The Future is Equal


Fast fashion gets the boot in 2020

Fast Fashion
Photo by Charles on Unsplash

Is it time you ditched fast fashion for a more ethical and sustainable lifestyle?

Fast fashion in 2020 is unsustainable, and we need to keep brands accountable. We have seen a lot of positive changes last year, within New Zealand, and around the globe. We have seen New Zealand actively trying to reduce our carbon emissions, the rise of electric vehicles and the banning of single use plastics.

Unfortunately the fashion industry seems to be dragging the chain, and remains one of the world’s largest polluters. The industry is the second largest consumer of water and is responsible for 8-10 per cent of global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined, according to the United Nations Environment Program.

According to Fee Gilfeather, a sustainability expert at Oxfam, it would take 13 years to drink the water that is used to make one pair of jeans and one T-shirt.

Being the change you want to see means joining with a growing number of consumers who want to know where and how their clothes are produced and are increasingly demanding ethical practices and responsible retailing.

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

So what simple things can we do to make a change?

Here are five solutions to try:

  1. Shop with the end in mind
    In Britain, the Environmental Audit Committee reported on the problem earlier this year and found that the UK buys more clothes than any other country in Europe, throwing away 1 million tonnes annually with 300,000 tonnes going to incinerators or landfills. Think to yourself, will I still wear this item in a year’s time?
  2. Buy quality ethical and fairtrade goods
    Purchasing products that are fair-trade certified can reduce poverty, encourage environmentally friendly production methods and safeguard humane working conditions. One example of a fair trade factory is Freeset, a group of social enterprises focused on creating positive employment opportunities for women affected by sex trafficking in West Bengal, India. Freeset Bags & Apparel manufactures bags and T-shirts, Freeset Fabrics is a weaving business and Freeset Business Incubator is focused on facilitating the establishment of new freedom businesses. Make sure to also check out our range of ethical, fairtrade items in the Oxfam Shop. Each item is handcrafted with love and comes with a positive story from the person who made it.
  3. Buy secondhand or recycled
    Inditex, the retail giant that owns Zara, H&M and many other brands, announced a sustainability pledge in July 2019, saying it wants all its clothes to be made from sustainable or recycled fabrics by 2025. Every week 11 million items of clothing end up in landfill, putting increasing pressure on our planet and its people – this throwaway fashion culture is unsustainable. But there is something you can do to help. You can join ‘Second Hand September’ and pledge to say no to new clothes for 30 days.
  4. Buy once, buy well
    In 2015, a sustainability report by Nielsen found that 66 per cent of consumers are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly clothing. Use Tear Fund’s  buying guide to help you make better choices. You can read their 2019 Ethical Fashion Report here
  5. Or buy nothing at all
    Practice the habit of going through a day or week without buying anything. You could join the Buy Nothing Day (BND) movement – an international day of protest against consumerism. In North America, the United Kingdom, Finland and Sweden, Buy Nothing Day is held the day after U.S. Thanksgiving, concurrent to Black Friday; elsewhere, it is held the following day, which is the last Saturday in November – 28 November 2020 in New Zealand.

Work towards changing your own shopping habits, and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’re part of a positive trend for good.


Tearfund Fashion Report 2019
Tearfund 2019 Fashion Report


As the EAC says;

“We’re seeing a huge rise in public demand over not just better products, but better buying habits. And we’re looking at a generation that is applying scrutiny, that is wanting to know that brands are accountable.”

Read the full story here


We all want to live in a caring society

Global care infographic Davos 2020

Let’s make 2020 the year we reset our economies to care for each other, not billionaires’ fortunes.

Click here to tell New Zealand’s political leaders that it’s time to build a caring economy by taxing wealth properly, and ask what they are going to do about it in the election.

Oxfam NZ Button Take Action

We all want to live in a world that values and acknowledges what we do and who we are.

But right now the economy is enriching and protecting the vast fortunes of a privileged few, while billions of people struggle to stay afloat. Oxfam’s new report ‘Time To Care‘ reveals that women around the world are working 12.5 billion hours a day to cook, clean, care and do so much more, for poverty wages or nothing at all. Meanwhile the richest 22 men in the world own more wealth than all the women in Africa.

