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  1. Research

    Corporate Inequality Framework

    How do the largest US corporations contribute to inequality?

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  2. Research

    Getting Ahead of the Curve on Dynamic Materiality: How U.S. investors can foster more inclusive capitalism

    Despite soaring corporate profits and strong market performance, wealth and income inequality are increasing, leading to public disenfranchisement and imbalances which can eventually jeopardize crucial business functions and diversified investors’ portfolios. Institutional investors are increasingly concerned with the financial implications of social and environmental risks, but often lack the tools to identify and mitigate them. This discussion paper is designed to support U.S. investors in understanding how sharing more wealth and influence with workers and communities can correct imbalances and support early identification and mitigation of emerging risks. Specific tools and opportunities are highlighted which can foster more sustainable and responsible value creation and ultimately a more inclusive and thriving economy.

  3. Research

    Small-Scale Female Food Producers and Climate Change: Qualitative evidence from Ethiopia

    The main objective of the study is to examine small-scale female food producers’ (SSFFP) awareness, capability and resilience for climate change and its impacts, as well as the adaptation strategies and factors that influence their adaptive decisions. The assessment covered the perspectives of SSFFPs and other stakeholders from government, research institutions and civil society organizations that work on the climate change agenda. The study was conducted in Basona Werana Woreda (North Shewa Zone, Amhara), Bora Woreda (East Showa Zone, Oromia in the lowland areas of the Rift Valley) and Awash Fentalie Woreda in the Afar Regional State, which is largely a pastoralist area. In the month of January 2023, the team conducted the research, which used in-depth interviews, focus group discussions (FGDs) and key informant in-depth interviews (KIIs) for primary data collection, and a literature review for secondary data collection. The report concludes with recommendations to improve small-scale female producers’ climate change adaptation including capacity building, information sharing services, technology use, and policy support and its implementation.

  4. Research

    Funding the Localization Agenda: Measuring progress of United States development and humanitarian assistance to local organizations

    This research report challenges USAID’s self-reported progress on its localization goals. The Oxfam research builds upon “Metrics Matter,” a report by Publish What You Fund, that looks at 10 countries that are recipients of USAID funding, and how much of that funding flows directly to local actors. Oxfam used the methodology developed by Publish What You Fund and the same source data, to analyze USAID funding to an additional eight countries between 2019 and 2021.

    In 2021, USAID set an ambitious goal of ensuring that 25% of its funding went to local organizations by 2025. In 2022, it released its first progress report, in which it defined critical terms such as “local,” and outlined how it would measure progress. The percentage of funding to local organizations would be measured by dividing the amount of funding given to local organizations by the total amount of funding given by USAID globally.

    Oxfam contends that USAID’s definition of local and what it left out from its total funding (UN projectized funding), inflates USAID’s progress to date. Using a narrower definition of local and including all USAID funding as the denominator, the report found that USAID had only given 4% of its funding to local actors, versus USAID’s calculation of 7.3% from 2019-2021. This not only detracts from its goal of funding local organizations, but it also sets up a reverse incentive for international organizations to adapt their organizational criteria to meet the USAID definition in order to qualify as local.

    The report argues that if USAID is to realize the vision it has articulated, it must adopt a narrower definition of local and include all funds directed by USAID in its total funds figure. Progress might appear slower, but if USAID is to truly “provide development assistance to help partner countries on their own development journey to self-reliance” (USAID's "about us" language), this is a better path.

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  5. Research

    Exposed and Unprotected: The threat posed by climate change to U.S. agricultural workers

    This Discussion Paper seeks to identify the array of potential policy avenues for tackling some of the risks posed by climate change to outdoor workers in the US. The work is based on a literature review and therefore reflects the focus areas of that literature, specifically the vulnerability of agricultural workers and the risks posed by extreme heat as well as climate change’s interactions with wildfire smoke and pesticide exposure. This work also identifies gaps in the literature and avenues for future study.

    For agricultural workers, the impacts of extreme heat will compound with forecasted increases in wildfire smoke and pesticide use—the latter possibly increasing as heat renders crops more vulnerable to infection. The primary solutions to addressing wildfire smoke and pesticide use involve the wearing of PPE, which worsens the effects of heat exposure. Notably, there is no federal standard for wildfire smoke (or outdoor air quality)—though some states have implemented standards—and protections from pesticide exposure are widely noted as inadequate at the local and national level. This document provides a historical overview of how agricultural workers have been continuously excluded from federal labor standards and the ways in which this exclusion creates more acute vulnerability for workers to climate change and climate disaster.

    Possible avenues and focus areas for policy change that were identified in the literature include: 1) creating a federal heat standard; 2) expanding OSHA protections to all agricultural workers—specifically eliminating the exclusion of small farms from any OSHA protections; 3) ensuring enforcement of existing (and to be developed) regulations; and 4) tackling the wider structural causes of vulnerability that extend beyond heat, notably lack of access to healthcare and poor-quality housing. A federal heat standard should account for humidity and include provisions mandating: breaks; access to water; access to shade; shifted work hours; acclimatization periods; and medical screenings. Regarding enforcement, the focus is on funding, staffing, surveillance, publication of incidents, and an assessment of whether current (and proposed) provisions are working.

  6. Research

    Recharging Community Consent: Mining companies, battery minerals, and the battle to break from the past

    With mining set to expand as part of the sweeping energy transition, it is imperative that future mining only proceed with the full support and consent of Indigenous peoples and frontline communities. In the first policy brief of its kind to focus on the public policy commitments of mining companies extracting five key transition minerals to respect Indigenous rights, Oxfam concludes that the battery mineral sector’s approach to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) is not sufficiently ready to support a just energy transition under current company policies. More companies need to adopt strong FPIC policies that unequivocally commit them from proceeding with a project if Indigenous peoples withhold consent.

    In pursuing a more just energy transition, grounded in FPIC, mining companies can break free from a history of violence and abuse that has undermined Indigenous communities and companies’ own bottom lines. Companies that demonstrate that their operations and products are developed with the support and consent of the communities where they operate will have a huge competitive edge. Buyers and car manufacturers, along with technology, mass transit, and renewable energy companies, all want to be able to show that their supply chains fully respect the rights of those communities where they source their mineral inputs from. And consumer countries want confidence that their supplies of raw minerals will not be interrupted because mines have failed to protect human rights.

    Global climate action cannot be used to justify further harm and human rights abuses of Indigenous and local communities across the globe. Policy priority must be given to finding and funding solutions to minimize the need to mine raw minerals—and then ensure that what mining is still needed be conducted in a sustainable, just, equitable and rights-respecting way.

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