one of our most successful ever. It was truly epic. We collected 7 million signatures. The petitions were presented to heads of state, government ministers and dignitaries in 40 countries across the world in 2011, as well as to the European Union and the United Nations Human Rights Council. It has already inspired over 20 governments to commit to introduce new legislation protecting and supporting children and young people affected or at risk of sex trafficking.
2010 TO 2013 – “BE AN ACTIVIST”, HIV/AIDS AWARENESS CAMPAIGN AND 3 YEAR PARTNERSHIP WITH UN AIDS
We created a ground-breaking partnership with UN AIDS, launched around the world on World Aids Day, 1st December 2010. The key campaign message focused on informing people all over the world, across The Body Shop’s stores and UN AIDS global network. It encouraged the notion of allyship in an issue that was still taboo worldwide. It championed the message that everyone can Be An Activist in the fight against the HIV epidemic regardless of their status, beliefs or background.
2012 TO 2013 – CRUELTY FREE INTERNATIONAL, GLOBAL BAN ON ANIMAL TESTING FOR COSMETICS
Building on our rich heritage and expertise on this issue, in the summer of 2012 The Body Shop was proud to support the launch of Cruelty Free International, the world’s first NGO dedicated to bringing about a global ban on animal testing for cosmetics. With 80% of the world’s governments still yet to ban animal testing, The Body Shop call on all governments and regulators to participate and consign it to history.
2021 – SAVE CRUELTY FREE COSMETICS
With the EU ban on cosmetics tests on animals came the promise of a Europe in which animals no longer suffer and die for the sake of cosmetics. In 2021, we saw the EU begin to break this promise. In an industry-first, we collaborated with Dove, PETA, CFI and over 500 leading animal protection organizations to campaign for urgent action against new animal testing requirements in Europe. Together, we activated across the continent in hopes to collect one million signatures to bring the matter back to the European Commission.
AND WE’RE NOT STOPPING THERE.
We’ve been picking up the pace lately. You can read more about our activism past and present here.