It has been a decade since the dynamic entrepreneur Anita Roddick’s passing, and for those of you who are not familiar with her, she was an extremely genuine, humble, philanthropic, strong, and successful businesswoman who built The Body Shop empire. She was that entrepreneurial and competent and still found the time and will to raise awareness for human and animal rights, environmental protection, and fair-trade practices. She truly encompasses what living a life of value is all about; working hard, giving back, and finding purpose in her life and career to make the world a better place for everyone. Here are some facts about the wonderful woman as well as a couple dozen quotes about business. Let us learn what she thought and felt, that we may profit from her wisdom.
While alive, English entrepreneur Anita Roddick was praised for her work and her tireless efforts on behalf of various environmental and social causes and for influencing the debate by calling out big corporate giants like Shell to take responsibility for some of their shady business practices. She was a businesswoman with a conscience. She exemplified enlightened activism. She left behind many pithy quotes about business and bit of wisdom based on her experiences, and her heart.
This is particularly important because in our ever-changing world, businesses should only be successful if those who are running the show are true to values which are beyond profit: community betterment, environmental stewardship, and equal pay for equal work (not to mention the cessation of a corporate culture which takes advantage of women).
These prosocial and socially-responsible values go way beyond next fiscal quarter’s profits and massive CEO pay. The good of the whole will be considered, not just that of the shareholders’ return on investment. There is a difference between “money values” and “life values,” and we have had decades of relatively unregulated, quasi-free-market capitalism and the results are mixed at best. Many have suffered and numerous people have died. Have improvements in working conditions and class relations improved since the time of Karl Marx and the grotesque factories of Manchester and Leeds? Yes. Are we reaching our aspirations? No.
Corporate social responsibility and citizenship include having employees’, customers’, and the public’s best interests at heart; providing quality goods and services that help, not hinder; and certainly not storing profits offshore to avoid taxation. In fact, the average capitalist probably pays about 10-19% in taxes, on average, and corporations only account for 8% of the total revenue that America relies on for needed services, programs, and infrastructure. This – in a time of unparalleled economic expansion and largesse! We can use insightful quotes about business to help us move ethically and ensure corporations are doing their part, as well.
Indeed, Anita Roddick truly embodied the values of the wise, both as a person and in her business. So, without further ado, here are some insightful and trenchant quotes about business by the inimitable Anita Roddick that reflect her thinking and integrity. Enjoy!
“I constantly question myself: How can I bring values into an industry that is certainly not values-laden?”
“If you think you’re too small to make a difference, you’ve never been in bed with a mosquito.”
“I’ve lived my life, honest to God, like I not only don’t deserve to have it, but petrified at the thought of how finite it is.”
“If business comes with no moral sympathy, no honorable code of behavior, God help us all.”
“My mother’s bottom line was truth to her values. It meant bringing your heart and your humanity to work. I learned at an early age that these are as essential for business as they are for life.”
“A new world order that places money above all else is ignoring one vital point – that people matter.”
“JC Penny, Victoria’s Secret, IBM, Toys R Us, and TWA are among the U.S. corporations that have profited by employing prisoners. Put together for long mandatory sentences for minor drug offenses, a strong racial bias, prisons run by corporations for profit, the sale of convict labor to corporations, and a charge for prison room and board and you have a modern system of bonded labor – a social condition otherwise known as slavery.”
“If we develop a moral sensitivity that consists of care rather than coercion, maybe the practices that have led to economies that use millions of child laborers, armies that turn kids into killers, and a society in which child prostitution is one of the fastest growing industries, will end.”
“I found that once you had changed the language of business from one which is purely economic to one of reflection and care and a dedication to social justice, people felt they could bring their heart to the workplace.”
“Sure, it is possible to argue for a world trade system that puts basic human rights and the environment at its core. It’s possible but it’s damned hard when you have the most powerful corporations in the world raging against you.”
“A lot of companies say they are fair to their workers, but in fact turn a blind eye to bad working conditions, child labor, and starvation wages. Don’t believe the PR. Check how companies are really behaving.”
You are reading quotes about business from Anita Roddick on https://www.valuesofthewise.com
“Kindness [has the] power to create change, to make things happen. And in a period of human history in which we are obsessed with change – personal or political – and are unsure whether it is possible at all, kindness could be our salvation.”
“I found that if business is managed from the heart, great things can and will happen. All that is stopping us is our imagination.”
“I have devoted most of my working life to finding new ways of doing business, and the last ten years at least looking for ways for business to take a lead in making the world a better place.”
“Companies must show more developed emotion than fear and greed.”
“If we develop a moral sensibility of caring rather than coercion then maybe we can stop the practices that have led to millions of child labourers, that allow armies to turn kids into killers, and that have created the fast-growing industry of child prostitution.”
“With democracy in decline, activism has become the new means of political expression in the 21st century.”
“What exactly is progress? It can’t possibly mean the same thing for each person on the face of the planet, and yet we insist on imposing a generic version of the concept in the most unsuitable circumstances – which suggests that our faith in “progress” is at best misplaced, at worst, blind.”
“Let’s stop teaching children to fear change and protect the status quo. Let’s teach them to inquire and debate. To ask questions until they hear answers. And the way to do that is to change the way of traditional schooling.”
“Bullies use the word patriotism to shoot down virtually all criticism of the current conservative geopolitical agenda, sort of a missile-defense system against original thought, open debate, and the free exchange of ideas. And to my mind, this abuse of language is an affront to any real patriot, who knows that public discussion and informed debate is at the root of what once made America (and to a certain extent Britain, too) great. It is the dissenters who are the true patriots.”
If you are interested in other business quotes in addition to these incisive and heartfelt Anita Roddick ones, you are invited to visit https://www.valuesofthewise.com/wisdom-archive/ and search for quotations about corporate social responsibility, prosocial values, and values such as honor, integrity, morality, justice, and progressivism.
Keywords: quotes about business, Anita Roddick quotes, corporate social responsibility, prosocial values
Co-written by Ganae Vigil.