In June 2020 Ethical Consumer searched Oxfam's 2019 annual report for details of its environmental reporting.

This stated: "In 2014, we set an absolute carbon reduction target of 30% (from our 2011/12 baseline) for our building energy in shops and our transport logistics to be achieved by 2020... As at 2018/19 we have reduced carbon emissions by 35 per cent... this is mainly due to the increase in renewable energy in the national grid. A new carbon reporting framework will be introduced UK-wide over the next financial year and we will align our reporting to this."
"Although our electricity contract is for 100 per cent renewable energy, our emissions reported here use the standard UK Government GHG conversion factors as the default approach."

It also stated its had an environmental strategy for its shops which included waste management, processing of textiles, packaging and products, and mentioned targets to reduce its carbon footprint across building energy use and Trading logistics, that it would set after an ESOS report that was due in Autumn (2019), and would report on bimonthly via an internal governance group.

Its Ethical and Environmental Policy (2016) applied to suppliers and stated that they were expected to demonstrate commitment to meet standards which included standards on: climate change, waste, materials, packaging, wood and forest products, energy, transport, conservation of biodiversity and water.

Oxfam was considered to have demonstrated a reasonable understanding of its environmental impacts and mentioned environmental targets but was not reporting on them publicly. The reporting figures did not appear to be independently verified. Oxfam received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for environmental reporting.

Reference:

https://www.oxfam.org.uk (1 June 2020)

In June 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed the Oxfam website and saw that it sold own-brand and Sourced by Oxfam cotton bags. Some were organic, some were Fairtrade, some were neither. It also sold some recycled cotton products. It did not have a policy to only use organic or recycled cotton.

In 2019 Ethical Consumer had received a response to a clothing questionnaire sent to Oxfam. This stated:
"The majority of our products made from cotton are in our homewares range. These are all made from recycled cotton materials from WFTO-certified producer groups.... The cotton bags and homewares we sell are either WFTO or Fairtrade (FLO), GOTS certified or 100% recycled fabric where possible.
"We do not currently have a policy explicitly forbidding the use of cotton from Uzbekistan, and while Fairtrade might approve a Fairtrade supplier from this region, they do not currently have any active cotton producers in this region.
"We use organic cotton wherever possible, however this is dependent on its availability to the producer groups that we work with."

According to Anti-Slavery international (ASI) website viewed by Ethical Consumer in August 2018, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan were two of the world’s largest exporters of cotton, and every year their governments forcibly mobilised over one million citizens to grow and harvest cotton. Due to the high proportion of cotton likely to have come from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and the prevalence of forced labour in its production, the company lost half a mark in the Workers Rights category.

The Organic Trade Association website, www.ota.com, stated in July 2018 that cotton covered roughly 2.78% of global arable land, but accounted for 12.34% of all insecticide sales and 3.94% of herbicide sales. Due to the impacts of the widespread use of pesticides in cotton production worldwide the company lost half a mark in the Pollution & Toxics category.

According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), a non-profit pro biotech organisation, genetically modified cotton accounted for 80% of cotton grown in 2017. Due to the prevalence of GM cotton in cotton supply chains and the lack of any evidence that the company avoided it, it was assumed that some of the company's cotton products contained some GM material. As a result it lost half a mark under the Controversial Technology category.

Reference:

https://www.oxfam.org.uk (1 June 2020)

In June 2020 Ethical Consumer searched Oxfam's website for details of its approach to toxics in the new products it sold.
It stated in its 2019 annual report that it now had a Trading ethical and environmental strategy, and that one of the five key objectives was: "Further improving the ethical and environmental considerations in the products we stock in our Sourced by Oxfam range, and to work with suppliers in doing so."
However, further details were not given.
Its 2016 Environmental Policy while mentioning controlling pollution and impact on biodiversity, did not include details on toxics.
A search of its Sourced by Oxfam range showed that it chose brands which were more environmentally aware, such as Faith in Nature and Bio D. It also sold a wider range of products than just bodycare products.
An organisation of its size was expected to have publicly available information on the criteria of products it sold in relation to toxic chemicals. It lost half a mark in the Pollution and Toxics category.

Reference:

https://www.oxfam.org.uk (1 June 2020)

In June 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed Oxfam's website for the organisation's wood and timber sourcing policy.
Two documents were viewed Ethical and Environmental Policy (2016) and Oxfam's 2019 annual report.
The annual report stated, "Our focus it to seek compliance with our policy that at least 90 per cent of our wood and paper is either FSC certified or recycled, but with a target of at least 95 per cent compliance. In 2018/19 the compliance rate was 96.8 per cent".
The Policy stated:
"Ensure that all forest products purchased are as a minimum legal in origin and provide
evidence of due diligence to ensure this if requested by Oxfam GB.

Suppliers of paper products sourced from Oxfam GB UK offices and New Products for Resale
carrying the Oxfam Brand, must source forest products from recycled sources or well
managed forests which have been certified to a credible standard. Exceptions will be made for
products which are Fairtrade marked or produced by members of the World Fair Trade
Organisation as appropriate. Oxfam GB views the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) as the
most credible certification for the sustainable sourcing of wood and forest products.

Suppliers must never knowingly become involved in, collude with or purchase timber from
illegal logging operations."

Oxfams policy covered all timber and timber-derived products. It also included clauses excluding illegal timber and a preference for certified sources. It had clear targets for sourcing timber from sustainably managed sources, a discussion of a good minimum standard, preference given to certified sources, and stated that it also used recycled wood / paper.

Oxfam received a best Ethical Consumer rating for its timber sourcing policy.

Reference:

https://www.oxfam.org.uk (1 June 2020)