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Anita Roddick: The Body Shop

Updated on September 16, 2013

Anita Roddick

I like the most of the world that knew of her was very saddened by the news that Dame Anita Roddick died on the evening of 10 September 2007.

I first came across the work of Anita Roddick of the Body Shop fame in Sydney in 1986. Then I could see she was making some important statements about the state of business in the world which I found profoundly thought provoking and ultimately true. Sone of the strong arguments that Dame Roddick put forward in the eighties was the way business and corporations went about their business in an 'un-ethical and damaging way'. Especially in their treatment of the environment and workers in third world nations. In the early days most ignored her comments because their greed got in the way. More and more now business and corporations are seeing the light and adopting long term policies that do no harm.

Roddick founded The Body Shop in Brighton in 1976, selling toiletries made from natural ingredients, and her brand became a byword for socially and environmentally responsible business.

The daughter of Italian immigrants, Roddick saw her business mushroom into an empire of more than 2,000 stores serving more than 77 million customers in 51 different markets. She sold her stake in The Body Shop to France's L'Oreal last year.

"Anita Roddick was admitted to St Richard's Hospital in Chichester, close to her home, yesterday evening when she collapsed after complaining of a sudden headache," her family said.

"Mrs Roddick was admitted to the hospital's Intensive Care Unit and her husband Gordon and two daughters, Sam and Justine, were with her when she died," it said.

A multi-millionaire, Roddick campaigned against human rights abuses and was an environmental activist.

The mission statement of The Body Shop was: "To dedicate our business to the pursuit of social and environmental change."

Roddick said it was her mother's frugality during World War Two that inspired her to campaign for environmental issues and question retail conventions.

"We reused everything, we refilled everything and we recycled all we could. The foundation of The Body Shop's environmental activism was born out of ideas like these," she wrote on her Web site.

"The Body Shop is not, and nor was ever, a one-woman-show - it's a global operation with thousands of people working towards common goals and sharing common values," she said.

Roddick revealed earlier this year that she was suffering from liver damage after contracting the Hepatitis C virus more than 35 years ago and soon began campaigning for support for sufferers of the potentially deadly disease.

She developed Hepatitis C from infected blood given to her during the birth of her youngest daughter, Sam, in 1971.

Children on the Edge

Children on the Edge was founded by Anita in 1990 in response to the Romanian orphanage crisis and she has continued her involvement through the past 17 years, most recently as a trustee.

Anita was an exceptional person and there can be no doubt that Children on the Edge would not be the organisation it is today without her passion and integrity.

Through her activism, she helped bring tangible change to many situations. Most of her life was dedicated to the fight against injustice all over the world. She was driven by the belief that "the true measure of a society is how it treats its weakest members" she was never afraid to take on any cause no matter how controversial, in fact at times the more controversial the better.

Her passion, spirit and humour were inspiring qualities that have become core values of Children on the Edge.

A spokeperson for Loreal the company that recently acquired the Body Shop said ; We are proud to have named Anita as one of our friends and colleagues and she will leave a huge gap in all our lives. To honour her memory we will continue to fight for the most marginalised children in the world and like her, never lose our passion and drive. She was often quoted as saying "pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living" and that Anita, we will continue to do on your behalf.

Anita was exceptional in all aspects of her life not least as a wife, mother and grandmother. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at what must be for them a very difficult time.

"Children on the Edge is a perfect example of the human spirit at work. Gandhi's definition of spirituality is being of service for the weak and frail and children on the edge exemplifies that. " Dame Anita Roddick

If you would like to make a donation to Children on the Edge in memory of Dame Anita Roddick, please click here.


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    • teeray profile image

      teeray 9 years ago from Canada

      Inspiring information, Mr. Barry Rutherford - thank you for making this hub.

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 9 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks Patty for your comment....

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Great Hub, of course! One person really can accomplish enough to change at least a part of the world, and others also change it by writing about them.

      Thanks for this info. Best regards...