by Samuel Jones
Before and since, she led the way in ethical enterprise, promoting and championing causes in which she believed. The 1980s was a period of burgeoning business in which fortune could easily take precedence to principle: amidst this, the Body Shop was a reminder that enterprise and a commitment to social and public goods were not necessarily mutually exclusive. Since then, she put her efforts and experience to a range of other causes close to her heart. The breadth of these, from Amnesty and the Gulf War, to the problems of HIV and Aids evinces the continuity of her dedication to her initial principles.
At the same time, she also pioneered the ways of running a business that are now commonplace. Her business combined specific expertise and personal belief. Like many social entrepreneurs, the success of the Body Shop came from learning from prior attempts. As our economy and industry transforms, the pattern that she set is likely to stand for years to come.
It is a credit to her example that business is now as accountable to social, economic, human and political factors as much as the accountant and the shareholder. It is also a credit to her success that many of the social entrepreneurs who will shape our future can look to her for inspiration.