winter-spring 2001

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roddick
Anita Roddick

on campus
Roddick Promotes Socially Responsible Business
When Anita Roddick founded the Body Shop in 1976, she was not looking for a quick way to maximize profits. Instead, she was guided by a need to put “altruism back on the business agenda.” In her search for “an honorable livelihood,” Roddick not only discovered a market niche for natural beauty products with minimal packaging, but she also found an effective way to combine her business talent and social conscience.

On tour for her book Business as Unusual, Roddick made a stop at Chicago GSB in January. The self-described social activist told students that business leaders have an obligation to look beyond the “culture of comfort” and to put human rights at the core of every trading relationship. According to Roddick, business should not be about survival of the economically fittest. “If businesses are not regulated, they become criminal,” she said. “I don’t want to be a part of business if it speaks a criminal language.”

She projected that certain trends, such as the rise of the vigilant consumer and nongovernmental organizations, will force more businesses to act in a socially responsible way. After all, said Roddick, it is the presence of the ethically aware consumer that has allowed the Body Shop to evolve from a small store in Brighton, England, into a worldwide business network.––T.T.

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