Boycott News from Issue 101 July/Aug 2006
Boycott Body Shop
As any ethical consumer worth their salt will know, the Body Shop was recently taken over by L’Oréal. This move has touched a cord with many shoppers who felt that the Body Shop was an ethical multinational. Since the move, the company’s Ethiscore has plummeted from a reasonably respectable 11 to a deplorable 3.5.
Some of this is attributable to Nestlé owning 26% of L’Oréal. Not surprisingly, some activists have reacted first with horror and then with boycott campaigns. Others though have stood behind the company and continue to support it.
A newly launched Boycott Body Shop campaign brings together concerns about animal testing, relations with the Majority World, human rights, discrimination in the UK and the environment.
For example, Anita Roddick has previously hit out at L’Oréal for its treatment of female staff, and internal policies to only employ staff they considered attractive. The site notes that L’Oreal was sued in 2003 for sexual and age discrimination by a female director.
The campaign is run by Chris Dowdeswell from Gloucester, and calls for ethical consumers to sign a pledge to boycott The Body Shop. It has printable campaign materials to download, and is organising a day of action in the future.
L'Oreal - Because they’re worth it!
Your average chap on the street knows that the Body Shop is against animal testing, but what about L’Oréal? The French multinational uses ingredients that have been tested on animals, despite public statements to the contrary. It has also been criticised for lobbying against an EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics.
Naturewatch has a long-standing boycott of L’Oreal due to its position on animal testing, and has extended this to include The Body Shop.
The group’s comments on the Body Shop’s standard response are well worth a read. For example, the Body Shop says L’Oréal have not carried out or commissioned tests of products or ingredients on animals since 1989.
However, Naturewatch say that L’Oréal continue touse newly developed ingredients that necessitate animal testing.
More information from www.naturewatch.org/ or telephone 01242 252 871
The Nestlé factor
Baby Milk Action (BMA) has a long-standing boycott of Nestlé due to its aggressive marketing of breastmilk substitutes in the Third World. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 1.5 million infants die each year because they are not breastfed. Where water is unsafe a bottle-fed child is up to 25 times more likely to die.
Dame Anita Roddick has responded to all the boycott activity, by writing to BMA in advance of demonstrations planned against The Body Shop saying “I object to the way Nestlé behaves. I am all too aware of their track record on baby milk, GMOs and Ethiopia..... So if you have to bloody boycott – then boycott. Boycott all the products that Nestlé own 100 per cent… But for goodness sake strengthen the arm of anyone who sees an opportunity of changing the black hole of the corporate world.”
Mike Brady, Campaigns and Networking Coordinator at BMA responded by saying “We cannot ignore the fact that buying Body Shop products will put money in the coffers of Nestlé.”
Pledge to boycott Nestlé or telephone 01223 464420
Body Shop supporters
Two of the biggest animal testing campaign groups have however taken a different view and continue to urge support for The Body Shop.
The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection has stated that:
“A boycott of The Body Shop could hamper the further expansion and distribution of a brand that has done so much to champion the cause of laboratory animals. The Body Shop is set to remain a cruelty-free business as usual...It’s important that compassionate consumers should send a strong message to major corporations like L’Oreal that cruelty free cosmetics continue to be a lucrative business.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals takes a similar line. Caring consumers can send a message to the larger companies that cruelty-free products are good for business by continuing to buy The Body Shop and Tom's of Maine products—both companies have pledged to keep their strong policies against testing on animals.
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