Body Shop Founder Anita Roddick: The Woman Who Donated Her £51 Million Fortune To Charity

You might not be familiar with the name Anita Roddick, but you should be. As founder of The Body Shop, business woman, award winner, environmental campaigner, human and animal rights activist, author, wife and mother, the life of Anita Roddick is one to be in awe of, so read on to be inspired by Anita’s legacy and the amazing life she led!

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Inspired by her environmental interests, Anita founded The Body Shop, a cosmetic company for natural products, in 1976, when she opened her first store. The Body Shop was one of the first to prohibit product testing on animals and to promote fair trade with third world countries. Her first store was opened to provide an income for herself and her two daughters and six months later, a second store was opened. By 1991, The Body Shop already had 700 stores and was soaring. Today, The Body Shop is part owned by L’oreal and has over 3000 stores across more than 60 countries, generating millions in sales each year.

Anita Roddick had a long history of using her success to help others and her campaigns for environmental issues inspired her to create Children on the Edge in 1990, an organisation to help disadvantaged children affected by conflicts, natural disasters, disabilities and HIV/AIDS.

The Anita Roddick Foundation has given four grants totalling £120,000 to Cageprisoners, a human rights group with the aim of to “raise awareness to the plight of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other detainees held as part of the War on Terror” over the years.

Anita also wrote a book titled Take It Personally, which promotes equality and seeks an end to the exploitation of workers and children in third world countries.  As if her activism work was not astounding enough, Anita donated a large portion of money which helped the Littlehampton Community School become a Business and Enterprise specialist school in 2003. ‘The Roddick Enterprise Centre’ was a new building created for the school, as a result of the donation.

Anita’s work earned her a spectacular amount of awards over the years and impressive ones at that. She won awards in business, environment, leadership, achievement and a number of honorary doctorates from various universities; it’s clear that many people across the world felt that Anita deserved celebrating.

Most incredible of all was that before her death in 2007, Anita Roddick donated her £51 million fortune to charity.  She once described leaving money to your family as “obscene” and had said instead that she wanted her money to go towards curing the Third World and funding green issues. Anita’s story is one of the most inspiring to date; not only did she start a company which is now a worldwide brand from scratch, she won awards doing so and in the end, donated her profits to making the world a better place.

By Chloe Kenyon

Photo: Weheartit

  • Puja

    She is pretty awesome! I just did a bit of background info about her too, and she has done incredible work! It’s a shame she passed at quite a young age of 64 – yet she’s given a lot to the world. Not to mention, the incredible smelling products that we know and love!
    xoxo, | Beauty & Lifestyle Blog 
    also on BLOGLOVIN 

  • Cheryl

    I LOVE the back story of The Bodyshop, from such humble roots AND the reason for the name is pretty funny! Sounds much more glamourous now!

  • Molly Yalden

    This was a really intresting post. I never new the background behind The body shop. Loved this post:)

  • Besma

    I knew Anita Roddick founded The Body Shop, but I didn’t realise how much of a legacy she left behind her! What a wonderful woman. It’s nice to see that she stayed true to her activist roots, even if The Body Shop was sold on to L’Oreal, who test on animals. Cruelty-free beauty is definitely the way forward.

    Besma (Curiously Conscious)

  • Nena

    My sister works for them and she LOVES it.

  • Chloe Kenyon

    Thanks for all your comments everyone!
    I’m glad you enjoyed the post.