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Give fast fashion the boot this autumn – join us for Second Hand September!

The fashion industry might not be the first sector you think of when it comes to big polluters –but the sector is responsible for 10 percent of global pollution.

According to research, over 92 million tonnes of waste is generated by the industry annually, while a staggering 1.5 trillion litres of water is used to make clothes. On top of that, millions of items of clothing end up in landfills across the country every year.

Since 1975, the global production of textiles has exploded –almost tripling –while the price of clothes has plummeted. Lower prices have seen shoppers buying more clothes than they really need, resulting in the phenomenon known as ‘fast fashion’.

The reality is, throwaway fashion is putting increasing pressure on our planet and people –it’s unsustainable, but there is something you can do to help.

Set yourself a personal challenge, and join us for Second Hand September as we say yes to pre-loved clothes by giving them a new lease of life!

We have 47 Oxfam shops selling high-quality pre-loved clothes, accessories, handbags, shoes and more across the island of Ireland, and our teams of nearly 1,000 staff and volunteers are ready to help you start (or continue) your journey to more sustainable fashion choices.

Ever wondered how shopping second hand in charity shops benefits the environment?

According to our own national Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy, it’s estimated that 63,000 tonnes of textiles end up in waste streams each year –to be either sent to landfills or incinerated.But through our network of shops, along with other members of the Irish Charity Shop Association, we collectively divert around 23,000 tonnes of clothing from landfill every year.

Even during the pandemic, with rolling lockdowns which meant shops were only trading for 33 weeks of the year, charity shops in Ireland managed to divert 14,775 tonnes from landfill -that’s the equivalent of the weight of Dublin Bus’s fleet of more than 1,000 vehicles! It also prevented106,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases from being released into the atmosphere.

In addition,€42 million was raised to support the world’s most vulnerable people with the help of thousands of incredible staff and volunteers. So you see, second-hand items are precious. Every pre-loved garment or item donated to, or bought at Oxfam helps our environment, while raising vital funds to fight inequality and support our global mission to beat poverty. Join us now and embark on your 30-day journey to sustainability.
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Ten takeaways from our new sustainable food systems report

21 July 2021

Today, we launched a new joint report with Trócaire entitled Sustainable Food Systems: Steps Ireland can take to become a global leader.

The document highlights rising global food insecurity and the urgency of delivering on the right to adequate food for all in sustainable ways. It also takes a closer look at the Irish government’s ambition to become a champion of fair and sustainable food systems on the global stage and offers pathways for how it can achieve this goal.

At more than 100 pages long, there’s a lot to digest in this report, but these 10 takeaways should give you a flavour of our findings:

1.

Agriculture and food systems urgently need to be transformed to reduce the threat to communities already at risk from the climate and biodiversity emergencies; land-use competition, and conflict.

2.

Moving towards sustainable food systems needs investment and strategies based on social equity; women’s empowerment; economic security; environmental regeneration, and resilience in the face of climate change and other shocks.

3.

We need binding legislation if we want to ensure the agri-food sector is fulfilling its human rights and environmental obligations throughout its value chain – this is something Ireland can and should champion on the global stage.

4.

Only a small portion of current official development assistance (ODA) spending on food and nutrition is directed toward sustainable agriculture projects. ODA support for food and nutrition security should be more clearly directed toward sustainable or agroecological initiatives.

5.

Increasing the proportion of ODA spending used to support sustainable agriculture initiatives can move us in the right direction and ensure the communities Oxfam and Trócaire work with have the tools to adapt and build climate-resilient livelihoods.

Anna James from Tanzania holds some tomato seedlings she has grown. Photo: Bill Marwa/Oxfam

6.

A national sustainable food systems body should be established to provide space for the voices of all stakeholders – including the most marginalised in Irish society – to be heard and integrated into decision-making.

7.

Narratives claiming that Ireland’s food is ‘produced sustainably’ or that we’re making great progress towards ‘driving sustainable food production’ are difficult to validate – highlighting the need for transparent ways to measure progress on the transition to sustainable food production.

8.

Irish farmers aren’t being adequately supported to transition to more sustainable agricultural methods and approaches. In some cases, they’re even penalised for their efforts to support biodiversity. We need incentivised schemes to support farmers to develop sustainable practices.

9.

Programmes with clear environmental and social sustainability objectives need to be scaled up, while there should be more investment in rural economies to help bolster the production and distribution of fresh, nutritious and local produce.

10.

We should be bolstering local markets rather than putting them at risk. Take subsidised Irish milk powder exports to West Africa, for example, where local government officials, small-scale dairy owners and farmers argue that powdered imports are nutritionally inferior and environmentally damaging, and undermine local markets and dairy production.

