City Pulse

By Raine Marlowe Graves




London drew a sad breath September 10th at the passing of The Body Shop’s founder, Anita Roddick. Controversial and vocal, Roddick was well loved as a relentless crusader for natural and affordable products and a great champion of causes such as global justice, human rights, environmental action and grassroots organising. A giver and class act to the end of her 64 years here on earth. Last year she sold The Body Shop to cosmetic powerhouse L’Oreal – for a cool 652 million pounds – in order to “protect(ed) the company from the corporate wankers.” She vowed she “didn’t want to die rich” and transferred her fortune to her charitable foundation.



Having just celebrated it’s 31st year, The Body Shop changed the face of mass market natural products. Their ethical and environmental stance challenged the industry and she is indirectly to credit with the proliferation of similar nature-friendly skin care and cosmetic lines. In recognition of her dedication, vision and humanity, Riddick was awarded the distinction of “Dame” by Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.

Anita Roddick was truly proof that one woman can save the world. You can read about her journey in her part-autobiography, part-business book, Business As Unusual.


Body Shop Notes:

** Changed the law on animal testing in the UK, while maintaining the Shop’s high standards

** Introduced – and popularized – hemp as a skin care ingredient (in spite of critics denouncement that it would “make you high”)

** Developed Antonio Banderas’ favourite shave cream – “Sandalwood Shaving Cream”

** Was one of the first to offer same-sex partner and part time worker insurance coverage to their staff

** The first skin and hair care company to encourage customers to bring back their used packaging for recycling, introduce environmental management into every level of its operations and the first to introduce a “refill system” in its shops

** Established the first street newspaper for the homeless in the UK; the Big Issue is now established in 10 other countries

** Campaigned against domestic violence and actually changed the law in Canada and Malaysia

** And too many more accomplishments to list here. Visit and get inspired!

Originally published October 2007

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