Body Shop no longer owned by L’Oreal as Natura deal rubber stamped

The acquisition of The Body Shop by Natura Brasil is complete – after the competition watchdogs rubber stamped the transaction.

While neither party has confirmed the value of the deal, it has been reported to be around the £880 million mark.

Natura co-chairman, Guilherme Leal, said: “We are thrilled to welcome The Body Shop to the Natura group.

“This alliance creates a combination of companies that share a common purpose that goes way beyond usual businesses.

“A new force for good is taking shape.”

Natura is Brazil’s largest cosmetics company – its portfolio of brands includes Natura and Aesop.

Its acquisition of The Body Shop means it will trade in 3,200 stores in nearly 70 markets, with a staff headcount of around 18,000. TBS currently has around 3,000 outlets in 66 countries – including around 130 in Brazil.

The big question for many consumers will centre around issues of animal testing.

The Body Shop is currently certified by Cruelty Free International.

Despite this, the sale of The Body Shop to L’Oreal in 2006 made a number of consumers choose to avoid the brand because L’Oreal is so prolific when it comes to testing both finished products and ingredients.

Is this still the case with new parent Natura?

The company is registered as a ‘B-corp’. According to the Community of Certified B Corporations: “B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk.

“B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.”

In real terms, this has translated into a number of ethical and sustainability measures. Natura uses renewable energy that is generated onsite, for example, and uses environmentally-friendly packaging for its products.

In terms of animal testing, Marcos Vaz, director of technical services at Natura Brasil, says: “In 2001, Natura Brasil decided to end its use of animal testing. Major investment in education, training and the search for new alternative technologies enabled us to replace animal testing with in vitro procedures.

“We eliminated animal testing for all our finished products used by the consumer and also for our raw materials and active ingredients.”

When it was announced in June that L’Oreal had entered into sales talks with Natura, Jeremy Schwartz – chairman and chief executive of the Body Shop – claimed the ‘ethical values and expertise of Natura’ made it the ‘perfect new owner’.

The chain has struggled in the last 10 years – something commentators have put down to increasing competition from the likes of Lush and Neal’s Yard, in combination with the brands uneasy association with The Body Shop.

Can this new parent company bring back the ethical shoppers who left during the L’Oreal era?

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