Global inequality infographic Davos 2020

Unpaid care work

Women’s unpaid and poorly paid care work is the foundation for our economy – and our society. But this work is not recognised or valued. Meanwhile, a handful of people are amassing vast fortunes that they will never be able to make use of. This great divide exists because of the way we have designed our economies to value the wealth of the privileged few, mostly men, more than the billions of hours of the most essential work – the unpaid and underpaid care work done primarily by women and girls around the world. Tending to others, cooking, cleaning, fetching water and firewood are essential daily tasks for the wellbeing of family and whanau, communities, whole societies and the functioning of our economies.

Because this work is not recognised, supported or valued, it means that women and girls miss out on other opportunities. Of course, care work is an important part of showing love and care for other people in our families and communities, and we do this with love and care. But the vast amount of care work across the world is mundane, such as trekking hours a day to get safe water and firewood to cook with. Other care work, such as taking older relatives to health appointments, can interfere with paid employment. Across the world, 42 percent of women cannot get jobs because they are responsible for all the caregiving in a household, compared to just six percent of men.

Women also make-up two-thirds of the paid care workforce. Jobs such as nursery workers, domestic workers, and care assistants are often poorly paid, provide scant benefits, impose irregular hours, and can take a physical and emotional toll. In New Zealand, this is reflected in the fact that women have a higher in-work poverty rate in comparison to men. This inequality is at its highest when looking at couples with children: when the female is the main earner, these homes have an in-work poverty rate of 12.3 per cent, compared to 3 per cent if the male is the main earner.

Domestic workers infographic Davos 2020

How can we change this?

The good news is that we can fix this. We can recognise, support, redistribute and reduce the care work that women do. We can put the economy on the right track so that it values the right things – including the care work of millions of women and girls – instead of billionaires’ wealth.

One way of supporting, redistributing and reducing women’s unpaid and poorly paid care work is to provide free and accessible public services for all. People in our governments can make sure that women can get safe water close to their homes so they don’t have to spend hours walking for it. Governments can provide teacher aides and caregivers, paid at least a living wage, to support women who care for children with disabilities and people who are sick at home. Governments can invest in public transport and transport services to make travelling to and from schools, hospitals and childcare centres cheaper and easier for women. Policy actions like these will reduce the amount of unpaid care women and girls do, so that they can get an education, earn a decent living, and have a say in how our societies are run.

Domestic workers infographic Davos 2020

Of course, governments need to fund these services. This is where tax systems come in. The only way we can get the services that benefit all of us is through our collective contributions to these services, through taxes. At the moment, across the world, wealthy individuals, families and corporations are not properly taxed. We need to start taxing wealth properly, and change the international tax rules to stop corporates avoiding making their fair contribution in countries where they work. This revenue will provide people in government with much-needed resources to invest in supporting and valuing the care work that women and girls do.

The extreme inequality we witness today is not inevitable. It is the result of the choices we make about how we build economies and societies that are about human well-being, and that value what we truly value. Together, we can reset the economy to look after each other, not billionaires’ fortunes. Properly taxing wealth can help us do that, and build a world where all people flourish in a human economy.


Standing together – hope in action in 2019

What a year 2019 has been. Together, we’ve achieved so much. The global systems of injustice and the extremely rich and powerful people who are enabling them are not easy to tackle. But by using our power as citizens, we are building the foundations of a just, inclusive and sustainable world for all, and are shifting the window of what is politically possible. Here’s an overview of the change you have helped make happen this year.

School Strike for Climate, Auckland - Vernon Rive
Oxfam joins the School Strike for Climate in Auckland. Photo/Vernon Rive

Taking collective action for climate justice

Momentum for tackling climate breakdown skyrocketed up the political agenda this year, and we’ve been excited to support movements like the School Strikers, Pacific Climate Warriors and Generation Zero as they’ve walked the streets and the halls of parliament to fight for the climate action we need from our government. We are so pleased New Zealand now has a Zero Carbon Act to provide a starting line for getting our pollution down.

We also worked hard to ensure that our government is starting to lift its support for people who are on the frontlines of climate destruction, including our colleagues, friends and family in the Pacific and beyond, through securing a US$10 million boost to the Green Climate Fund.

