Activists in the boardroom: The Body Shop’s Youth Council on the future of sustainable business

At COP26, the Body Shop explored how a youth council could ensure that younger generations had their voices and issues heard by decision makers. Here, edie summarises what this youth council wants to see from businesses moving forward.

Activists in the boardroom: The Body Shop’s Youth Council on the future of sustainable business

The Youth Council was unveiled at COP26

The Body Shop Youth Council was tested last week in a pilot format to ensure the views and priorities of your people are shaping the business decision making and long-term strategy. 

The organisation hosted an event looking at the B Lab’s Boardroom 2030 initiative. B Lab, which is the UK arm of the B Corp movement, introduced Boardroom 2030 to ask companies to improve the diversity of the boardroom table, including youth representatives. The Body Shop is now looking to establish an official youth council next year.

The Body Shops’ parent company Natura&Co has notably pledged to reach net-zero by 2030 and set an interim emission to reduce emissions intensity by 13% by 2026, against a 2019 baseline.

With youth activists making their voices heard both inside and outside of the COP26 negotiations, edie spoke to the new youth council to ask them what a purpose-led company should look like.

Antonia Tony-Fadipe, Inclusive Hiring Lead UK and Global functions at The Body Shop

“If The Body Shop’s purpose is to fight for a fairer and more beautiful world, access to education and employment are always going to be the greatest equalisers. Through our Open Hiring model we are effectively allowing the business to bring equality and financial independence to the people in our communities.”

Anais Nebel, The Body Shop’s Global Activism & Sustainability Specialist

“When you are a purpose driven business and you shout about your values, you attract a community of people who share those values and you create a safe space for people to be themselves and, like we’re doing today, bring their ideas to the table”

Gavin Gillie, Assistant manager (top 50 store) the Body Shop

“When it comes to packaging, we’ve all got to be smarter. And for me it’s all about education”

Clover Hogan, Founder & Executive Director, Forces of Nature

“We can’t allow sustainability to once again be placed on the shoulders of the people who are not responsible for this crisis.”

Dr Jessica Omukuti, Research Fellow on Inclusive Net Zero

“We need to ensure that when moving towards Net Zero we are not overburdening a very specific part of the population who are marginalised, vulnerable and have had very little to do with causing the emissions in the first place.”

Celeste Leverton responding to the role of corporates as an activist

“When it comes to activism I like to think about the suffragettes and the suffragists. We need those who are shouting and taking radical action like the suffragettes, but we also need the suffragists as well. Those who work on the inside changing laws and influencing policies. It’s important to have both.”

Kaya Axelsson, Net Zero Policy Engagement Fellow at Oxford Net Zero

“Our entire subsidies system from our food system through to our energy system is completely backwards. We need companies to band together to pressure governments to shift subsidies.” 

edie recently spoke to Andrea Alvares, chief brand, innovation, international and sustainability officer at Natura&Co – owner of The Body Shop – about how brands can support nature beyond their own operations and supply chains, by engaging with policy and supporting other businesses. 

You can listen to Andrea on the COP26 covered podcast.

This mini-series of podcasts features round-ups, special guests, listener quizzes and more – all available to listen and subscribe to, for free, right here on along with all major podcasting platforms:  

edie staff

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie