Anita Roddick

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Anita Lucia Roddick
Born Anita Lucia Perella
(1942-10-23)23 October 1942
Littlehampton, England
Died Script error: The function "death_date_and_age" does not exist.
Chichester, West Sussex, England
Cause of death Cerebral haemorrhage
Known for Businesswoman, founder of The Body Shop, charity work
Title Dame
Spouse(s) Gordon Roddick
(m. 1970–2007, her death)
Children Justine, Sam
Parent(s) Henry (deceased), Gilda

Dame Anita Lucia Roddick, DBE (23 October 1942 – 10 September 2007) was a British businesswoman, human rights activist and environmental campaigner, best known as the founder of The Body Shop, a cosmetics company producing and retailing natural beauty products that shaped ethical consumerism.[1][2] The company was one of the first to prohibit the use of ingredients tested on animals and one of the first to promote fair trade with third world countries.

Roddick was involved in activism and campaigning for environmental and social issues, including involvement with Greenpeace and The Big Issue. In 1990, Roddick founded Children on the Edge, a charitable organisation which helps disadvantaged children in eastern Europe and Asia.[3]


In 2003, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Roddick a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.[4]

In 2004, Roddick was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis due to long-standing hepatitis C. After she revealed this to the media in February 2007, she promoted the work of the Hepatitis C Trust,[5] and campaigned to increase awareness of the disease.[6]

The Body Shop

Anita Roddick opened the first Body Shop in 1976 with the aim of making an income for herself and her two daughters while her husband was away in South America, with the idea of providing quality skin care products in refillable containers and sample sizes, all marketed with truth rather than hype.[7] She opened her second shop six months later. On her husband's return, he joined the business. By 1991, the Body Shop had 700 branches, and Roddick was awarded the 1991 World Vision Award for Development Initiative.[8] In 1993 she told Third Way Magazine:

In 1997, Anita developed the Body Shop's most successful campaign ever, creating Ruby, the size 16 doll, who was thought to bear a passing resemblance to Barbie. The campaign evolved from a new strategic positioning developed by ethical communications consultancy Host Universal, who created the image of the naked red-haired doll, hands behind her head and wind in her hair, that became the embodiment of the campaign. The photographer was Steve Perry.

By 2004, the Body Shop had 1980 stores, serving over 77 million customers throughout the world. It was voted the second most trusted brand in the United Kingdom, and 28th top brand in the world.

On 17 March 2006, L'Oréal purchased Body Shop for £652 million.[10] This caused controversy, because L'Oréal is involved in animal testing and because the company is part-owned by Nestlé, which has been criticised for its treatment of third world producers. Anita Roddick addressed it directly in an interview with The Guardian, which reported that "she sees herself as a kind of 'Trojan horse' who by selling her business to a huge firm will be able to influence the decisions it makes. Suppliers who had formerly worked with the Body Shop will in future have contracts with L'Oréal, and whilst working with the company 25 days a year Roddick was able to have an input into decisions."[11]

Charity work

Roddick was known for her campaigning work on environmental issues and was a member of the Demos think tank's advisory council. Children on the Edge (COTE) is an organisation that Roddick founded in 1990, in response to her visits to Romanian orphanages.[3]

Upon seeing the conditions the children were in, she created COTE to help manage the crisis and worked to de-institutionalise the children over the course of their early life. COTE's mission is to help disadvantaged children affected by conflicts, natural disasters, disabilities, and HIV/AIDS.

On 13 December 2005, the National Post reported that Roddick had decided to turn her back on the world of commerce and give away her fortune, which came to £51 million ($104 million).[10]

Roddick also wrote the book Take It Personally, which encourages equality and an end to the exploitation of workers and children in underdeveloped countries.

After her death her husband, Gordon Roddick, founded 38 Degrees in her memory, explaining, "I knew what would make Anita really laugh would be to cause a lot of trouble."[12]

The Anita Roddick Foundation has given four grants totalling £120,000 to Cageprisoners, a human rights group whose aim is "to raise awareness of the plight of the prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and other detainees held as part of the War on Terror." .[13][14]


On 14 February 2007, Roddick revealed she had been diagnosed with hepatitis C. Roddick said, "I have hepatitis C. It's a bit of a bummer, but you groan and move on".[6] On 30 August 2007, less than two weeks before her death, Roddick was a special guest in an episode of the live television programme Doctor, Doctor broadcast on Channel 5 in the UK, in which she talked about hepatitis C with the presenter and general practitioner, Mark Porter.[15]

On live television, Roddick explained that her hepatitis C was unexpectedly diagnosed in 2004, following a blood test that was part of a medical examination needed for a life insurance policy; the blood test indicated abnormal liver function and subsequent blood tests diagnosed hepatitis C. Roddick explained that she had a large blood transfusion in 1971, after the birth of her younger daughter, and that she was convinced that the transfusion had infected her with hepatitis C. This was about twenty years before blood donors were screened for hepatitis C in the United Kingdom.

She reported that she had developed cirrhosis of the liver, and that her main symptoms were itching and poor concentration. She briefly mentioned that medical treatment with interferon did not suit her. Roddick explained that she kept fit and active, and that she attended biannual out-patient hospital appointments in Southampton, as well as being under review by the liver transplant team at the Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

Death and estate

Roddick died of acute brain haemorrhage at about 6:30 p.m. on 10 September 2007, after being admitted to St Richard's Hospital, Chichester the previous evening suffering from a severe headache.[1] She left her estate to charities, as promised.

