The Body Shop was formed in 1976 by entrepreneur Anita Roddick. From its humble beginnings retailing home made, naturally-inspired products from a small shop in Brighton, the company became a global leader with over 1700 outlets in 47 countries worldwide.
Environmental issues also had a major impact on the types of packaging used in both the retail marketing and distribution of Body Shop products and typifying its commitment to using environmentally-friendly yet cost-effective solutions, in 1991 The Body Shop specified more than 3,500 new Industrial Bulk Containers (IBCs) from Crocodile Packaging to ship its products around the world.
Manufactured from robust plywood, the IBCs supplied by Crocodile offered a volume capacity of 1000 litres. The units ensured the safe and efficient export of bulk product from the UK to countries as far afield as Australia, Japan, South America and the USA. Once unpacked at the destination, the containers were easily collapsed and returned to the UK in flatpack form. The collapsible, compact design of the units reduced storage and transport requirements to ensure cost effective return logistics. In fact, the closed loop system meant that each reusable IBC achieved cost return within three trips. With some of the units having been used many hundreds of times over more than ten years, the Crocodile IBCs provided considerable cost savings.
In 1998, The Body Shop split its retail and manufacturing operations and appointed specialist company, COSI Limited, to oversee production of raw material. Despite such operational changes, The Body Shop continued to maximise its original market appeal by selling a wide range of popular hair and body care products, quality cosmetics and aromatherapy goods which were produced and tested without harming animals or the environment.
To offer continuing support of its aim of minimising wastage, COSI ordered further units in 1998 to complement and replace some of the 3500 reusable Crocodile IBC’s.
The IBC units had been specially customised by Crocodile to suit the exact requirements of The Body Shop and the COSI production and handling operations. The internal and external dimensions were designed to match the automatic loading machinery whilst inspection hatches were also been incorporated into the lids of the containers to facilitate easy access for product testing and quality inspection procedures.
Commenting on the specification of the Crocodile IBC units, Rupert Hatch, operations manager of COSI Limited at the time, said:
“When it was time to update some of our more well-used containers, we had no hesitation in ordering more of the same. We had previously relied on rented containers, which proved to be expensive and difficult to manage. However, reusable IBCs from Crocodile solved all our problems without compromising our commitment to environmental issues. Crocodile provided us with robust containers that are easily assembled and collapsed for cost-effective reuse, while also offering outstanding longevity and reliability. Even the plywood used in the manufacture of the boxes comes from a fully sustainable source, making them the perfect choice for transporting Body Shop products.”