Trade

Unilever opens a can of worms on corporate human rights reporting

Duncan Green - August 12, 2015

This guest post comes from Rachel Wilshaw, Oxfam’s Ethical Trade Manager Hundreds of millions of people suffer from discrimination in the world of work. 1.3 billion people live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1.25 a day. 34 nations present an ‘extreme’ risk of human rights violations. Nearly 21 million people are victims of forced labour. It’s an unusual opening statement for a corporate …

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How does Change Happen in global commodities markets? The case of Palm Oil

Duncan Green - August 4, 2015

This week’s Economist had an interesting discussion of the change process in the global palm oil industry. I assume all its claims are highly contested, but still, allow me to walk you through it and what it says about how change happens in one bit of the private sector. The basics: a boom industry with a dire track record of deforestation, labour rights abuses on the …

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Impact investing: hype v substance, the importance of ownership and the role of aid

Duncan Green - July 2, 2015

Oxfam’s Erinch Sahan tries to disentangle hype from substance and makes a pitch for a new approach to impact investing. Impact investment is the next black. It’s already worth about $46 billion, and rapidly growing. In 2010, when it was a mere $4 billion, JP Morgan predicted it would be between $400 billion to $1 trillion within a decade. Forbes has declared impact investing is …

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Have technology and globalization kicked away the ladder of ‘easy’ development? Dani Rodrik thinks so

Duncan Green - June 26, 2015

Dani Rodrik was in town his week, and I attended a brilliant presentation at ODI. Very exciting. He’s been one of my heroes ever since I joined the aid and development crowd in the late 90s, when he was one of the few high profile economists to be arguing against the liberalizing market-good/state-bad tide on trade, investment and just about everything else. Dani doggedly and …

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Four roles for the Multilateral System – how well will it perform any of them?

Duncan Green - March 20, 2015

Along with a bunch of Oxfam’s specialist policy wonks, I recently helped Francoise Vanni, our new Director of Policy and Campaigns, put together a presentation on the multilateral system. Writing a new powerpoint is also a pretty good way to generate a blog post – key messages, simply transmitted (assuming you obey the ‘less than 20 words per slide’ rule, and avoid sticking up vast …

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What do we know about the politics of reducing inequality? Not much – it’s time to find out

Duncan Green - February 13, 2015

Spent a fun day at the Developmental Leadership Program annual conference in Birmingham yesterday. I was on a panel pitching an idea for a research programme that has got me very excited (along with David Hudson and Niheer Dasandi from University College London). Here’s my pitch. One of my formative influences as a policy wonk was watching the impact of Ha-Joon Chang’s great book Kicking …

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What should Europe do about Illicit Financial Flows? Five take-aways from the African Union’s High-Level report

Duncan Green - February 6, 2015

This post by tax campaigner Christian Hallum (@ChrHallum) also appeared on the Eurodad blog.  Last Saturday a landmark decision was taken when the African Union, made up of 54 African Heads of State, adopted the report of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows (IFF). This report documents the scale and impact of IFF from the continent and gives a range of policy recommendations. Our …

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New research: A wage revolution could end extreme poverty in Asia, with massive knock-on effects in Africa

Duncan Green - October 8, 2014

Spoke last week as a ‘discussant’ (my favourite speaking role, no prep required) at the launch of an extraordinary new ODI paper, with the deeply forgettable title ‘rural wages in Asia’ (we’ll come back to the title later). In one of those papers that restores your faith in economists, Steve Wiggins and Sharada Keats crunch the available data on 13 large Asian countries and find …

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Why I love the UN, aka the battle between policy space and trade/investment agreements

Duncan Green - September 30, 2014

Being a fan of the UN is always a bit of a mixed blessing. Various bits (UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women and many more) churn out some really useful research. For many years, they provided the sole islands of sanity resisting the market fundamentalism of the Washington Consensus. But all too often their publications sink without trace, their use of social media is often lamentable, and …

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Not so mega? The risky business of large-scale public-private partnerships in African agriculture

Duncan Green - September 16, 2014

Oxfam policy adviser Robin Willoughby shrugs off the big ag groupthink and argues that the current trend of mega projects in African agriculture is a risky and unproven way to help poor farmers. Last week, I attended a large summit on the future of African agriculture in Addis Ababa, hosted by A Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA). My participation really made me reflect on the …

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