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Shell two-faced on ethical trading

While pretending to be at the forefront of ethical trading, trumpeting claimed business principles, including honesty, integrity, and transparency, Shell was responsible for a grubby spying and intelligence gathering campaign targeting Anita Roddick and her company.  

By John Donovan

Yesterday, The Sunday Times contained an eight page independent feature – FUTURE OF RETAIL. The first page focussed on ethical trading under the headline: “Ethical commerce is in demand and on the rise” with a sub-headline: “Business should be ethical to do the right thing and not just because it may make money”. Authored by Ian Burrell, the article commences and concludes with paragraphs devoted to the famed ethical entrepreneur Dame Anita Roddick, the founder of The Body Shop.

Extracts

It is a decade since the death of the great ethical retailer Anita Roddick and we can only try to imagine what she might have achieved in a world where some 2.5 billion people are active on social media.

The Body Shop was sold to L’Oréal in 2006, the same month that Twitter was founded, and Ms Roddick died the next year. But the radical stance she took in 1985 is now embedded in modern retail, propelled and underpinned by an online community that is as global as she was.

“Oil spills, child labour, pollution, global warming, unsustainable farming… throw in global distrust of financial institutions and big corporations, and you have a serious set of issues that commerce needs to address,”

While pretending to be at the forefront of ethical trading, trumpeting claimed business principles, including honesty, integrity, and transparency, Shell was responsible for a grubby spying and intelligence gathering campaign targeting Anita Roddick and her company.

The Body Shop was the subject of misrepresentation and lies by German-born Manfred Schlickenrieder a then serving secret service agent freelancing for Hakluyt & Company, a private spy firm with titled Shell directors at the helm. The firm was set up by former senior MI6 officers. Shell directors were major shareholders in Hakluyt.

The following extracts are all from a front page article published by The Sunday Times on 17 June 2001 under the headline:  MI6 ‘Firm’ Spied on Green Groups

The firm’s agent… tried to dupe Anita Roddick’s Body Shop group to pass on information about its opposition to Shell drilling for oil in a Nigerian tribal land.

Commercial target: Anita Roddick’s Body Shop campaigns were monitored carefully.

Schlickenrieder sent a letter to a Body Shop executive saying he had been researching the activities of Shell in Nigeria, and asked about plans for further activities.

As the London Evening Standard reported in 2010: Hakluyt is notorious for spying on environmental campaigners for oil giants including Shell 

How could a multinational company with a royal prefix be so two-faced?

PDF of full article

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