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Anita Roddick and the Body Shop

13 September 2007

How Anita changed the world

Her pioneering spirit touched lives the world over -- and changed the way we do business for ever. Michael McCarthy bids farewell to Anita Roddick, an ethical revolutionary.

September 10, 2007

LONDON (AP) -- Anita Roddick, founder of the international Body Shop cosmetics chain, died Monday night after suffering a major brain hemorrhage, her family said. She was 64.

Roddick, who died at a hospital in Chichester, had revealed in February that she contracted hepatitis C through a blood transfusion while giving birth to a daughter in 1971. She made the announcement after being named head of the British charity Hepatitis C Trust.

The business woman was lauded as the "Queen of Green" for trailblazing business practices that sought to be environmentally friendly and won her renown in her native England and around the world.

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Far from selling out, Anita Roddick has used The Body Shop's buyout by L'Oreal to teach the French giant about community trade, discovers Emma Thelwell

"I was able to go into this huge organisation like a Trojan horse." For Dame Anita Roddick, selling The Body Shop last year for 652m-pounds was a chance to infiltrate the French cosmetic giant L'Oreal, a company that tests on animals.

Animal rights campaigners were horrified, accusing Roddick of "selling-out" as she picked up a cool 118m-pounds for her stake and handed The Body Shop over to the enemy.

But they should have given her more credit. The move was just the latest battle in Roddick's war, and today she's "absolutely bloody thrilled with it".

"People were measuring me as the founder of The Body Shop, but I'm an activist," she explains. Certainly, Roddick oozes activism. She sits right on the edge of her seat as we talk, leaning in to conspire, pushing her unruly hair from her face. A youthful 65, she is as forthright as her reputation suggests, and yet a surprisingly petite 5ft 2in.

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