The Body Shop is launching a fresh ethics push after its boss pledged the retailer would become the world’s most sustainable business.

Chairman and chief executive Jeremy Schwartz made the promise through a series of commitments under the “Enrich Not Exploit” banner.

Ten years after founder Anita Roddick solder the chain to French cosmetics giant L’Oreal, Schwartz said The Body Shop would make its plastic packaging through methods that use greenhouse gases, rather than oil.

Schwartz also wants to double trade with smaller communities and replant 800 sq ft of forests as part of his mission to “grow faster and to make more money but also to do good.”

Tough trading

His pledge came as The Body Shop posted a 5.8% drop in like-for-like sales during the fourth quarter of the 2015 calendar year. The retailer’s recorded total sales of €342.9m (£267.15m) during the period.

Like-for-likes slipped 0.9% across the full year, as total sales hit €967.2m (£753.5m). It recorded an operating profit of €54.8m (£42.7m) for the year ending December 31.

Owner L’Oreal hailed The Body Shop’s “good momentum” in Africa, Middle East and in Europe, particularly in the UK, as the retailer’s strategy of focusing on skincare paid off “in all markets”.

However, L’Oreal said The Body Shop, which has 3,000 stores across 65 countries, was hit by a “challenging environment” in Asian markets including Hong Kong. Sales in the year-end holidays in North America were also “below expectation”.