Make ethical business the norm, not a luxury

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Simon Barrow, co-director of the Christian think tank Ekklesia, said today that the best way to honour the memory of Anita Roddick - who died on 10 September 2007 - was to take forward the case for corporate responsibility as a human obligation, not a luxury option.

"It is easy to be cynical about 'ethical business' now that it has become mainstream and trendy", he commented. "Of course there is a lot of hot air around it. But developing alternative practices for doing business as if people and the planet matters is a tough call. Roddick recognised that massive injustice in trade, corporate greed and unfair debt often confounded efforts to take the world in a different direction. But she wasn't daunted or deceived. Nor should we be."

Ekklesia has also praised Roddick for bringing people together from different belief and non-belief backgrounds to work for a better world in spite of their differences.

"She didn't feel easy with 'religion' and she was highly critical of a lot of established religious institutions", said Barrow. "But Anita Roddick also saw the value of spiritual development bringing about material change to the way we live and act - and she was surprised and delighted by her experience of the annual Greenbelt festival, commenting that its practical vitality and intellectual energy was far from the stereotypes of Christianity she had often met, and the stuffiness of the church she had personally encountered."

See also - Roddick: Greenbelt challenged my bias against religion.