Link with Littlehampton Community School

Roddick was a close friend of Littlehampton Community School. In 2003, it successfully applied to become a Business and Enterprise specialist school. Much of the money required was donated by Roddick. As a result of this donation, a new building that was built with this money was named 'The Roddick Enterprise Centre' (normally abbreviated to 'REC'). The Littlehampton College also hosts 'Roddick Days' such as 'Day of Action' and 'One World'; these events allow students to give something back to their local community and learn about what is happening around them.[citation needed]

The school is currently planning the building of an academy.[citation needed]


Jon Entine notes that Roddick copied the name, concept and original brochures from the original Body Shop, which was started in San Francisco and had three stores when Roddick visited the Bay area in the early 1970s. Roddick's original brochures were word-for-word copies of material produced by the San Francisco-based Body Shop. When Roddick decided to expand her multinational corporation into the United States, she bought the rights to the Body Shop name from the original shop owners in exchange for a confidentiality agreement. The original Body Shop renamed itself Body Time, and is still flourishing. Entine also notes The Body Shop did not make charitable donations for its first 11 years of existence, despite Roddick's statements to the contrary.[16]

The Body Shop opened in Brighton in March 1976. The company entered the stock exchange in 1984. The first sponsorship, which was made possible by the wealth generated by the IPO, was for Greenpeace posters in 1985. The IP[clarification needed] for "The Body Shop" in the USA was purchased for $3.5 million some time later[vague].[7]

Selected awards

  • 1984 – Veuve Clicquot Businesses Woman of the Year
  • 1988 – Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
  • 1988 – Honorary Doctorate from the University of Sussex
  • 1991 – Center for World Development Education's World Vision Award, USA
  • 1993 – Banksia Foundation's Australia Environmental Award
  • 1993 – Mexican Environmental Achiever Award
  • 1993 – National Audubon Society Medal, USA
  • 1994 – Botwinick Prize in Business Ethics, USA
  • 1994 – University of Michigan's Annual Business Leadership Award, USA
  • 1995 – Women's Business Development Center's First Annual Woman Power Award, USA
  • 1996 – Women's Center's Leadership Award, USA
  • 1996 – The Gleitsman Foundation's Award of Achievement, USA
  • 1997 – United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Honouree, Eyes on the Environment
  • 1999 – Honorary Degree (Doctor of Laws) from the University of Bath[17]
  • 1999 – British Environment & Media Award
  • 1999 – Chief Wiper-Away of Ogoni Tears, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, Nigeria
  • 2001 – International Peace Prayer Day Organisation's Woman of Peace
  • 2003 – Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE)
  • 2004 – Honorary Doctorate of Public Service, The Sage Colleges
  • 2005 – Shell liveWIRE survey of inspirational role models, third place after 1) Richard Branson 2) Friends/family 3) Anita Roddick 4) James Dyson 5) Sahar Hashemi
  • 2006 – Spirit of the Rainforest Award, Rainforest Action Network


  • Roddick, Anita – The Body Shop Book – Macdonald, 1985 (ISBN 0-356-10934-8)
  • Roddick, Anita – Mamatoto: the Body Shop Celebration of Birth – Virago, 1991 (ISBN 1-85381-421-0)
  • Roddick, Anita (with Russell Miller) – Body and Soul – Ebury Press, 1991 (ISBN 0-7126-4719-8)
  • Roddick, Anita – Take it personally: How globalisation affects you and powerful ways to challenge it – Anita Roddick Books, 2004
  • Roddick, Anita – Troubled Water: Saints, Sinners, Truth and Lies about the Global Water Crisis – Anita Roddick Books, 2004 (ISBN 0- (with Brooke Shelby Biggs)
  • Roddick, Anita – Business as Unusual – Anita Roddick Books, 2005 (ISBN 0-9543959-5-6) (Latest edition)


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Dame Anita Roddick dies aged 64". BBC News. 10 September 2007. Archived from the original on 11 September 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2007. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Gray, Sadie (11 September 2007). "Dame Anita Roddick". London: The Times. Retrieved 11 September 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Children on the Edge: official website". 2007. Archived from the original on 11 September 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2007. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. List of Dames Commander of the Order of the British Empire#2000s
  5. "Celebrity Health – Anita Roddick". BBC. 17 July 2007. Archived from the original on 21 August 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2007. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Chris Greenwood (15 February 2007). "Roddick reveals she has hepatitis C "and it's a bit of a bummer"". Edinburgh: The Scotsman. Retrieved 11 September 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 Anita Roddick, Body and Soul, 1991.
  8. "World Vision Award for Development Initiative". Worldaware. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Macintyre, James (11 September 2007). "Anita Roddick, capitalist with a conscience, dies at 64". London: The Independent. Retrieved 25 September 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 Cahalane, Claudia (3 November 2006). "I believe they are honourable and the work they do is honourable: interview with Roddick". London: Business Guardian. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2007. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. John, Emma (13 June 2010). "Observer Ethical Awards: Gordon Roddick, Lifetime Achievement Award". London: Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Bassey, Amardeep (9 March 2014). "Charity defends decision to keep funding group fronted by terror suspect Moazzam Begg". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 9 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Barrett, David; Mendick, Robert (1 March 2014). "Mainstream charities have donated thousands to Islamic group fronted by terror suspect". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Doctor, Doctor. Five TV.
  16. "Queen of Green Roddick's 'unfair trade' started when she copied Body Shop formula". London: Daily Mail. 15 September 2007. Retrieved 29 December 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Honorary Graduates 1989 to present". University of Bath. Retrieved 18 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Life and Times. Vanessa Phelps interviews Anita Roddick. BBC television. First broadcast 2000.
  • Doctor, Doctor. Dr Mark Porter interviews Anita Roddick. Five TV. Broadcast live, 30 August 2007.

External links