With you, the Oxfam community:

  • Sent powerful submissions on the Zero Carbon Act, and delivered an 11,000 strong petition to Parliament calling on MPs to #BackTheAct along with Generation Zero, WWF and World Vision.
  • Sent over 250 letters to Minister Peters asking for a boost in resourcing for our neighbours to fight climate breakdown.
  • Sent over 300 letters to Minister Shaw demanding New Zealand stand with the Pacific at the COP25, the UN climate talks.

Keeping inequality on the political agenda and pushing for multinationals to pay their fair share

We’ve been working hard to get our government to make sure international tax rules are fair for all countries. We mobilised around the government’s Tax Working Group and in international negotiations, to stop multinational corporations shirking their fair share of taxes that help the world’s governments provide for their people. Together, we’ve:

  • Delivered the demands of nearly 8000 people to tell parliament that we want tax transparency by opening the books of multinational corporations.
  • Sent over 400 submissions to IRD on international tax rules for a digital economy.

What these achievements do is keep international tax rules on the government’s agenda, and they make sure that people in government have to think about tax issues. This is the first step in changing policy – getting the ideas and information across the desks of the right people, and providing a mandate for change.

We’ve supported the creation of Tax Justice Aotearoa, a new organisation that works to make sure our government has the tax it needs to fund our hospitals and schools, and that everyone is contributing their fair share. Tax Justice Aotearoa ran a campaign in support of a capital gains tax, hosted Tax on Tuesdays, a series of talks about tax, wrote submissions and several policy briefs, and met with MPs and Ministers.

Making our aid work for those who need it most

We’ve been working to get international development policy that focuses on the people who need our help the most, by building connections across the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The government recently released its new policy, and we were pleased to see a strong focus on human rights and inclusion. We also presented to Parliament’s Inquiry into New Zealand’s Aid – you can watch our Advocacy and Campaigns Director, Jo, give Oxfam’s submission to Select Committee here (from 1h 50min).

For World Humanitarian Day, we joined with other NGOs to remind the government that New Zealand must continue to support and protect victims of the Syrian conflict through the #NZisWatching campaign.

There’s lots to do, but together we are powerful

Tackling systems of injustice – both in New Zealand and across the world – can be slow and frustrating. Sometimes simply raising a voice, shedding light on an issue, or just holding the line so things don’t go backwards, is a huge achievement. We do this work alongside and on behalf of people who are focused on getting food on the table for their children and keeping a roof over their heads. They can’t do this work alone.

The only way we can stop injustice is through our collective action – working together, harmonising our voices and holding the powerful to account. We get inspiration and motivation from the things you do to make the world a better place.

We look forward to more of this in 2020. It will be a big year – we have to inspire governments and corporations to do much more to stop climate destruction. We have a unique opportunity to change the international tax rules for the better. And we can make sure the money we give for overseas development assistance is spent on stopping poverty and injustice. All in the midst of an election!

So, it’s a good time for some rest, reflection and connecting with loved ones over the festive season, and then getting back into making change with you in the new year.

Ngā Manaakitanga,
Jo and Alex
Your Advocacy and Campaigns Team at Oxfam New Zealand

Meet the Makers: Every Gift Has a Story

Discover the stories behind the gifts, meet the makers, and find out how shopping with Oxfam New Zealand helps artisans to earn a fair living and support their families. This Christmas, give a special handmade gift, while helping to fight poverty across the world.


Allpa assists artisan groups across Peru, reaching thousands of families in areas ranging from Cusco and Lake Titicaca in the Andes, to the desert town of Chulucanos and the Amazon rainforest area of Pucalpa. For most of these people handcraft production is their only source of income. Allpa makes the soft and luxurious Alpaca throws in our store.

Corr, The Jute Works

The Jute Works are a non-profit organisation that tackles poverty in Bangladesh by empowering more than 7,000 female artisans to earn a living and thrive. The Jute Works makes the natural jute string bag, which is available in our store now and so useful for carrying your fresh fruit and veggies.

Aspiration International

Aspiration International assist many artisan groups throughout India to ensure the survival of their unique craft traditions. They encourage their artisans to set up their own workshops and employ other makers. The gorgeous Mangowood Tray craved with elephants is made by Aspiration International.

