In June 2021, Ethical Consumer viewed Oxfam GB's Ethical and Environmental Policy dated December 2020, as well as its 2020 Annual Report. The report demonstrated Oxfam GB’s understanding of its responsibilities around environmental standards in relation to its retail operations and supply chains. These included its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions associated with its operations, waste, packaging, energy, wood and forest products. The report also stated Oxfam’s carbon commitment which detailed that Oxfam GB had committed to “at least a 66% reduction by 2030 (from a 2011/12 baseline, without offsetting) with a commitment to being zero carbon by 2045 at the latest.”
Aside from this, however, it did not appear that Oxfam GB had any other environmental policy targets with baselines attached to them. It stated that there had been limited energy efficiency actions in the year as its focus was on supporting the completion of the ESOS process, the Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme.
A strong policy would include two future, quantified environmental targets and have its environmental data independently verified. Oxfam GB did not meet these criteria and therefore it received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for Environmental Reporting and lost a whole mark in this category.


Oxfam annual reports and accounts 2019/20 (21 June 2021)

In July 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the website of Oxfam GB, looking for information on what the company was doing to tackle climate change. Ethical Consumer was looking for the following:
1. For the company to discuss its areas of climate impact, and to discuss plausible ways it has cut them in the past, and ways that it will cut them in the future.

For the company to not be involved in any particularly damaging projects like tar sands, oil or aviation, to not be subject to damning secondary criticism regarding it’s climate actions, and to have relevant sector-specific climate policies in place.

2. For the company to report annually on its scope 1&2 greenhouse gas emissions (direct emissions by the company), and,

3. to go some way towards reporting on its scope 3 emissions (emissions from the supply chain, investments and sold products).

4. For the company to have a target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in line with international agreements (counted as the equivalent of at least 2.5% cut per year in scope 1&2 emissions), and to not count offsetting towards this target.

If a company met all of these criteria it would receive a best rating. If it met parts 1&2 (impacts and annual reporting CO2e) it would receive a middle rating. Otherwise it would receive a worst rating.

Oxfam's 2020 Annual Report stated that it had played an active role in a mass lobby of the UK parliament for a serious response to climate change. The charity also was involved in responding to climate-related disasters. It had a section on its own operations and carbon reporting. It stated that its absolute carbon emissions from UK-based activities were 12% down from 2018/19, with about half due to renewable energy in the grid, but half to reductions in building energy and travel. It had reduced air travel by 41% since 2011/12. In 2019 it concluded an energy savings assessement, which informed new plans initally focused on better energy management and LED lighting. It was also going to consider replacing its fleet of lorries to reduce fuel use. It was considered to meet part 1.

It met part 2 as it reported Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Its Scope 3 emissions did not include supply chain, only travel, so it did not meet part 3. It should be noted Oxfam did not only sell second hand goods. It also had a Sourced by Oxfam range of new goods.

It met part 4 as it had a commitment to at least a 66% carbon reduction by 2030 from a 2011/12 baseline, without offsetting, which equated to more than 2.5% reduction per year.

Overall, Oxfam received Ethical Consumer’s middle rating for carbon management and reporting and lost a half mark under Climate Change.


Oxfam annual reports and accounts 2019/20 (21 June 2021)

In July 2021 Ethical Consumer searched Oxfam's website for details of its approach to toxics in the new products it sold.
Its 2020 Environmental Policy and Annual Report were viewed. No information was found.
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.


Oxfam online shop (5 July 2021)

In July 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed Oxfam's website for the organisation's wood and timber sourcing policy.
Two documents were viewed: Ethical and Environmental Policy (2020) and Oxfam's 2020 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 2019/20, the compliance rate was 97.9%".
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.


2020 Environmental Policy (5 July 2021)