Oxfam America partners with different types of organizations to develop innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. A growing portion of our work involves collaboration with new allies, including strategic engagement with the private sector.
The private sector affects poor people and public policies in several ways. The reach of companies has grown significantly as countries have opened their doors to greater trade and investment and privatized certain basic services. The resulting imbalance has left the private sector with outsized influence coupled with rising demands and expectations from the public. This dynamic means there is new urgency and more opportunities to engage private sector actors to use their power to address poverty.
Oxfam is uniquely suited to this task. Working with our partners and international Oxfam affiliates, we bring development and policy knowledge, wide-ranging research, the ability to follow multinational corporate supply chains, relationships with key constituencies (governments, corporations, civil society groups, and affected communities); these are all essential assets for working toward equitable and durable market reforms. Oxfam is keenly aware that the private sector's real power lies not in its philanthropy, but in its core business practices, which has become the point of departure for Oxfam’s private sector engagement.
Oxfam America's Private Sector Department (PSD) works in close collaboration with OA and its partners to channel the creativity, resources, and influence of the private sector to support Oxfam's broader mission of social justice and poverty alleviation.
Oxfam's Market Systems Approach
Oxfam takes a "market systems approach" to private sector engagement, based on the principle that markets will best serve the poor to the extent that certain conditions prevail. We believe that:
- Civil society groups must be engaged and empowered to pressure companies around best practice standards.
- People living in poverty must have the capacity and resources to participate effectively in local and global markets.
- Enlightened corporate leaders must be moved by legal and financial incentives to work with stakeholders on sustainable and pro-poor business ventures.
- Governments must ensure a strong and effective regulatory apparatus.
Oxfam brings a comprehensive approach to targeted markets, aiming to mobilize and influence relevant actors and institutions for long term change.
To contact Oxfam America's Private Sector Department, please email email@example.com.