Oxfam Canada Environmental Stewardship Policy

Environmental degradation and climate change increase the vulnerability and undermine the resilience of women and men, girls and boys living in poverty. Impact varies depending on gender, geography and other elements of diversity. But the global, cumulative consequences of despoiled environments and changing climate mean that in the longer term, no one will be spared.

Approved by the Oxfam Canada Board of Directors, 27 February 2011


Purpose

Oxfam Canada seeks to end poverty and injustice. A safe, sustainable world is critical to success.

Environmental degradation and climate change increase the vulnerability and undermine the resilience of women and men, girls and boys living in poverty. Impact varies depending on gender, geography and other elements of diversity. But the global, cumulative consequences of despoiled environments and changing climate mean that in the longer term, no one will be spared.

This policy sets out Oxfam Canada’s approach to managing and mitigating the impact on the environment and on communities of all our activities using effective, measurable methods. It also serves as a learning tool for staff, Board Directors and volunteers.


Scope

All of Oxfam Canada’s institutional and programmatic activities are included within the scope of this Environmental Stewardship Policy. 

The responsibility is on all Oxfam Canada staff, Board Directors and volunteers to use more environmentally friendly practices.

Oxfam Canada will encourage others to create and maintain environmentally sustainable practices.

This policy includes two sets of Guidelines, one concerning Oxfam’s institutional operations and program activities in Canada; the other relating to Oxfam Canada’s international programs. 


Oxfam Canada’s Environmental Stewardship Statement

Oxfam Canada will take every action with a view to promoting a healthy, sustainable environment and reducing its ecological footprint. Every project, operation or activity must minimize its negative impact on the environment and on communities.

Oxfam Canada will be a leader in Environmental Stewardship at home and abroad by minimizing the environmental impacts inherent in our current ways of working and through the pursuit of appropriate methods of reducing our ecological footprint, including our carbon footprint, and enhancing sustainability.

Oxfam Canada will support partners and initiatives that protect and enhance the environment and  increase the resilience of communities affected by climate change and environmental degradation.

Annually, Oxfam Canada will measure, monitor, evaluate and report its practices with a view to continual improvements and further reductions of environmental impacts.


Accountability

The Director of Organizational Services will report annually to the Board on progress in implementing the Environmental Stewardship Policy.  This information will also be made publicly available.


Definitions

Carbon Footprint
The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Ecological Footprint
A measure of the area of land and water a human population would hypothetically need to provide all the resources required to support itself and to absorb its wastes.

Environmental Stewardship
The responsibility for environmental quality shared by all those whose actions affect the environment, reflected as both a value and a practice by individuals, companies, communities, and government organizations. Positive stewardship behavior demonstrates acceptance of this responsibility through the continuous improvement of environmental performance to achieve measurable results and sustainable outcomes.

LEED Standards
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design: a third-party certification program and an internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

Sustainability
The ability to meet people’s needs today, while facilitating the capacity for future generations to live in a global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice and a culture of peace.