Introducing our Summer Network Champion


johanna gosling

We are very pleased to announce our Summer Network Champion of 2016 is Jo Gosling, Environmental Manager at Oxfam GB. We interview Jo for insight into her work, achievements and future vision for sustainability at Oxfam GB. Choosing a Network Champion is all about recognising the outstanding work being done by an individual within the Network, both for their own organisation and the Fit for the Future group as a whole.


Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Oxfam GB?

At Oxfam GB We have a devolved model to managing our environmental impact where each team is responsible and accountable for the environmental impact of their activities. My role is to provide strategic advice and support to operational teams to implement our Corporate Responsibility policies and help make our UK activities more sustainable. I also manage environmental accountability reporting for Oxfam GB and the wider Oxfam confederation.

My main focus is on reporting, energy, commodities in our supply chains and communication but it’s a varied role so many other questions may fall on my desk!


What do you enjoy most about your work?

Without a doubt, the commitment and dedication of Oxfam staff and volunteers to achieve a world without poverty. Working in an environment as driven as the one I have the privilege to work in is both humbling and motivating.

More specifically about my role, I love that no two days are the same…With the exception of reporting season! From policies to commodities, I am constantly being pushed to learn more, something I really love. It keeps my brain bubbling with ideas!


Can you tell us about a project/ projects that you are particularly proud of?

We have made great progress recently in our Trading Logistics network, reducing our total mileage by nearly 2000,000 miles since 2011 and saving over £250,000. We have also refitted 200 shops with LED lighting to improve our energy efficiency. There are more challenges to overcome but we know we are doing the right thing and are using the recommendations from our ESOS report to inform our plans.

Another great achievement for us is paper. Since 2006, we’ve reduced our paper consumption by over 70%. We’ve also developed a due diligence process for wood and paper products sourcing which feeds into our annual reporting. Being able to track paper informs us that over 95% of the paper purchased through HQ is either recycled or from credibly certified sources.


Oxfam Cowley shop

Photo Credit: Rachel Manns/Oxfam © Rachel Manns


Which other organisations have you worked with through the Network and what have been the positive results?

I have mostly worked with the members of the Energy Management group, which includes RSPB, National Trust, RNLI and Cancer Research UK. There is such a wealth of skills and experience within Fit for the Future; it’s great to have a network of peers you can go to for questions and advice and share your own experiences with too. That is the great thing about the Network; others have been there before you and are happy to share. Most environmental networks are private sector focused and although we face similar challenges to companies, the context in which we evolve is different.

I also recently supported the RSPB in organizing and co-hosting two energy-monitoring events for other members of Fit for the Future Network. It was great to share our lessons learnt and I left with ideas and new knowledge on energy management, which will be very helpful as we start rolling out AMRs.


What would be your future vision for Oxfam in terms of sustainability? 

The scope of our corporate responsibility work is growing and the landscape in which we work has changed a lot too recently due to new legislation such as Modern Slavery Act and ESOS. This has prompted us to rethink how we can be more effective and we are now working on a large governance piece, which both increases the scope of our corporate responsibility work and harmonises our approach across a range of activities – from operations to supply chains and partnerships. We are also considering how our work on labour and environment can be mutually beneficial. It is very new and exciting.

Globally, Oxfam is also changing; Oxfam 2020 is a confederation-wide change programme that is reshaping the charity in order to increase our relevance and impact. Affiliates are increasingly working together as part of this new structure and I’m excited to explore what opportunities could arise from this for environmental sustainability.


Would you like to nominate anyone you have worked with through the Network as a future Network Champion?

I’d like to nominate Alessandra McConville from Cancer Research UK!


Check out our Network champions hall of fame, and let us know if you’d like to nominate someone you’ve worked with in the Network 

Featured image Rachel Manns/Oxfam  © Rachel Manns