How much can you believe?
Today, beauty companies seem tobe promising to preserve the envirorıment, protect animals, save the rain forest.
Don ’t always take them too literally On INMKIS Petroleum free hen you shop for beauty prod ucts these days. you may feel like you’re embarking on a philanthropîc ınission. Labels decorated with trees. lists of natura! botanical ingredients aııd the phrase “110 animal testing’ could almost convince you that you’re doing something magnanimous by buying a bottle of botanical hair conditioner or aloe moisturizing gel.
These images and phrases touting social responsibilily are selling products. The most obvious example of green success. The Body Shop. has grown from just one store in 1976 to more than 1,210 stores worldwide with annual sales of more than S700 miliion. Its most direct competilorBath & Body Works. a division of The Limitedhas opened more than 325 stores in the United States since 1990. The question: Are ali feel good. eco conscious companies as green as they seem?
Maybe not. The Body Shopthe company that says ~we trv to be the most honest cosmetics company in the vorld”came under scrutiny last year when an artide appearing in Business Ethics questioned the companv’s claitns of commitment to social issues like using ııal mal materials and not testing on animals. The Body Shop responded with a “Memoran dum of Response to the Allegations of Jon Entine the author” that refuted the claims and dismissed the article as a biased and unsubstantiated attack.
This exchange prompted wide discussion about the entire eco industry. Meanwhile government agencies (like the Federal Tıade Commission and Environmental Protection Agency) and consumer watchdog groups (like the National Consumers Ieague) as well as socially responsible investment firms had been taking a closer look at the green market.
The general consensus: Widely used eco buzzwords and socially responsible la bels ofteıı give the impression that a com pany is greener than it really is. Says Joan Bavaria, president of Franklin Research & Development, a socially responsible Boston investment firm. fft is too easy to create imagesthrough packaging and displaysthat lead consumers to develop infiated expectations of a company s environmental or charitable performance.”