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The Body Shop Examines the Past to Reach for the Future

On The Body Shop's 40th anniversary, Jeremy Schwartz, ceo of The Body Shop, is aiming to power the retailer’s future by examining the past.

On the 40th anniversary of the retailer’s founding, Jeremy Schwartz, chief executive officer of The Body Shop, is aiming to power the retailer’s future by examining the past.

“We’re going to restate, in a strong way, how The Body Shop is a force for good,” Schwartz said of The Body Shop, which was acquired by L’Oréal in 2006, a year before its founder, Anita Roddick, died of a brain hemorrhage. Schwartz joined the brand in 2013. “Our campaigns were ahead of their time and changed laws on animal testing, domestic violence and human trafficking. We were the first in beauty to use community trade and we still have the strongest program in the industry. The greatest challenges lie ahead, and The Body Shop’s 40th anniversary is the perfect time to reassert our aim for leadership in ethical business. We want to inspire a new generation of customers, supporters and especially Millennials who truly care about how a company operates. Reestablishing The Body Shop as a leader will come from delivering our ambitious aim to be the world’s most ethical and truly sustainable global business.”

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That means shaping the business to work in line with the planet’s natural systems so they can replenish and restore themselves, he said. “We’re challenging ourselves to go further than we’ve ever gone before to make a real, sustainable and positive difference,” he said. “We have set ourselves a significant goal to be the world’s most ethical and truly sustainable global business. Once L’Oréal bought us, it was more supportive of all of the things about The Body Shop than one might imagine.”

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A new initiative called “The Enrich, Not Exploit” commitment will further support these goals, with global activities and measurable targets that touch all aspects of The Body Shop’s business by 2020, Schwartz said. “The Body Shop has always believed that business can be a force for good and change. The new commitment embraces the bold ethical principles from which The Body Shop was built.”

In total, there are 14 targets within the commitment, divided into three broad pillars: Enrich Our People, Enrich Our Products and Enrich Our Planet. Enrich Our People’s tasks include doubling The Body Shop’s community trade program from 19 to 40 ingredients, helping 40,000 economically vulnerable people access work around the world, and investing 250,000 hours of skills and know-how to enrich the biodiversity of local communities, Schwartz said.

Goals for Enrich Our Products include ensuring that 100 percent of the company’s natural ingredients are traceable and sustainably sourced; reducing the environmental footprint of all product categories and develop an innovation pipeline that delivers pioneering cosmetic ingredients from biodiversity hot spots and which helps to enrich these areas.

Under the Enrich Our Planet umbrella, Schwartz noted that the retailer will aim to reduce the environmental footprint of its stores every time the stores are refurbished or redesigned, ensure that 70 percent of its packaging doesn’t contain fossil fuels and power 100 percent of its stores with renewable or carbon-balanced energy.

The Body Shop operates 3,300 stores in 68 countries at present.

Megan Grant, general manager of The Body Shop in the U.S., noted that the brand’s latest product line, Drops of Youth, is rolling out now. Built off of a three-year-old serum that continues to generate strong sales, said Grant, the lineup includes six stockkeeping units ranging in price from $24 to $54. The primary drivers are the stem cells of edelweiss, sea holly and criste marine, which are intended to tighten pores, smooth lines and add bounce to skin.

Overall, the best-selling sku’s in the U.S. is the brand’s Tea Tree Oil, she noted.