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Body Shop will lose support of 99% of Nestle boycott supporters initial survey results reveal

Update 28 March: YouGov opinion poll finds Body Shop brand 'battered' - "The Body Shop's "buzz" rating has dropped 10 points to –4 since the beginning of the month, the public's "general impression" of it is down three to 19 and "satisfaction" has slumped a massive 11 points to 14."

Mike Brady, Campaigns and Networking Coordinator at Baby Milk Action said:

"The strength of feeling seems to have taken Body Shop and Dame Anita Roddick by surprise - they still do not have a statement on the Nestlé link. This brand has been damaged, perhaps terminally, by linking to the world's 'least responsible company'. As people abandon Body Shop for companies with higher 'ethical scores' rather than put money in Nestlé's coffers, it is ethical business, their suppliers and employees who are the winners, as well as infants."

21 March 2006 press release

Click here for our press release about the Nestle/L'Oreal takeover of Body Shop.

This afternoon Baby Milk Action sent an email to its alert list asking for supporters to complete an on-line survey. The response rate has been quicker than any survey we have run (even faster than that on Nestle's launch of a Fairtrade product - click here for details).

The first 100 responses indicate that 99% of boycott supporters will add the Body Shop to their boycott of Nestle if the takeover by L'Oreal goes ahead. Only one respondent indicated she would continue to shop at Body Shop.

Nestle owns 26.4% of L'Oreal.

In 2003 L'Oreal co-sponsored advertisements on environmental contamination which were widely criticised for undermining breastfeeding with a shock image (right).

The issue of contaminants in breastmilk and baby milks is more complex than Nestle/L'Oreal wishes to suggest and breastfeeding helps to protect against contaminants received by a baby in the womb, where the contaminant load is far more significant. (See the report in Update 33).

While the boycott focuses on Nescafe, Nestle's flagship product, Baby Milk Action lists all brands from which Nestle profits.

Comments made with the survey indicate the sense of betrayal Body Shop customers who support the boycott are feeling.

The full list of comments received are as follows (a few displaying even greater outrage have been removed or cut):

  • I have emailed Body Shop to express my dismay and inform them that I shall no longer be shopping there if they are owned by Nestle/L'Oreal.

  • I'm deeply disappointed, and will not hesitate to boycott Body Shop if the Loreal takeover goes ahead, and I will be urging others to do the same.

  • The Body Shop is one of the few companies I felt had ethical polocies, but unfortunatly, if L'Oreal take it over, I will, because of its links with Nestle feel unable to continue to shop there.

  • I have written a very stiff e-mail of disapproval to Dame Roddick regarding this blatant sell-out and betrayal of her previously well-vaunted principles.  I have yet to receive a reply.

  • i have e-mailed them to let them know i will include them in my boycott if the takeover goes ahead.

  • Well what can i say after everything the Body Shop is meant to stand for and Anita Roddick herself has personally written articles on her own website denouncing L'Oreal words fail me they really do.

  • Utterly shocking unethical action by company that purports to be ethical.

  • For a supposedly ethical company to consider such action, I am apalled.

  • I am disgusted in how the ethos of the body shop has chnged so much. To allow L'Oreal to takeover is to discredit all the hard work Body Shop has done in the past.

  • A shame really as The Body Shop was previously viewed as an ethical company.

  • Its a shame as i really love vitamin e but this has ruined the whole ethos of the body shop

  • I only buy from companies who do not test on animals and who are ethical too. This rules out nestle and L'Oreal and will rule out Body shop too if Nestle/L'Oreal take over too.

  • I already boycott L'Oreal over their animal testing programs.

  • I've been a loyal Body Shop customer since I was 15...about as long as I have been boycotting Nestle (I'm now 27): if it's now a choice between one or the other, I know which I'm going for!

  • I have been a regular consumer of Body shop products and am shocked to hear about the take over by L'Oreal.

  • Boycotting Body Shop won't be a hardship for me; I just got a catalog from Lush, and noticed they even use fair trade cocoa in their products.  I think it will be a pleasure to switch.

  • I find it insanely hypocritical that a company that has stood so much on it's reputation as 'ethical' can even consider becoming affiliated with such a horrific cooperation as Nestle. It's absurd.

  • Stunned, and disappointed. Our entire household boycotts Nestle products, incl my children, and there wil be no more purchased made from The Body Shop now -- and I will make a point of telling my friends, also. I feel let down and disappointed by the whole Body Shop concept.

  • Forgive me for such cynicism, but isn't this just another example of the impossibility of the concept of 'ethical capitalism'? What did we expect Ms Roddick to do, turn body shop into a workers' cooperative and distribute the proceeds amongst the staff? However, her true colours are revealed and, surprise, surprised she's a capitalist....!

  • I have already sent an e-mail to Body Shop re the unethical stance of Nestle. I hope that ethical matters will, for once, come before financial interests!

  • My Family and I will boycott Body Shop.

  • Can't  believe they can sell to such an unethical company!

  • How can Roddick put profit before people?  And I liked the Body Shop, too.

  • The Body Shop tries to represent themselves as caring, well dying children is not something to look away from...

  • What a shame to see money winning over ethics.

  • I think it is important to boycott The Body Shop even if the stakehold of Nestle in L'Oreal isn't a majority stakehold as I think it is important to send a clear message that having one ethically sound product/range of products does not constitute a good business. Anyway, I boycott the whole list of Nestle affiliated products, Body Shop will be added to the list.

