The Body Shop India and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) have collaborated in constructing public sanitation facilities at the Asanang Health Centre in West Garo Hills, Meghalaya. This, they say, has been done also as their way of recognising the efforts of the Garo Community who have been at the forefront of conservation in the region.

The lack of access to good healthcare and sanitation facilities in the remote villages of Garo Hills had been a major concern for years. The few healthcare centres that were functional were not well equipped. To address this gap, the Body Shop India and WTI decided to upgrade the Siju and Baghmara (in South Garo Hills) health centres with modern healthcare equipment.

The Body Shop and WTI are collaborating to help re-wild endangered habitats in Garo Hills, Meghalaya, while empowering communities and protecting endangered elephant population by building a natural corridor for free passage. This 12-month activation of social commitment was initiated by the company in August 2018. During this period, customers of the Body Shop were made aware of this cause and were allowed to contribute towards it.

WTI, in partnership with the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council and State Forest Department and with support from World Land Trust (WLT), has been working with local communities to conserve and restore the Green Spine with a community-based conservation model to secure the rich biodiversity, wherein the community sets aside their village land voluntarily as Village Reserve Forest (VRF), through easements or bilateral-sharing models. The local communities are taking ownership of the conservation efforts and together with the local government, have secured more than 2,800 hectares of forest as 17 VRFs. With support from the Body Shop India and WLT, the aim is to secure approximately 4,500 hectares of canopies, corridors and catchments of Garo Green Spine to conserve and protect elephants, gibbons, chocolate mahseer, and other key wildlife indicators by 2025.

Although the PR spokesperson representing the company responded to our email, we did not receive the replies to our questions on the rationale behind choosing this specific project, funding details, and future plans.

In a press release shared with CB, Shriti Malhotra, CEO, The Body Shop India, said, ‘We carry forward our founder Anita Roddick’s legacy of giving back to society, especially to the local environment and communities. In this area, unlike any other part of the country, the forest is owned by the communities and the onus of preserving it and using the resources well lies with the communities.’