“The claims of companies to be ethically or environmentally responsible are often empty good intentions.” Discuss this statement with reference to the Body Shop. You can also include reference to any other companies that you know about.
Whereas “the business of business is business” (Friedman, 1970 on Colorado.edu, 2016) was the unchallenged point of view on what companies should focus on until the 20th century, the need of ethical behaviour emerged during the 21st century (Aras and Crowther, 2010). Tragedies like the financial collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, which had serious consequences to the global financial markets and were created by unethical, profit-focused behaviour of managers (Huczynski and Buchanan, 2013), were causing growing concerns in the society. As a result, public interest about the practices of companies had increased and is now rated as a major external pressure combining social, environmental and political issues (Huczynski and Buchanan, 2013).
This essay investigates if the claims of companies to feel responsible in an ethical and environmental way are empty good intensions while identifying the benefits and burdens resulting from these claims with the example of The Body Shop (TBS). Firstly, it explores possible advantages TBS’s values have as part of their business strategy. Secondly, it critically examines the implementation of the company principle to “enrich the people” with their campaign “Trade Not Aid”. Finally, it discusses if these claims could be evaluated as “good intentions” while revealing negative consequences on different stakeholders and the social environment they are operating in.
During the last decades, companies were growing as vast and powerful organizations, often employing more people and earning more money than some states record. Using the chances of globalization to expand in even the poorest parts of the world, companies started influencing economic and political development in these countries while creating worldwide dependencies between economies. TBS has a special place in the discussion about Corporate Social Responsibility caused by its pioneer position in this field. Founded in 1976 it rose to one of the leading brand of toiletries and haircare products. With over 2500 stores in 62 countries (Help.thebodyshop.com, 2016), TBS is a global player with growing influence, which highlights its responsibility for the social and natural environment. Moreover, the three strongly communicated company principles, “enrich the planet, enrich the people and enrich the products” (Thebodyshop.com, 2016), shape the public image of the company significantly.
Criticism on the practices of TBS is based on the discrepancy between their claims and their actions. The public image TBS created attracts the upcoming generations, who are more concerned about their impact on the social and natural environment (Hewlett, Sherbin and Sumberg, 2009). With sales around 700.000.000GBP per year combined with...