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Aisha’s story - Sa’adah IDP - Yemen

Aishah with her sisters Wafa* and Zahrah* in their open kitchen with empty dinnerware. They are vulnerable and have no source of income. *Names have been changed to protect identities. Photo: Ahmed Al-Fadeel/Oxfam

We had to flee from Malaheedh to Mazraq camp, where we used to be fine with the help of an INGO.

Then we had to flee airstrikes to Hudaydah, but the conditions were unimaginably harsh-we barely could eat.

We had to flee on foot. We left all our assets and carried what we could. We walked distances barefoot under the sun and many times slept under the rain. My brother helped us escape and accompanied us to this place and helped build this small shelter, but he has his own struggles and returned to take care of his family. I carried one blanket and a little bag of clothes.

It has been three years since we were displaced to this camp.

I live with a constant feeling of oppression as I have nothing at all. My children need to eat, clothes to wear and they always get sick. I get them to agencies providing emergency medical care as I’ll never afford long term medical care.

Aishah in her open kitchen with empty dinnerware. Photo: Ahmed Al-Fadeel/Oxfam

Here I don’t get any help. My children always go when there is news of distributions of food like flour, oil, or beans. Sometimes they come back with something, but many times they return empty-handed. I sometimes go with them despite my illness.

I have three boys and one girl -the oldest is 10 years old. I also have to care for my sister’s now 11-month-old girl. My husband and I got divorced and we lost contact with him. He could’ve been kidnapped or killed.

I’m their breadwinner. With my four kids and my niece, we go out every day collecting plastic bottles and metal cans to sell for recycling, and with the little we earn, we buy food to eat. I always go out with all my kids to earn for food, unless one of them is sick.

All I earn from selling plastic and metal cans goes to whatever food I can afford. I’ve never earned enough to last for the next day. I already struggle to get milk for my infant girl and rarely get to buy diapers. I buy one bottle of milk (300ml) for whole day and night.

On a lucky day, we earn 1700 –2000 YR (almost $3) and I can buy yogurt, a few vegetables and bread. I buy flour when I can and make bread. I use cardboard boxes or newspapers to make my cooking fires -wood or gas are privileges I can never to afford. I make lunch and if there are leftovers, my children have that for dinner, but we’re used to sleeping with empty stomachs.

Daily meals: if enough is earned

Breakfast: Yogurt

Lunch: A few vegetables –if I earn more than 2000YR, I buy half a chicken I‘m usually able to once a week. When we haven’t earned anything, I ask people for bread and that’s all we have to eat.

Wafa* and Zahrah* eating some charity stale bread. It is the only food available to them (11:00 PM / they have not eaten any breakfast). *Names have been changed to protect identities. Photo: Ahmed Al-Fadeel/Oxfam

Our most common meal is bread with yogurt.

Many times, I have nothing at all to give my children to eat for over a day.

Today for breakfast we had only hard loaves of leftover bread from yesterday. Yesterday we had nothing at all, until some people passed by giving away bread. They were saviours.

Most of the time, our daily meal could be one yogurt only, or few potatoes or bread when there is some. Other times it’s nothing at all.

“Most of the times, when we have little to nothing to eat, I struggle to get my children to sleep at night. They ask for food and I try to distract them, telling them stories and speaking to them until they’re asleep, then I look at them and pray for a better life until I get stolen by sleep.”

I have experienced harsh situations where my children ask me for more food, and I have nothing to give them. They ask me why we cannot eat chicken, meat, etc... It burns my heart, but I try to stay strong, I’ve great deal of patience and faith in Almighty God. It was painful in the beginning as I attempted to teach my children to be patient, and then they got used to it. For years now, a day goes without breakfast, another without lunch or dinner. When I earn little extra, I rush to get them the little I can afford of what they desire to eat.

My hope is that my kids get to eat what they want. I wonder if they’ll ever get to eat meat or fish? I don’t recall the last time we had a decent meal. I just hope they get to live happily and get what they want.

I hope this war ends and that I get a sewing machine and fabric to be able to produce something and have a decent sustainable income that saves me and my children from the struggle and suffering. I hope INGOs help us with cash to buy food or provide us emergency food assistance. We need programmes that builds our resilience and restores livelihoods.

Vaccine monopolies are increasing the cost of vaccinating the world against Covid

Published: July 29th 2021

Homepage image by: Nataliya Vaitkevich

In a briefing note published today, The Global People’s Vaccine Alliance highlighted examples of how just much both developing and wealthier nations have been potentially overpaying for Covid-19 vaccines.

