Oxfam International and the United Nations Global Compact to partner on poverty assessment tool

By Oxfam America

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NEW YORK — Oxfam International and the United Nations Global Compact today announced a collaboration to urge Global Compact companies to work in conjunction with civil society organizations to undertake a poverty footprint assessment. Oxfam and the UN Global Compact will jointly promote the assessment tool to help companies evaluate their impact on poverty through their operations and policies. The poverty footprint methodology was developed and tested by Oxfam International over the past decade.

"Marking International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Oxfam is excited to enter into this partnership today with the UN Global Compact and other collaborators," said Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America. "Oxfam has spent more than a decade developing the poverty footprint tool, and we see the Global Compact as an ideal partner to help get this tool into the hands of companies who are committed to improving their social impacts."

With poverty eradication playing a central role in the UN's post-2015 development agenda and the recent UN Global Compact Leaders Summit, the partners will use the methodology to increase transparency on corporate social impacts and encourage follow-up projects that improve circumstances and opportunities for people living in poverty. The project will be led by the UN Global Compact and overseen by a steering group, including Oxfam. The methodology has already been employed in three collaborations involving Unilever, The Coca-Cola Company/SABMiller, and IPL, the largest importer of produce in the United Kingdom, and has been piloted and strengthened by Accenture.

The poverty footprint methodology is used in partnership between a corporation and civil society organization to examine a company's impact on poverty. Five key factors are considered essential to help individuals and communities overcome poverty: livelihoods; health and well-being; diversity and gender equality; empowerment; and security and stability. The methodology includes a step by step process, as well as dozens of indicators, with a strong focus on stakeholder engagement and transparency.

"We are delighted to work with Oxfam and others to enhance access to the poverty footprint tool for a much broader audience around the world," said Georg Kell, UN Global Compact Executive Director. "This innovative tool fosters both greater corporate accountability and positive impact, and in doing so holds great promise for scaling up the business contribution to the post-2015 development agenda."

Recommendations that have surfaced in poverty footprint studies include: business training for women along the value chain; increasing access to credit for individuals and small business owners; integrating living wages into purchasing contracts; and increasing buying power for small producers.