Our Ways of Working

Photo: Bonnie Savage/OxfamAUS
Caption: Dinh Thi Nhan polishes a range of plates for Oxfam Shop at the Giang Phong II ceramics workshop in Vietnam for Oxfam Shop producer partner Mai Handicrafts.

Oxfam Australia Trading is a subsidiary company of Oxfam Australia, we are also a member of the World Fair Trade Organisation and a Licensee of the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation. It is the principles, practices and values of these organisations that we live out every day throughout our operations in Australia and around the world.  We exist to support Producers, Farmers, Artisans and their communities to help lift themselves out of poverty.

We do this in a number of ways:

  • Purchasing a wide variety of products from around the world through Fair and ethical trading principles
  • Raising awareness of the importance of fair and ethical trade to help more Australians understand the power their purchasing decisions can have to change the world
  • Ensuring we have an open and transparent supply chain
  • Providing a wide range of support to our Partners from product development to marketing to help them build more sustainable long-term business models that can provide income and employment to their communities for years to come
  • Providing support to our Partners to assist them with their own health, education and community programs

By purchasing our products, our customers not only get access to some of the most unique, high quality products available in Australia, they are also able to help many communities around the world to stop the ongoing cycle of poverty and injustice that still exists within conventional trade.

Working with Producers

Photo: Lara McKinley/OxfamAUS
Caption: Ketut Sari sews Bali Zen's beautiful table runners and patchwork elephants which are sold in Oxfam Australia shops.

  • Our relationships with our Producers are at the heart of everything that we do.
  • We value our Partnerships and are committed to working with them to ensure we are helping them deliver ongoing benefits to their communities by ensuring they have sustainable business models for the future.
  • It is not only about the purchases we make but the relationships we have.
  • We support out partners in a range of ways including:
  • Providing pre-finance;
  • Product development and feedback;
  • Product branding and labelling;
  • Export and import expertise and support with logistics;
  • Product pricing expertise;
  • Coaching to support the delivery of the product to market;
  • Information and knowledge of the Australia market;
  • Support in developing new policies and practices to meet ethical trading practices and gain Fair Trade certifications or memberships;
  • Support with community development programs;
  • Business mentoring.

We work with a range of Partners from well-established Fair Trade Businesses to very small Producers who have never exported before.

Each partner we work with has different needs and we are committed to working with them to provide the tailored support they need to be successful.

We also know that to have a sustainable business, you cannot rely on one customer and so we are committed to helping our Partners find new customers to work with.

Assessing our Producers and Supply Chain Transparency

Photo: Pavithra Jovan De Mello/OxfamAUS
Caption: A group of workers from the James Valley Organic Spice factory in Sri Lanka finish work after a busy day. BioFoods produce a range of teas and spices for Australia’s Oxfam Shops.

Oxfam is committed to changing traditional trade and business practices, which for too long have failed to deliver improvements to the lives of many people living in poverty. These traditional models have often led to unfair prices and unfair competition.

We want to change the way the world does business.

However, as a retail business operating in a highly competitive environment, we also know that this is not always easy. However, we believe that if you work with your Partners and Suppliers you cannot only source high quality products but you can deliver fair practices for the workers, farmers and communities who produce our products.

Transparency is critical to changing the way we do business.

We disclose all of our Producers/Suppliers on our website including information on producer locations and producer details. The link below provides a list of other Suppliers, whilst also respecting the sensitivity and confidentiality of commercial information.

Oxfam Australia Trading also has a system by which we review all of our Producers to ensure they meet ethical standards. These reviews are done when we visit a Producer, through reviewing audits and assessments that have been done by or for the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO), or Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (FLO), reviewing our Producers Annual Reports and also by asking Producers to complete our own Producer Assessment Form and Surveys.

As part of this system, all potential new Producers are asked to complete an assessment against our key criteria. This is then reviewed by our Producer Assessment Committee before we will decide to work with any new Producer.

The Assessment process is a detailed process but essentially we require three major elements:

  • Demonstrated commitment and adherence to Fair Trade principles
  • Traceability and transparency in the Supply Chain
  • Commitment to long-term community development

We also know that sometimes issues will arise. For us it is critical that we work quickly with our Partners to fix these problems. However, it is also critical that we don’t immediately stop working with a Partner, as this can have further negative impacts on the community.
When an issue is identified we:

  • Disclose this information
  • Talk with the Producer about the issue
  • Identify why the problem has occurred
  • Help the Producer deal with the issue and give them time to address the issue
  • Review the action that has been taken by the Producer and make a decision as to whether we are satisfied with the action

We will only stop working with a Partner if we are not confident that they are committed to addressing any issues that have been raised.

If you have any questions about our work with Producers or would like to become a Partner, please contact buyer@oxfam.org.au

Oxfam Australia Trading is working to ensure we meet the highest ethical retailing standards. One of these standards is to be 100% transparent, which entails publishing the locations where products are made.

This is because knowing the names and locations of factories or workshops enables independent confirmation as to whether workers are being treated fairly, whether their conditions are safe or what they are being paid.

Workers’ representatives need production details down to the supplier-factory/workshop level to effectively monitor and help ensure fair working conditions are introduced and maintained.

You can download a list of locations where our products are made.  

Below are the country locations of our producer partners:

Please note: Some of our smaller producers are listed only by region and country as they are community-based projects where people work out of their homes or community centres rather than workshops or factories. For more information on these producers please contact buyer@oxfam.org.au