[ beyond mcdonald's ]


The Body Shop have produced a counter-leaflet to the London Greenpeace leaflet entitled "Claims vs Facts". The Body Shop leaflet fails to tackle the core of the issues raised in the London Greenpeace leaflet, and makes a number of interesting statements. For example:

(1) On the issue of whether or not they are opposed to trade unions, the Body Shop leaflet states "Any member of staff is free to join a union." Paul Preston, McDonald's UK President, made a similar statement when testifying during the McLibel Trial: "It's their right to join a union if they so choose." The Body Shop leaflet fails to point out that they refuse to negotiate with unions so employees are forced to channel their grievances and demands through procedures completely controlled by the company, thus isolating workers and denying them collective bargaining power. Anita Roddick, in an interview broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in Spring 1997, said that the company does not wish to have a dialogue with unions, and that they would do so only if forced by legislation. "The Company does not formally recognise any Trade Union as representing any of our employees, and has no plans to do so" - from document entitled "Employee Consultation and Representation" produced by Stuart Rose (Managing Director of Body Shop) and dated 20/3/96. By the way, the judge in the McLibel trial found that McDonald's are "strongly antipathetic to any idea of unionisation of crew in their restaurants".

(2) The Body Shop's own counter-leaflet attempts to refute the statements in the London Greenpeace leaflet about "fuelling consumption at the Earth's expense", and then goes on to the "natural products" issue. The Body Shop leaflet states "We explain the necessity for preservatives in order to make a full range of safe, stable and durable cosmetics and ship them all over the world." This is exactly the point that the London Greenpeace leaflet is making, ie. that the company is involved in the mass production, packaging and transportation of standardised products around the world, resulting not only in wasteful energy usage and environmental damage but also necessitating the products containing many preservatives and other synthetic ingredients.

(3) On the issue of censorship, the Body Shop leaflet states "We respect London Greenpeace's right to hold their views on rampant consumerism and their right to voice them. We do not accept their attempt to smear The Body Shop with misleading and untrue allegations. We believe the best way to counter these smears, however, is by making the facts available to any and all in our independently verified Values Report on our website." This is a change from the Body Shop's behaviour in the past. They have a reputation for suing or threatening to sue their critics, and not respecting people's rights to criticise them. Could it be that they have changed their tune because they don't want to risk being caught up in another McLibel trial and campaign, having their policies and practices scrutinised in public?

21st March 1998 - outside Body Shop, 374 Oxford St, London W1

15 people handed out a thousand leaflets, and held placards and a banner for two hours outside the Body Shop on Oxford Street. The banner displayed the subverted Body Shop logo and read "The Body Shop: exploiting idealism for profit". The public response was good with many Body Shop customers and passers-by taking leaflets, and some people stopped for a chat. A Body Shop manager handed out a few copies of their counter-leaflet. Future pickets are planned.
[ BodyShop Coined ]

For more information, contact:
London Greenpeace
5 Caledonian Road
London N1 9DX, UK.

Tel/Fax 0171 713 1269
Tel 0171 837 7557
E-mail: lgp@envirolink.org

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« Back to 'Beyond McDonald's - Retail' Section
» Referenced version of 'What's Wrong With The Body Shop'
» London Greenpeace Press Release
» WWW Body Shop FAQ
» A5 version of 'What's Wrong With The Body Shop'