The Body Shop outlines commitment to Modern Slavery Act

The Body Shop has developed a statement to comply with the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015, building on the beauty product retailer's ambition to be the world's "most ethical and truly sustainable business".

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The Body Shop’s statement outlines a commitment to prevent modern slavery across the company and supply chain, including all organisations involved in producing and manufacturing its products.

To do this the retailer has developed a programme that identifies issues relating to modern slavery, and addresses the root causes of labour abuses associated with modern slavery, such as poverty and business practices that fail to protect and improve human and labour rights.

A statement reads: “The Body Shop International wants to do everything in our power to end slavery and ensure that our workplaces and those of our main suppliers are free from modern slavery, exploitation and discrimination.

“We have a zero-tolerance approach to modern slavery in our business and supply chain, enforced through strict global policies and procedures. We also work to prevent and tackle the root causes of modern slavery by investing in vulnerable communities around the world and by running high-profile human rights campaigns.”

At the centre of The Body Shop’s to reduce modern day slavery by 2020 is a pledge to double the size of the firm’s Community Trade programme, which enables fair trade suppliers to deliver high-quality ingredients and accessories.

Operating with 3,100 stores across 66 countries, The Body Shop also vows to empower the suppliers of 20 new natural ingredients that are at risk of exploitation. The commitment will ensure that all renewable raw materials supplied to The Body Shop come from sources that meet its sustainable labour and environmental standards.

Enrich not Exploit

The pledge builds on The Body Shop’s comprehensive policies to prevent exploitation in its operations. In 2016, the retailer launched a new global sustainability strategy – Enrich not Exploit – which incorporated 14 specific, measurable CSR targets for 2020.

Specific ethical targets include ensuring 100% of The Body Shop’s natural ingredients are traceable and sustainably sourced; helping 40,000 economically vulnerable people access work around the world; and investing 250,000 hours of the company’s skills and know-how to enrich the biodiversity of its local communities.

An integral aspect of this CSR commitment is the new Bio-Bridges programme, which aims to regenerate and reconnect 75 million square metres of damaged forests. Working in collaboration with the World Land Trust, The Body Shop established the first Bio-Bridge in the Khe Nuoc Trong forest in Vietnam earlier this year, as a way of restoring wildlife corridors that helps endangered species reconnect, enabling them and local communities to thrive.

The programme has since been extended from its original site in Vietnam to two additional settings in Malaysia and Indonesia, with the company hoping to donate £200,000 to the sites during the Christmas period.

In a recent episode of the edie Sustainable Business Covered podcast, edie took a tour of The Body Shop’s newly-opened innovation lab to discover how the cosmetics retailer is championing ethical sourcing practices while catering to consumer demand.

George Ogleby

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