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The Body Shop's Sustainable Sourcing Programme

The Body Shop International created its Community Trade sourcing programme in 1987. Originally known as 'Trade not Aid', our pioneering fair trade programme was developed to revolutionize the way we source some of our key natural accessories and ingredients directly from small producer groups across the world.

We now work with 31 suppliers worldwide who supply us with over 25 different gifts and accessories, as well as 24 ingredients, present in over 95% of our products. Our Community Trade programme directly benefits over 15,000 producers and their local communities.

As the pioneer of fair trade in the cosmetics industry, our vision is to present a model to industry that others can follow. We have accordingly set ourselves these goals under our Enrich Not Exploit 2020 commitment:

  • Increase our Community Trade programme from 27 to 40 suppliers and help enrich supplier communities
  • Ensure 100% of our natural ingredients are traceable and sustainably sourced, protecting 10,000 hectares of forest and other habitat
  • Benefit 40 000 economically vulnerable people around the world via access to work and /or sustainability projects that relate to our supply chains
  • Develop an innovation pipeline that delivers pioneering cosmetic ingredients which are sustainably sourced from biodiversity hotspots and helps to enrich these areas.

To help meet these goals, we are introducing clear guidelines for all natural ingredients, natural accessories and natural product packaging we use, including Community Trade materials. These guidelines are set out in our Sustainable Sourcing Charter. The Charter is not a certification standard nor does it attempt to emulate one. Rather than compliance criterion for criterion, The Body Shop expects from its Suppliers and Producers the commitment:

  • To produce Materials in a way that aligns with the spirit of the Charter
  • To make genuine efforts to continually improve towards more sustainable production
  • To work in partnership with The Body Shop and all other Supply Chain Actors
  • To be open and transparent about any issues arising and to work on resolving them collaboratively and in partnership.

We have also developed Implementation Guidelines to explain how The Body Shop will verify that its own and its Suppliers' business practices are aligned with The Body Shop's Sustainable Sourcing Charter.

The full 'Sustainable Sourcing Charter' and Implementation Guidelines are available here. 

Key points are summarised below. Additional guidance on the interpretation of the Charter and Guidelines is available on request.

Key Points on Your Role as a Supplier

1.      All suppliers of natural materials used by The Body Shop will be expected to review the Charter and sign it, to indicate their understanding and commitment to achieving its objectives. 

  • Supplier means suppliers of a finished ingredient, accessory or product packaging material.
  • Natural materials include natural ingredients as defined under ISO standard 16128, as well as accessories and product packaging derived from renewable, plant based materials such as paper, wood, cotton, hemp, and natural minerals.  All Community Trade materials are within scope of the Sustainable Sourcing Charter.
  • The Charter focusses on the environmental and social conditions at the producer level in our natural material supply chains. For example, for natural ingredients, the Charter sets out general objectives for how the plants should be grown and harvested in an environmentally sustainable way, as well as general principles for how farmers or other workers who grew or processed the ingredient should be ethically treated.
  • While the main focus is on environmental and social conditions of producers 'on the ground', we expect all supply chain actors in a natural material supply chain  – including traders, distributors, refiners, manufacturers, or others  to support achievement of the Charter objectives.  For example, if you are a contract manufacturer producing a finished product for The Body Shop, but also source natural ingredients for use in our products through third parties, we would expect you to work with your raw material suppliers to help achieve the Charter objectives.

2.      Suppliers will be requested to provide evidence to demonstrate natural materials meet the 'basic' objectives (as defined in the Charter).

  • This evidence can include certification to third-party sustainability standards which show that objectives have been met. Details on acceptable certifications are provided in the Implementation Guidelines.
  • In some cases, including all Community Trade supply chains, The Body Shop may actively work with suppliers to develop a collaborative action plan to ensure the objectives are met over time. 
  • Once basic objectives are met, we expect suppliers to maintain and improve the sustainability of natural materials over time, reaching 'progression' objectives (as defined in the Charter) and beyond.

3.      The Charter also sets out The Body Shop commitments to suppliers, including special commitments to Community Trade suppliers. 

  • Our general commitments to suppliers include legal compliance, facilitation of supply chain relations, and acting as good corporate citizens; for reasons of financial sustainability and risk management, we also have a penetration rate target that sales to The Body Shop International should not account for more than 30% of the total turnover of a given supplier. Where sales are over 30% The Body Shop would like to see a time bound plan to review and if necessary adjust this rate.
  • The special commitments to Community Trade suppliers are detailed below, along with a list of current Community Trade suppliers and relevant contacts.