  • I am very surprised adn disappointed that an ethical, caring company has been bought out by a company with the morals of L'Oreal. My friends and family, like myself will no longer be shopping at the Body Shop and are already researching alternatives.

  • This is shocking! Not just the take over, but also over the last week i have not seen one mention of Nestle in connection with L'Oreal. In fact i doubted myself that this was the case and took to the L'Oreal website where eventually after an hours search i found some connections. People need to know, there is an assumption that body shop shoppers are more ethically swayed by their purchasing - they need to be the target.

  • I feel saddened that a company based on principles has allowed itself to be bought over in such a manner.

  • i already boycott l'Oreal products so will add this to the list. it is awful news.

  • I have already emailed the body shop to tell them of my disappointment.

  • I am very disappointed that The Body Shop have been bought out by a multi-national company - especially one such as Nestle.

  • Nestle and WalMart are taking over the world - and that is not a good thing.

  • I am so upset! I have been a Body Shop customer, and I'm concerned by both the Nestle connection and the animal testing if this goes through. I'm completely shocked by this!

  • After hearing of the take over, I was absolutely gutted. I visited the body shops website and was appauled that they could print their 'Human Rights Philoshophy' on the site, with the take over in mind. I have since ended my membership with them. You will always have my support BMA!!

  • I'm bemused.

  • sad to see an ethical company selling out to a corporation driven only by profit-making.

  • I am mortified about this. I have not bought eaten or used any Nestle products for 14 years. I have a Body Shop Love your body card, I only use Body Shop make up. Where will I buy my beauty products now? I am furious.

  • I'm shocked at L'oreal taking over the Body Shop. I've bought cosmetics from the Body Shop before because it is ethical and it's stupid that a non ethical company (Nestle) is owning an ethical business. I'm definitely boycotting Body Shop, as I boycott anything linked at all with Nestle.

  • I find it hard to credit that this is happening, as the body shop customers I know particuarly chose to shop there as it was an 'ethical' trading outlet! I'm sure this take over will severely limit their market if the customers find out about Nestle and are aware of the issues.

  • I am appalled that the Body Shop is being bought by L'Oreal. I can't believe that Anita Roddick and the shareholders would sell out in this unethical way.

  • It would be a shame to have to stop shopping in Body Shop as I regularly use a lot of their products. However I feel that strongly aboot my Nestle boycott that I would stop shopping there and encourage others to boycott too.

  • I've already written to the Body Shop to tell them I'm boycotting their stores.
    Anita sold her soul to the devil imo, but the Body Shop claimed to be many things in it's human rights claims but had to prove many of them imo.  A lot of it's supposed 'clean' image never really existed.

  • Boycott the Body Shop!! If there weren't enough reasons to boycott them already, definately boycott them now. Please put them on your list.

  • I have shopped in Body Shop for years but I will never step foot in one again if this take over goes ahead!!

  • I think that even without the Nestle connection, being owned by L'Oreal will pretty much obliterate Body Shop's reputation as a source of alternative "greener"(?) cosmetics and as a rare example of good corporate citizenship.  It's too bad - it's lasted a long time.  But maybe it's just more evidence that corporate structure is inherently unredeemable.

  • Although really disappointed by the Roddicks decision to sell to L'Oreal, I like the Body Shop ethos and products. If at any time it looked like they were to move away from fair trade/ethical purchasing I would certainly consider a boycott.

  • The Bodyshop gained much of its reputation via ethical marketing and it's stance against animal testing and support of fairly traded products.  L'Oreal's attempts at greenwashing can do nothing bu irrepairably damage Body Shop's image, something that's a loss for all of us- especially as I know many people who dearly love their products!

  • If the profits of Body Shop go to Nestle then i will boycott them aswell, i although i do not actually use Body Shop myself!

  • The L'Oreal take-over makes an absolute mockery of the Body Shop's so-called ethical policies.  The reason I have shopped there is to make sure I am not contributing to the profits of corporations like L'Oreal.

  • I will always boycott any company associated with Nestle, so Bodyshop will be added to my list without a doubt! I am very disappointed in the Bodyshop who I thought were meant to have ethical beliefs.. profit before anything else as usual!!!

  • This is realy difficult.  Anita Roddick maintains that the only mistake she made with Body Shop was to become a public company stock exchange quoted.  Once you do that then you have no control over who invests in you and who makes big decisions.  She admitted on Woman's Hour today that most of the shareholders of Body Shop are people you wouldn't want to do business with!  She also maintained that single issue boycotts don't work.

  • As Nestle own 26.4% of L'Oreal it seems to me that they will still profit from me buying Body Shop products. The idea that they were fairtrade will not apply given that they are owned by Nestle who are grotesquely immoral.

  • this is an apalling sell out and a huge dissapointment than such an upholding organisation should sell out

  • I think the whole deal stinks.  Nestle weill use its connections with body shop to boost its own fetid image.

  • To me it's non-negotiable. Whatever Anita Roddick might say, I boycott any company linked with Nestle, and will continue to do so. I feel that doing so sends the message to Nestle (however weak it may be) that I will not condone their behaviour, and that I am prepared to censure it's 'family' on the basis of Nestle's behaviour.

  • It's a disgrace.

  • I'm still shocked that this happened and will do everything i can to alert others to this.

  • I'll buy Lush instead.

Not counted in this analysis is the one respondent during this period who indicated he did not support the boycott. He lauded Nestle products and concluded: "You people are ridiculous, your boycotts will never be enough to make any sort of impact on Nestle, L'Oreal, or the Body Shop!!!!!"


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