Assessing the business of the body shop

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"Love beauty and love goodness" is a widely recognized slogan in cosmetic companies. The initiative and innovation cosmetic companies make when they are taking corporate social responsibility has become a significant factor for them to draw consumers' eyes. Nowadays, the medium pays unprecedented attention to CSR. The proposal of Global Compact gives companies a chance to participate in international business, promote international reputation and establish international links. The body shop takes social responsibility as its vision and mission. The Body Shop exerts great efforts to comply with the Global Compact. Therefore, the Body Shop is ranked as one of the most respected companies. The Body Shop makes achievements on eliminating forced labour and encouraging environmentally friendly technologies. The business practices of the Body Shop can be learnt to improve compliance to the two Global Compact principles.

Business Practices of the Body Shop

According to The Body Shop's International PLC values report (2009), there are five values about social responsibility, which are being against animal testing, supporting community trade, activating self-esteem, defending human rights and protecting our planet. The Body Shop positions environmental protection as the key value of products and take measures to encourage environmentally friendly technologies and reduce the negative impact on environment. The Body Shop protects against animal testing in product research. According to the values report (2009), The Body Shop cooperates with Greenpeace International to emphasize on the importance of renewable energy. The Body Shop has a good tradition of sourcing and advocating renewable energy. The Body Shop also develops environmental friendly package. According to the values report (2009), The Body Shop begins to introduce 100% recycled plastic bottles. And all the plastic bags are replaced by paper bags. The Body Shop is very prudent in the use of chemicals. The Body Shop listens to and works with shareholders to use chemicals properly. Besides, The Body Shop is active in the environmental protection activities in the world, for example the development of alternative energy sources. Many funds are invested in environmental protection careers.

The Body Shop defends human rights and activates self-esteem. Actions are made to protect the rights of employees and eliminate forced labour and compulsory labour. The values report (2009) manifests that The Body Shop creates an Ethical Trade programme. The suppliers of The Body Shop must sign up The Body Shop Code of Conduct and provide auditing information of labors to The Body Shop. The Boy Shop Code of Conduct accords with the international labor standards. It stipulates that forced labour is not allowed, children labour is forbidden, workers should be imposed on excessive working hours and other stipulations (n.d), which will protect the rights of labour. Besides, according to The Body Shop official website (2011), The Body Shop cooperates with ECPAT to launch a campaign to fight against child trafficking. This is also an approach to eliminate forced labour.

The lessons learnt

Nowadays, environmental protection issue has become the focus of the public. Environmental protection is the most important part to represent CSR. Thus, developing social environmentally friendly technologies is the core competitive advantages of the company.

The forced labour can reduce product cost and bring about great benefits for the companies. However, it is unfair to other companies. It is unfair competition, which will worsen the forced labour phenomenon. The forced labour may lead to tariff barrier and distort international business order. It also distracts companies' attentions on technological development and damage companies' reputation. Thus, eliminating forced labours is good for the long-term development of companies.

The sense of mission on taking social responsibility and comply with Global Compact endows The Body Shop with personality and vitality. The Global Compact is the inevitable by product of economic globalization. The compliance of Global Compact can help companies to promote management, optimize business environment, save social resources, improve public relations, enhance companies' images cultivate corporate culture, accumulate intangible assets and win better opportunities. The honors and success The Body Shop has won is a good example.

Recommendations

Environmental protection should be infused into the corporation culture and become one of the core values of the company which is good for the development of the environmental friendly technologies.

The development and diffusion of environmental friendly technologies should infiltrate in very part of the companies, from renewable energy utilization, product test, production, package, the disposal of the waste and so on.

The fundamental research, high-tech research and technological research for public welfare are reinforced. The environmental protection theory should adapt to the global change. Different kinds of shareholders are involved to develop the environmental friendly technologies. The suggestions and audit of shareholders are necessary.

The environmental protection standard specification system is established. Besides, the environmental friendly technology management system is established. The innovation of environmental friendly technology is encouraged.

In order to eliminate forced and compulsory labor, the regulations on protecting the rights of workers must be formed. Every one in the company is required to abide by the regulations.

The suppliers of the company must sign up the regulations to make commitment to be in compliance to these regulations and protect the rights of labour. The suppliers' behavior must be audited by a credible third party or professional in-house assessors of the company. The auditing information must be informed to let the company know the working condition of employees.

Ethical trainings are carried out to improve the working conditions of employees. The employees are encouraged to learn new skills. By attending to training courses, employees obtain a sense of wellbeing. They are more likely to protect their own rights.

Human trafficking is one of the main ways to turn workers into forced labour. Thus, combating human trafficking is an effective way to eliminate forced and compulsory labour.

Different shareholders should be engaged to audit the performances of companies. Companies should publicize Global Compact report and make the information of production process transparent. The audit of CSR is implemented to supervise the performances of companies.

Conclusion

The proposal of Global Compact gives companies an opportunity to get involved in international business, enhance international reputation and establish international relations and obtain more development opportunities. The Body Shop's practices in appliance to Global Compact can give some enlightenment to improve the appliance. Although encouraging the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies and eliminating forced and compulsory labour may means great input of human resources, material resources and financial resources for institutional investors, these measures will bring great reputation and profits for them for the long-term. Eliminating forced labour can keep international business order and fair competition can also good for the company. The employees can also benefit from these measures. Moreover, the consumers and other people around are influenced by the environmental protection view of companies. The brands of companies are recognized and the environmental friendly awareness of the public are enhanced.

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