Topic: Trade

Fairtrade: celebrating the first 20 years. What’s next?

Rachel Wilshaw, Oxfam’s Ethical Trade Manager looks back on the astonishing 20 year rise of Fairtrade. The Fairtrade Foundation launched its first products – coffee, chocolate and tea – 20 years ago. As one of the Oxfam types who sat around in the late 80s debating whether UK supermarkets would ever stock ‘alternative trade’ products, this […]

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What Makes Big Corporations Decide to Get on the Right Side of History?

For the past year, Oxfam’s Erinch Sahan (right) has been working on the ‘Behind the Brands’ campaign. Here he reflects on some successes and lessons from his time in the advocacy trenches. On 19 May 1997, the CEO of BP, John Browne, made a speech at Stanford University. Browne: “We must now focus on what can […]

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Government to Government trade – a new development issue, but is it threat or opportunity?

I have a love-hate relationship with The Economist – hate its lazy, evidence-free, anti-state, privatizing ‘priors’, but love the range of thought-provoking new angles, and its coverage of development. In general, the further it gets from economics, the more I like it. Usually I just tweet links to the good stuff, but last week’s piece […]

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Obesity, Diabetes, Cancer: welcome to a new generation of ‘development issues’

I failed miserably to stop myself browsing my various feeds over the Christmas break (New Year’s resolution: ‘browse less, produce more’ – destined for failure). One theme that emerged was the rise of the ‘North in the South’ on health – what I call Cinderella Issues. Things like road traffic accidents, the illegal drug trade, […]

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DfID gets a red light on aid for trade: how will it respond?

Oxfam aid wonk Nicola McIvor explores a highly critical report on one of DfID’s flagship programmes The problem with being committed to independent evaluation and transparency is that you risk being beaten up in public when things go wrong. Oxfam is accustomed to having our own evaluations quoted against us, which is exactly what happened […]

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Poor countries are losing $1 trillion a year to illicit capital flows – 7 times the volume of aid

I was surprised not to see more coverage of last week’s hard-hitting report from the Global Financial Integrity watchdog. Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2002-2011 has a whole bunch of killer facts about the escalating haemorrhage of wealth from poor countries. Here are some highlights. My additions in square brackets/italics: “We estimate that illicit […]

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Big food companies are moving from charity to rights. With one exception – Associated British Foods

Erinch Sahan (right), a private sector policy advisor at Oxfam GB, brings us up to date with the Behind the Brands campaign, and one particularly recalcitrant company. This is a story of a campaign on Big Food. A campaign successful in moving a bunch of companies, but struggling with one in particular. It is a […]

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The living wage campaign: are we reaching a tipping point in global supply chains?

It’s private sector week here on FP2P. First up, NGOs have been pushing the living wage in their engagement with international companies for at least 15 years, but Rachel Wilshaw, Oxfam’s Ethical Trade Manager reckons we might be on the verge of some kind of victory. The issue of a living wage is going up […]

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What does ‘big business’ say about Africa when it’s off the record?

I get a lot of random invitations along the lines of ‘come and be a token esteemed NGO rep at our next gabfest’, and accept a few of the more promising ones. So this week I ended up at a conversation on ‘Africa’s Reformers’ hosted by the Africa Governance Initiative and the FT’s This is […]

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Are wages the fly in the Fairtrade ointment?

Next year will be the 20th anniversary of the Fairtrade Foundation, (Oxfam was one of its founders) and there will be lots of well-merited celebrations. The growth of fair-trade has been phenomenal. In the UK total sales of Fairtrade products have soared from £63m in 2002, to £1530m last year, growing at double digit rates […]

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Why is the EU threatening to cut investment in South Africa?

Bilateral Investment Treaties are one of those nerdy ‘important but dull’ bits of international governance that too often get ignored by NGOs and others. So thanks to Liz May at Traidcraft for drawing my attention to this week’s punch-up between South Africa and the EU. First the fisticuffs. According to South Africa’s equivalent of the […]

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What do African civil society organizations think of the rise of China and South-South cooperation?

The Belgian NGO coalition 11.11.11 has published an interesting paper summarizing the views of 58 African civil society organizations in 11 different countries on ‘South South Cooperation’ (SSC) – mainly China’s growing role in Africa (see Economist stats, right – keep clicking to expand). It’s nuanced and an excellent counterweight to the simplifications of the […]

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