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The Body Shop formed a foundation in 1999 1. It’s aim was to fun Human Rights initiatives and those geared towards curbing child Labor. This is in line with the two Global Compact principles; protection of Human Rights and fighting corruption, which The Body Shop takes seriously.
The Body Shop has taken the initiative to assist people whose Human Rights have been violated. In 1993, it assisted the Ogoni people of Nigeria through public relations and advertising campaigns. The campaigns ran for three years. The Ogoni people are an indigenous group of people along the Niger Delta region of southeast Nigeria. The initiative was aimed at supporting a network of Ogoni’s indigenous people, their quest for a green environment, freedom of speech and expression of their rights. The Ogoni people living in the Niger delta also had campaigns raising awareness on increased cases of child labor resulting from corrupt leadership. This was facilitated by military dictatorship and the oil firms such as Shell. Shell explored the major oil deposits in Nigeria without prior regards to work ethics and proper environmental use. By so doing, Shell would disregard the impact of gas flaring that ended up destroying the Ogonis’ land. The company opted for malpractice by bribing the military who instead of protecting what was legitimately Ogonis’, they instead compromised and left the people at the risk of gas dumping.
In the early 1990s, the Ogonis opted to peaceful protests as the only way of defending what was theirs2. This move drew the attention of the international community and majority of institutions fighting for human rights. Shell’s mischief was in the limelight and hence didn’t auger well with their malpractices. In retaliation, Shell decided to use the Military for cover-up through bribery and unjust detentions of the Ogoni people. Some were executed and some maimed. The Body Shop pursued the matter in court which eventually exposed the dubious activities of the oil company and the government military. The Body Shop pursued the matter in favor of the Ogonis and got a compensation of US$15.5millions for the families of those killed and maimed3. To date The Body Shop can brag for a successful intervention in the case by fighting corrupt practices, bribery and environmental degradation in that specific case.
When it comes to matters of human rights, they should be respected irrespective of age. Whether it is an adult or a child, everyone deserves respect and is entitled to their human rights. Since children lack enough knowledge of their rights due to age and experience, governments and children organizations are obliged to observe the rights of children by entrenching proper legislation and practices. Child labor is sited in developing countries like India, Indonesia, Africa and South America 4.Children instead of attending school are lured with money and goodies to work in farms.
In the rich cocoa producing West African countries, organized criminal networks traffic children easily. This was common across regions and international borders, especially in cocoa farms. Sadly, children as young as six are being forced to work 80-100 hours a week, enduring abuses, beatings and malnutrition. Once a child is exposed to such exploitative activities, they lag behind in development and moral conduct5. A minimum age is required to distinguish between child labor and normal chores at home. Extreme cases such as child prostitution and trafficking are still rampant in developing nations. In order to combat this menace, governments have offered free education to every child, hence making it mandatory for every child to be in school during school terms. In the academic curricula, teachers should include tutorials on child labor amongst other child abuses. This ensures that the pupils and students learn and grow knowing the impacts of such activities and to decline when tempted to indulge into them. Among the positive lessons learnt from these business practices and approaches are high-production results. This is evident when employees are provided with better working terms and conditions.
Human rights violation ails any society engaged in such activities and hence weakens the growth of any nation. Forces joined together with a positive common agenda will prevail and help societies grow.
Child labor is primitive and exploitative causing poor development of a child which ultimately negatively impacts any society and eventually a government6. Development of business practice recommendations is important and they improve compliance to the two Global Compact principles. Exploiting possible avenues to generate revenue and income using humane ways is an important concern for many nations today7. Where human rights have been violated by organized groups or companies, advocating for justice against such practices is one of our missions. The Ogoni people’s case is one god example of a success story and the power of coming together to fight such violations. By ensuring that workers rights and better working conditions are put in place, excellent working atmosphere for both adults and children are created.
Giving back to needful society has enabled The Body Shop to stand out in a unique manner. It has often donated a part of their profits to charitable projects such as orphanages and organizations facing HIV and AIDS. As discussed, there are many benefits if such recommendations are implemented. There will be more equity between employers, employees and government organizations. Since The Body Shop does not support Trade Unions, its terms and conditions of labor force are observed in the recommendations8. As an advocate of human rights and environmental issues, The Body Shop has ensured that they put in place excellent working conditions for its employees without having to be followed by labor unions. The Body Shop hopes to continually implement other stipulated principles, rise to world class standards and stand out in fighting issues related to corruption and human rights.
Addo, Michael. The Body Shop. NewYork: Kluwer Law International, 1999.
Dectchkut, Leornard and Reitzy McAdam. “Corporate social responsibility.” Quality Progress 36 (2003): 10-89.
Globber, Michael. The children Rights: A study to their plight. NewYork: Penguin, 2004.
Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York: Penguin, 2006.
Theodore, George. The Body Shop Foundation. NewYork: Penguin, 2000.
The Body Shop. The body shop, 2010. Web.
United Nations. Global principles, n.d. Web.
United Nations Global Compact. Business ethics and corporate responsibility, 2010. Web.
- Globber Michael, The children Rights, A study to their plight (NewYork:Penguin, 2004), 65.
- George Theodore, The Body Shop Foundation (NewYork: Penguin, 2000), 34.
- The Body Shop, The body shop, 2010. Web.
- Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (New York: Penguin, 2006), 99.
- Michael Addo, The Body Shop ( NewYork: Kluwer Law International, 1999), 57.
- Leornard Dectchkut and Reitzy McAdam, “Corporate social responsibility.” Quality Progress 36 (2003): 10-89.
- United Nations, Global principles, nd. Web.
- United Nations Global Compact, Business ethics and corporate responsibility, 2010. Web.
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