Our Story

About Oxfam Shop

Oxfam Shop is a passionate supporter of fair trade and works with 130 fair and ethical producer partners in 35 countries around the world, including Australia. Through fair trade we are part of a global movement calling for an end to unfair trade practices. Fair trade empowers disadvantaged communities by paying them fair and stable prices for their work, helping them to gain the skills they need to develop their business, and giving them access to world markets.

Oxfam Shop is registered as a Fair Trade Organisation by the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) and shares its goals:

  • Commitment to fair trade
  • Transparency in business practices
  • Ethical workplaces
  • Equal employment opportunities
  • Concern for people and the environment
  • Education about and advocacy of fair trade.

All our tea, coffee, cocoa, and chocolate products carry the Fairtrade logo and we are adding more Fairtrade products all the time. The Fairtrade logo is your guarantee that the product has been produced and traded in accordance with international fair trade standards. Many of our overseas producer partners are registered as Fair Trade Organisations and our Australian suppliers need to assure us that their products meet minimum ethical requirements.

For those of you who missed our webinar celebrating women’s economic ownership through creativity and craft and International Women’s Day (or just can’t wait to see it again) you can Click here or on the image below to hear firsthand from artisans in South Africa who share their inspiring stories of economic ownership.

Webinar celebrating Women's economic ownership - Oxfam Shop

Ways of working

Oxfam Australia Trading (OAT) is a Fair Trade Organisation and as such we adhere to the principles and policies of the two peak fair trade bodies – the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) and the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (FLO).

More information on our ways of working can be found here.

About Oxfam

One person in three in the world lives in poverty. Oxfam is determined to change that world by mobilising the power of people against poverty.

Around the globe, Oxfam works to find practical, innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive. We save lives and help rebuild livelihoods when crisis strikes. And we campaign so that the voices of the poor influence the local and global decisions that affect them.

In all we do, Oxfam works with partner organisations and alongside vulnerable women and men to end the injustices that cause poverty.

Discover more about Oxfam Australia

Our History

Oxfam Australia was born out of a merger between two leading international development agencies – Community Aid Abroad and the Australian Freedom from Hunger Campaign. Community Aid Abroad started in Melbourne in 1953, initially to help support health campaigns in India. Very rapidly, Community Aid Abroad grew and small local member based groups were popping up all over Australia.

In the 1960’s, a Community Aid Abroad Group based in Adelaide developed an innovative idea to source products produced by artisans overseas and market them for sale in Australia. By doing this, they would help provide a new and sustainable source of income for these skilled artisans as well as raising money for Community Aid Abroad’s development programs around the world.

In 1965 thanks to the commitment of the Community Aid Abroad supporters, the first Shop was opened in Gay’s Arcade in Adelaide. It was with real delight and anticipation that the first tea chest of products from India was opened on the lounge room floor of one of the group members in the suburbs of Adelaide.

From these humble beginnings, our commitment to supporting the livelihoods, skill and culture of artisans and farmers around the world, now spans more than 50 years.

Since that first tea chest of products landed in Australia, the Community Aid Abroad/Oxfam Shops have undergone many changes and have had to adapt to meet rapid changes in the retail industry, economic shocks, the launch of Fairtrade labels and systems as well as the growth of online shopping. However, through all of this our staff, volunteers and supporters have remained deeply committed to supporting 1000’s of artisans, farmers and their communities to build better lives for themselves – helping them to lift themselves out of poverty.

The original idea from the innovative, entrepreneurial and committed community group members in the early 1960’s has helped ensure that Oxfam Australia Trading is not only arguably Australia’s most unique retailer but also Australia’s oldest and largest standalone fair and ethical trader - and it is a legacy that we hope will continue for many years to come.

Check Oxfam Australia’s interactive historic timeline here.