Additional commitments to Community Trade supply chain partners

    • Fair Price: The Body Shop International will establish a Fair Price in consultation with  Producers and other Supply Chain Actors and will review that Fair Price periodically. It will ensure that the Fair Price is passed on through the supply chain to Producers.
    • Community projects: Where appropriate The Body Shop International will support community projects through price premiums or in some instances direct investment (Community Funds).
    • Favourable trading terms: Community Trade producer groups will receive favourable terms of trade. Depending on the situation, pre or part payment may be offered or supported through external agency.
    • Targeted supplier support: The Body Shop International aims to understand our Community Trade producer group's supplier's capacity and organisational needs, and provide focused, targeted support or training where possible. This could be direct support from The Body Shop International or through external stakeholders such as local NGOs.
    • Regular visits: Staff from the Body Shop International will visit Community Trade producer groups regularly, at intervals determined by business or producer group need.  At a minimum, these visits will occur once every 4 years. Some suppliers may receive visits more often. The Body Shop will communicate to the producer group outcomes and agreed action points from the visit.
    • Trading commitment: The Body Shop International provides forecasts of its on-going requirements to the Suppliers to enable them and the Producer Groups to make informed decisions about production levels and business planning. We will also determine a Sustainable Business Level (SBL) with Producer Groups that will deliver positive impact.
    • Soft landing exit strategy: In the event that The Body Shop International needs to exit a Community Trade supply chain, we will give at least 12 months' notice of the last order for the product. Where less than 12 months' warning is unavoidable, we will give due consideration to making good the loss of impact / benefit to the Producer Group and its Producers that would otherwise have been derived.

Understanding your role as a supplier

For over 30 years Community Trade has been at the heart of how we operate, and as such we expect our suppliers work with us to continue this. It is not only part of our identity, but is what our customer's value when choosing our products. As a supplier, it is critical that you (as a direct supplier to The Body Shop) understand your role:

  • The Body Shop has committed to use Community Trade ingredients in our products. All newly developed products must contain at least one Community Trade ingredient unless the available ingredients do not work with the formulation or negatively affect product performance. Exclusion of Community Trade needs sign off of The Body Shop's Executive Leadership Team
  • Standard payment terms are not applied to Community Trade; the Sustainable Sourcing team works with the supplier to agree on most appropriate payment terms. We ask our suppliers to adhere to the payment terms negotiated with each Community Trade supplier, and pay the relevant invoices in the time and manner specified. We want to avoid delayed payments to our Community Trade suppliers.  When suppliers fail to adhere to making payments for goods in the time-scale that The Body Shop outlines, it provides a 'knock-on' effect to the payment of our Community Trade workers, who rely upon a regular, predictable income.
  • Community Trade ingredients can only be purchased from the designated supplier, at the price/MOQ/lead time specified by The Body Shop. Your contact in sourcing will provide the 'Price and Priority' list of Community Trade ingredients listing this information, and who to contact for purchases and samples. Under no circumstances must any Community Trade ingredients be purchased from another source. If there are issues with supply you must contact The Body Shop sourcing team immediately.
  • Efficient, regular and accurate forecasting is critical to meet our Community Trade commitments and avoid negative impacts on Community Trade suppliers. When suppliers forecast poorly, it results in Community Trade suppliers having to work overtime to satisfy their needs, conflicting with our Charter objectives to avoid overtime and foster regular employment. Consequently, major highs and lows in demand can make it hard to produce a workload that maintains a regular workforce.

List of Community Trade suppliers and relevant TBS contacts

Material SupplierCountry
Argan OilTarganineMorocco
Banana PureeEl GuaboEcuador
BeeswaxGuide D'EspoirCameroon
Brazil Nut OilCandela PeruPeru
Cactus MittsYa Munts'I B'ehñaMexico
Camomile Water & OilNorfolk Essential OilsEngland
Cocoa BeansKuapa KokooGhana
File a Foot & Detangling CombsTimber ProductionRussia
Handmade paper productsGet Paper Industry (GPI)Nepal
Hemp MittsProkriteeBangladesh
Hemp Seed OilConfidentialFrance
HoneyBeza MarEthiopia
Loofah Scrub MittsFundacion Poligono Industries CopanecoHonduras
Mango Seed OilManoramaIndia
Marula OilEudafano Women's CooperativeNamibia
MoringaAsili Natural OilsRwanda
Natural basketsDhaka HandicraftsBangladesh
Organic AlcoholNativeBrazil
Organic Almond Oil & MilkMananSpain
Organic Aloe VeraMexi AloeMexico
Organic Babassu OilCOPPALJBrazil
Organic Cane SugarMontilloParaguay
Organic Olive OilNuovo Cilento CooperativeItaly
Organic Tea Tree Essential OilKOOFA (Kenya Organic Oil Farmers Association)Kenya
Organic Virgin Coconut OilWIBDI (Women in Business Development Inc)Samoa
Peppermint Essential OilNorfolk Essential OilsEngland
Rose ExtractCastle FarmEngland
Sesame OilJuan Francisco Paz Silva CooperativeNicaragua
Shea ButterTungteiya Women's Shea Butter AssociationGhana
Soapstone Oil BurnersTARA ProjectsIndia
Soya OilGebana (Capanema farmers)Brazil
Wooden Massagers, textile gift bags & cosmetic bagsTeddy ExportsIndia

For further details or any questions on any of the Community Trade materials or supply chains, please contact the following people in The Body Shop Sustainable Sourcing team: