Oxfam at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on cooperation between business and the third sector: "Better adherence to labour rights and sustainability are the strongest roots for long-lasting growth and stability"
For the second year in a row Oxfam is invited to share its experience at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. On the 25th of May 2018 Oxfam representative Elsa Vidal shared the organisation’s best practices of engagement with private and public sectors on the issue of sustainable development at the roundtable titled “The role of business in global development: when charity pays off”.
“At Oxfam we are proud of our ability to bring to the table actors from corporate, public and civil society sectors to help meet challenges that require innovative and creative solutions. We provide holistic approach to complex issues, and we believe that it is possible to have prosperity benefiting communities instead of widening inequality gaps. We can do so when the corporate and public sectors are open-minded and seek partners that bear in mind general interest." – stated Vidal.
During her presentation, Ms. Vidal shared cases of the most successful collaboration between Oxfam in Vietnam and the private sector. For example, in 2011-2013 Oxfam has engaged with Unilever in Vietnam to assess the implementation of labor rights in their factories, and later, to follow on the progress made and areas for further improvement. This has been possible thanks to the trust established between Oxfam and Unilever, as well as the transparency demonstrated by the latter. The results are improved working conditions, including better wages and increased stability for the workers. The culture of sustainable and fair production cycle was promoted at Unilever and through its suppliers.
"Oxfam’s history of partnerships with corporate sector demonstrates that profitability, sustainability and equity can be combined to benefit all stakeholders. Leaders of private sector such as Unilever in Vietnam have shown exceptional transparency and ability to not only implement changes but to publicly make a business case for it. Better adherence to labor rights and sustainability are the strongest roots for long-lasting growth and stability - that is what our surveys and programs show", said Elsa Vidal.
Apart from collaboration with Unilever, Oxfam has several other sustainable development projects implemented jointly with agribusiness firms in Vietnam. Oxfam’s efforts to ensure sustainable and responsible shrimp production and value chain development in Vietnam involve small-scale shrimp producers and processors in the Mekong Delta. Oxfam activities add value to government credit policies by bringing banks together with small-scale shrimp producers and processors who need credit. Better access to credit and the organization’s coordination all along the supply chain lead to improved quality of production, enhanced competitiveness on international market, and more sustainable use of natural resources.
You can learn more about Oxfam’s projects in Vietnam here: https://vietnam.oxfam.org/what-we-do-programmes-resource-rights/vcg-4-projects
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