Dhaka Handicrafts

Dhaka Handicrafts work towards creating income opportunities for rural artisan families leading them towards self-reliance. Family welfare, gender equality and women’s leadership are central to Dhaka Handicrafts, with approximately 16,000 people benefiting from their work. Some of their beautiful work includes the Hogla Storage Basket and the Kaisa Bowl.

Aroha and gratitude for our volunteers


Oxfam is lucky enough to be supported by countless inspiring volunteers, who make so much possible around the globe.

Volunteers get involved with many, varied aspects of Oxfam’s work; from office administration, to data analysis, marketing, fundraising, campaigning, or helping to make Oxfam Trailwalker an annual success. They generously give their time and skills out of the kindness of their hearts, greatly adding to what we can achieve.

As Sasha Fesenko, one of Oxfam’s Auckland volunteers says:

“Oxfam. Have fun while helping make a difference! I have been volunteering at Oxfam Aotearoa for almost a year, but they still always find ways to surprise me. Maybe it is because I’m not from New Zealand, but it seems to me that it is because of the people who work there.

“A year ago, having recently moved to New Zealand, I was studying English and looking for an opportunity to practise the language whilst also learning more about the world-famous New Zealand work-life balance. The solution was found in volunteering, which in addition to meeting my goals, made it possible to do something useful for people in need. I applied for a data maintenance role in Oxfam and was very worried before my first ‘interview’ in New Zealand. When I arrived, I was met by a smiling and shining Volunteer Coordinator, who immediately made me feel at home and I felt like the happiest person.

“I was impressed with how many volunteers are involved in the activities of Oxfam and how the charity is working at in several directions at once. In my personal opinion, one of the strongest values of Oxfam is connectedness because in some way everyone is involved in each other’s activities and projects, always sharing their ideas with colleagues – whilst also having fun.

“What can volunteering bring to you? A lot! You can improve your skills or acquire new ones, meet interesting and extraordinary people and make new friends from all over the world, gain work experience or learn more about charity work, and of course feel good by helping people. Moreover, as a foreigner you can get language practice, local work experience, references and even a job offer.  

“It’s wonderful to know that as a volunteer, I am making a difference in someone’s life who lives far away. I want to say that I’m grateful to Oxfam for allowing me to be a part of the team.”

Find out more about volunteering with Oxfam here.

Volunteer for Oxfam here

The butterfly effect – In memory and in gratitude

It is said that the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can cause a cyclone on the other side of the world.

In the same way, your individual donations to Oxfam are like the fluttering of thousands of wings that are having an incredible impact all around the world.

We would like to take a moment to reflect on the powerful legacies left to Oxfam Aotearoa, and to celebrate those who have left them. Many of our wonderful supporters have not only given generously during their lifetimes, but have also chosen to continue their impact, by leaving behind a precious gift.

With the permission of her loved ones, we wanted to celebrate the life of one of these supporters. Last year, we received a life changing bequest from Eileen, who had joined Oxfam after the Nepal earthquake in 2015. Eileen was born and grew up in Oxfordshire, and immigrated to Aotearoa when she was 21 years old.

Her dearest friend told us that Eileen was a very independent lady and that she loved exploring the world. As well as travelling to England to visit her family and friends, she also visited some exotic and far flung countries, the most recent being Antarctica. Amongst the delights of travelling, she also witnessed the deprivation that exists around the world. These experiences sparked her passion to make positive changes for our planet and those living on it. Oxfam happened to be one of the three charities fortunate enough to receive that generosity, and we are told that our objectives of working against poverty and injustice were especially important to her.

Eileen’s generosity and commitment to social justice is both incredibly humbling and inspiring. The passion of Eileen and many others; to create a fairer, safer and more just world for all, will live on through their legacy for a very long time. Bequest donations start a butterfly effect that lasts generations, they allow us to us to fund unique and innovative projects and research that we often would not otherwise be able to implement. For this special support we are deeply grateful and extremely proud to pass that legacy forward.

Click here to find out more about leaving a gift in your will and read more stories from our bequest pledgers Pauline, Mary and Diana.

Alternatively, get in touch with Bryony via email at or call 09 355 7415.