by Radiyah Shakur
Anita Roddick is a philanthropist, activist, and entrepreneur. The daughter of Italian immigrants, she founded The Body Shop, a cosmetics company dedicated to producing and retailing ethical beauty products.
Anita was exposed to various natural beauty practices and secrets during her extensive travel after college and with a previous position with the United Nations. Opening her first shop in her birthplace of Littlehampton, England in 1976, the shop carried only 15 product lines. Roddick’s first shop was opened as a way to provide income for her and her two daughters, while her husband was exploring the Americas.
Roddick opened her second shop six months later; and upon her husband Gordon’s return he joined the company. Over the decades The Body Shop has gained world wide recognition and financial success- growing to over 300 product lines, 2,000 outlets in 50 countries. It was voted the second most trusted brand in the UK in 2004. In 2002, however, Anita stepped down as co-chairperson and now spends 80 days a years as a consultant for The Body Shop. In 2003, Anita was knighted by the Queen for "services to retailing, the environment and charity," and became known as Dame Anita Roddick.
Since stepping down Dame Roddick has become heavily engaged in environmental, fair-trade, social-justice and human-rights issues. She also become involved in high-profile campaigns, like in 1993 when Anita took on the cause of the Ogoni tribespeople in Nigeria who were seeking justice and reparations against Shell for devastating their lands caused by oil exploration. She recalls the challenge of the multi-national company Shell as one of the most courageous things The Body Shop ever did.
If you visit Dame Anita Roddick’s website www.anitaroddick.com, you will not find nothing self-glorifying about it, but rather a site entirely dedicated to social protest, awareness, and action. Her website gives voice to people and to issues that become marginalized and need representation. It advocates against everything from penny-wages and sweatshop labour to produce cheap clothing for the West, to helping auction money to save Borneo’s forest and wildlife.
In 2005 Dame Anita announced her most radical idea of all, which is to give away her £51million fortune. In a December 2005 interview with the British newspaper the Telegraph, Roddick asserts, "I don't want to die rich. Money does not mean anything to me. The worst thing is greed - the accumulation of money. I don't know why people who are extraordinarily wealthy are not more generous." She has already begun fulfilling her goal and in February, both her and business partner husband sold £4million Body Shop shares, raising £7.4million. A large sum went to charity, £1million to Amnesty International, and an additional £500,000 to support Greenpeace's charitable works.
Business As Unusual: My Entrepreneurial Journey
(Published in 2005) By Anita Roddick
Troubled Water: Saints, Sinners, Truth & Lies
About the Global Water Crisis
(Published in 2004) By Anita Roddick with Brooke Shelby Biggs
(Published in 2004) By David Boyle and Anita Roddick
A Revolution In Kindness
(Published in 2003) Edited By Anita Roddick
Brave Hearts, Rebel Spirits:
A Spiritual Activists Handbook
(Published in 2003) Written by Brooke Shelby Biggs Conceived by Anita Roddick
Take it Personally (UK Edition):
How to Make Conscious Choices to Change the World
(Published in 2001) By Anita Roddick
Business as Unusual:
The Triumph of Anita Roddick
(Published in 2000) By Anita Roddick
Body And Soul:
Profits with Principles - The Amazing Success Story of Anita Roddick and The Body Shop
(Published in 1991) By Anita Roddick