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The Body Shop suppliers left with 'more than $1 million' of ingredients

Sophie Smith
19 February 2024

The Body Shop’s fair trade suppliers, who work with vulnerable people from the Amazon and Africa, say they have been left with more than $1 million worth of beauty ingredients that may never be ordered or paid for.

The British brand, which fell into administration in the UK last week, operates 18 community fair trade partnerships around the world via its own scheme.

Several suppliers told The Guardian that they could be left with hundreds of thousands of dollars of stock if the business goes bankrupt - a figure they said was "very meaningful" to families living on low incomes in remote areas.

The suppliers said they had no written contract with The Body Shop, but had produced an agreed amount of product for the brand for many years.

Most of the fair trade community projects do not directly supply the business but sell the ingredients to intermediaries such as oil refiners or one of the group’s more than 20 cosmetics and beauty product manufacturers.

The producers are concerned that if manufacturers are not paid by administrators, they in turn will not be paid.

The Body Shop

The Body Shop’s UK business continues to trade as usual, and administrators from accounting firm FRP said creditors will be kept informed as the process moves forward.

However, any supplier debts will be lined up behind many other creditors – and orders could shrink if the stores are closed.

Last week, The Body Shop owner Aurelius was reported to be first in line for a payout after putting the UK business into administration, despite previously pledging to "re-energise" the brand with a "strong turnaround strategy".

Aurelius secured a £207 million deal in November 2023 to buy The Body Shop from Brazilian cosmetics giant Natura & Co.

It believed that, despite the challenging retail market, there was an opportunity to improve the business and enable it to take advantage of positive trends in the high-growth beauty market.

However, the brand was placed into administration in the UK last week, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

FRP said it would "consider all options to find a way forward for the business" after years of financial struggles and amid a challenging backdrop for shoppers.

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