What happens when I sign an Oxfam petition?

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One of the ways Oxfam holds the powerful accountable is through petitions. So what happens to your petition signature after you've signed?

Oxfam fights inequality to end poverty and injustice. That means we advocate for changes in policies and practices that perpetuate inequality—whether it's by demanding that everyone have access to COVID-19 vaccines, ending racist border policies, or ensuring the wealthiest pay their fair share of taxes. We're dedicated to holding those in power accountable—and you, our supporters, make that possible.

Hundreds of thousands of you have signed our petitions over the years, but what happens after you’ve signed?

Here are three examples of what happens when you sign an Oxfam petition.

Behind the Barcodes

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Gathering the signatures

In 2019, Oxfam’s Behind the Barcodes campaign evaluated and ranked six of the biggest US food retailers on their policies and practices to see if they provided adequate protections for workers, farmers, and women. Whole Foods was tied at the bottom of the scorecard—with a total score of 3 percent out of 100 percent. Oxfam joined with partners to promote our petition calling on Whole Foods to end the human suffering behind the food sold on their shelves and more than 200,000 people signed.

Delivery

Oxfam and our partners took those signatures and made sure Whole Foods got your message. We stood outside the Whole Foods headquarters in Austin, Texas, with signs, we placed our message in the local newspaper, and we hired a video truck to drive around Whole Foods HQ for two days, sharing the stories and faces of the people who help source their food.

Impact

Whole Foods got the message loud and clear. In 2020, the retailer adopted a new Supplier Code of Conduct, which outlines how the company and its suppliers should operate in accordance with human rights principles. They also signed a joint advocacy letter with Oxfam and allies urging the US Labor Department to act on the problem of forced labor in the global fishing industry.

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Oxfam America staff with Farm Labor Organizing Committee and Teamsters staff outside the Whole Foods headquarters in Austin, Texas. Photo: Oxfam America

People’s Vaccine

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Demonstrators rally on the National Mall in Washington on May 5th to advocate for US support for waiving intellectual property rules for COVID-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organization. Becky Davis / Oxfam America

Gathering the signatures

We believe COVID-19 vaccines should be free and available to everyone, everywhere, and more than two million people agreed by signing our People’s Vaccine petition. After months of promoting the petition and collecting signatures from Oxfam supporters, we joined with partners and allies in delivering your demands to the Biden administration.

Delivery

An influential group of public health advocates and lawmakers, including Senator Bernie Sanders, held a press conference on April 23, 2021 to mark the delivery of the People’s Vaccine petition. They called on President Biden to listen to the voices of over two million people and take action on making the COVID-19 vaccine more accessible by supporting the temporary World Trade Organization TRIPS waiver—a measure that would allow generic manufacturers around the world to replicate vaccine formulas.

Impact

In May of 2021, we were thrilled when President Biden announced he supported the waiver—a huge step in the right direction for making vaccines accessible. Since then, many more World Trade Organization member nations have also indicated support. We are still pushing for this waiver to be put in place, and it is through your petition signatures that we are able to make our voices heard on this crucial issue.

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Oxfam CEO, Abby Maxman joins other NGO leaders and elected officials to deliver the People's Vaccine petition signatures.

COVID Recovery & Economic Inequality

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Emily Eberly/Oxfam

Gathering the signatures

The pandemic has highlighted the inequalities in our world and the ways poverty and injustice cause communities to suffer exponentially during a crisis. We joined with partners working on a number of issues—from eliminating fossil fuels to child care to tax reform—to demand that Congress pass legislation to address these gaps. Our supporters helped us sound the alarm of inequality, and we gathered nearly 90,000 signatures.

Delivery

Actor and Oxfam Sister on the Planet Ambassador Alyssa Milano joined us in delivering our letter with your signatures to Senators Chuck Schumer and Patty Murray and Representative Nancy Pelosi. We asked for them to take action on the inequality made worse by the pandemic and to give people the support they deserve.

Impact

We are still waiting on the legislative impact of this recent petition delivery, but we have reason to be optimistic. Because so many of you raised your voices, more and more people are joining the fight. We’ve seen public sentiment shift dramatically as the inequality gap grows wider. Rallying cries to “tax the rich” grow louder and heat has been turned up on our elected officials to do something about it.

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As we continue advocating on the issues that matter most, we rely on you—our supporters—to make our voice even louder in the halls of power. Without your dedication, none of this would be possible. Together we can fight poverty and injustice and make our world a more equal place.

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