The Body Shop is going back to its more environmentally conscious roots with a central London concept store trialling a refill station, as well as a zone where shoppers are encouraged to become part of a collective of local campaigners.
Such a move echoes the ethos of the chain’s late founder, Anita Roddick, who was an environmental and human rights campaigner.
The refilling station will initially be just for shower gels. This service was available in the 90s but was eventually scrapped after customers reportedly failed to understand the concept.
Linda Campbell, Managing Director of The Body Shop said the brand was hoping to revive the spirit of its late founder through environmental and community minded initiatives. Ms Roddick, who died in 2007, was focused on doing business in an ethical way, and sourcing natural and fair materials for the brand’s products.
Ms Campbell said: “We are reviving the idea of empowerment of girls and women, which is core to our business,” she said. “We will be encouraging shoppers to come up with ideas for how they can help their local communities.”
The Guardian reports that the store will also include a water station for customers to refill their bottles, further encouraging shoppers away from single-use plastic. The new concept store's grand opening will take place this Saturday, 21st September.
Materials found for the concept store are reportedly upcycled, with some till points rescued from a landfill and stools made of reclaimed steel and recycled wood.
The Body Shop has committed itself to phasing out wet wipes from all of its stores. In addition to blocking drainage systems, most wet wipes are not biodegradable and can wreak havoc on marine life.
Shoppers will have the option of returning packaging by bringing bottles and containers from any brand. The Body Shop will be offering a £5 voucher for every five returned, as an incentive.
Should the concept store succeed, it is being envisioned that more will be rolled out in Europe and North America.
The Body Shop was founded in 1976, with its first store opening in Brighton where 25 products were sold. Ms Roddick is said to have encouraged the recycling of packaging – in part because she initially did not have enough bottles. A focus was placed on natural ingredients that are sourced ethically.
The brand currently boasts some 800 products with around 3,000 stores in more than 60 countries.