  • The EU may have overpaid for their 1.96 billion Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines by as much as €31 billion.
  • Pfizer/ BioNTech are charging their lowest reported price of €5.72 to the African Union but this is still nearly 6 times more than the estimated potential production cost of this vaccine.
  • Colombia, which has been badly affected by Covid, has been paying double the price paid by the US for Moderna vaccines.

The cost of vaccinating the world against Covid-19 could be at least five times cheaper if pharmaceutical companies weren’t profiteering from their monopolies on vaccines.

New analysis by the Global People’s Vaccine Alliance shows that Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have been charging governments as much as €34.7 billion above the estimated cost of production!

So, despite the rapid rise in Covid cases and deaths we are witnessing across the world, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have been charging up to 24 times the potential cost of production, and they have sold over 90 percent of their vaccines so far to rich countries only… join the dots?

It is true that just last week Pfizer/BioNTech announced it would licence a South African company to fill and package 100 million Covid-19 vaccines doses for use in Africa, but this is a tiny drop in the ocean of incredible need.

Neither company has agreed to fully transfer vaccine technology and know-how with any capable producers in developing countries, a move that could increase global supply, drive down prices and save millions of lives.

The Alliance’s analysis of the vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna – which had an injection of public funding to the tune of €7 billion by the way – suggests these vaccines could be made for as little as €1 a dose.

In response to the analysis, our Chief Executive Jim Clarken, said:

Pharmaceutical companies are holding the world to ransom at a time of unprecedented global crisis. This is perhaps one of the most lethal cases of profiteering in history.

Budgets that could be used for building more health facilities in low-income countries are instead being raided by CEOs and shareholders of these all-powerful corporations.

The Alliance says it is vital that vaccine manufacturers are forced to justify why their vaccines cost more, but says that open competition is also vital to bring down prices and increase supply.

The People’s Vaccine Alliance, both here in Ireland and globally, is calling on all governments to insist that the vaccine technology is transferred – to enable all qualified manufacturers worldwide, especially those in developing countries, to produce these vaccines. Governments should also urgently approve a waiver of intellectual property rules related to Covid-19 technologies as proposed by South Africa and India.

The waiver, which has been supported by over 100 nations including the US and France has been repeatedly blocked by the European Union – and Ireland.

Maaza Seyoum, from the African Alliance and People’s Vaccine Alliance Africa, said:

What possible reason then do the governments of the EU have to ignore the repeated calls from developing countries to break the vaccine monopolies that could drive up production while driving down price?

Enabling developing country manufacturers to produce vaccines is the fastest and surest way to ramp up supply and dramatically drive down prices. When this was done for HIV treatment, we saw prices drop by up to 99 percent.

As Irelands reaches the milestone of 70 percent of its adult population being fully vaccinated, less than one percent of people in low-income countries have received a vaccine, while the profits made by the companies has seen the CEOs become billionaires.

Will you take action for a #PeoplesVaccine today?

Help us put the pressure on by asking your TDs to call on our political leaders to meet with Members of the People’s Vaccine Alliance Ireland as a matter of urgency.

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Reactive: Famine Review Committee - Ethiopia

Media Reactive

For immediate release

In response to the new report by the IPC Famine Review Committee, Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland said:

“The IPC report by independent food security experts today confirms our fears, that now 400,000 people are experiencing catastrophic hunger in Tigray, Ethiopia. The report’s projections for the future are even more grim, making predictions that there is a high risk of famine.

“Farmers should have been planting the crops they rely on to eat and sell, but many had to flee their lands, and others who stayed couldn’t plant because they couldn’t access their fields or didn’t have seeds. This comes even after the unilateral ceasefire, which was not observed as expected. Those who can get to markets are struggling to buy essential goods, as food and materials can’t cross into the conflict zones. This will only deepen and prolong this cycle of hunger and the need for aid. People who have been forced from their homes do not have enough food, clean water, or access to sanitation - and the spread of disease is on top of malnutrition is an additional major threat.

“This comes at a time when Oxfam and other humanitarians are struggling to reach those in urgent need and after a number of humanitarians have already been attacked and killed. Just this week, an aid convoy carrying materials for the UN and Oxfam was attacked by unknown forces and movement of humanitarian aid has been put on hold as a result.

“There is a true catastrophe unfolding before our eyes. The people of Ethiopia are doing all they can to support themselves and each other to survive, but need access to vital resources like food, clean water, safe shelter, and cash, and to be able to return to farming and feel hopeful they can harvest their crops in peace. Oxfam calls on all parties to respect international law, to protect civilians and ensure they are able to access humanitarian aid in safety.”

END
 

Contact
Caroline Reid, Communications Manager, caroline.reid@oxfam.org

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