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Benchmarking carbon performance

Oxfam faces difficult challenges in trying to cut its carbon emissions without compromising on its relief, development and advocacy work across the world. Its operational footprint includes such diverse elements as the airlifting of emergency equipment, electricity and gas use in over 750 charity shops, the transport of volunteers to large fundraising events and staff travel in countries with minimal transport infrastructure.

Oxfam has been calculating the carbon footprint of its operations since 2006, and has been working with Best Foot Forward to reduce the figure year-on-year. In 2009 Best Foot Forward produced a footprint study working in partnership with our associate consultant Danny Chivers to add the embodied carbon from Oxfam’s multi-million pound supply chain into its annual footprint total for the first time – a groundbreaking step amongst international development charities.

In 2010, Best Foot Forward and Oxfam followed up on this previous work to help the charity to understand the best way to achieve substantial carbon reductions. Best Foot Forward worked again with Danny Chivers to compile a benchmarking study to help Oxfam to tackle its unique challenges.

It compared Oxfam's carbon performance in a wide range of areas – air travel, business ground travel, freight, shop and office energy use, supply chain, commuting, and external printing – with a number of organisations with similar activities. The study also presented relevant carbon reduction case studies for each of these key areas.

The report will play a vital role in developing Oxfam's strategy for 2011/12. You can keep track of Oxfam's progress on carbon reduction through its annual reports.

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