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Abstract

For over a decade, Oxfam has increasingly interacted with the private sector as a means to address the wicked problem of poverty. For Oxfam, poverty is caused by injustice and is a consequence of people’s inability to materialize their human rights. Such rights-based approach to development shapes Oxfam’s view on how businesses can play a role in achieving socially responsible and sustainable economic progress. In this contribution, we present an overview of Oxfam’s Private Sector Programme and discuss some of its key features concerning policy and practice. In particular, we define four areas in which Oxfam’s Private Sector Programme exerts change: markets, rules, knowledge, and empowerment. We also discuss some of the risks and excuses commonly faced by Oxfam and we pose some questions for future research.

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