Economic justice

Our work following the economic crisis aims to:
  • Ensure the lessons of the crisis are not lost. The economy must work for people and planet and not the reverse.
  • Make the needs poor small businesses and farmers a priority in economic and private sector plans, such as those discussed at the G20.
  • Promote regulation of international finance, trade and investment that works for development.

In light of global recession, climate change and persisting poverty, we must rethink how to make the global economy work for development.

Global markets have delivered too much risk and not enough return for the millions of men and women living in poverty. Many poor workers, small business owners and farmers suffered devastating consequences of the 2008 financial crisis because of their vulnerable position in global markets. Many others were excluded and simply not benefiting in the first place.

Faith in markets to deliver progress has been shaken, and the moral responsibilities of individuals and governments in guiding the economy have been rediscovered. The need to put economic growth back in its place as a tool for real progress, not a proxy for progress or a goal in its own right has risen up the policy agenda.

Politicians have acknowledged that we are “all in this together” and that vast global inequalities are not just indefensible, they are unsustainable and hurt us all by generating instability and dampening the global economy

Policy and research documents on economic justice

Found 22 results

  • ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT TOWARDS RESILIENT AND SUSTAINABLE LOCAL ECONOMIES: Key learning from partners and entrepreneurs in the Middle East,  Asia, A... ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT TOWARDS RESILIENT AND SUSTAINABLE LOCAL ECONOMIES: Key learning from partners and entrepreneurs in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America (3mb, pdf)
    Gisele Henriques, Sustainbility Lead at CAFOD

    CAFOD’s Enterprise Development approach aims to transform the lives of the poorest and most disadvantaged through a commitment to strengthening local economic development via small enterprises. Enterprise development projects can be extremely effective in empowering people because they support dignified livelihoods and, in that process, improve self-esteem, social cohesion and solidarity. This requires engaging with the enabling environment and advocating for the right structures, conditions and opportunities that support decent work.

    Locally owned small businesses play a central role in thriving communities and are among the best engines for advancing inclusive economic opportunity and building economic resilience. They also support people’s capacity to do for themselves. Underpinning our approach to Enterprise Development (ED) is Catholic Social Teaching (CST) which recognises that economic activities must operate within a certain broader moral framework with honesty and accountability, respect for human dignity, fairness, and a vision of integral and authentic development that goes beyond mere material profit. In this learning synthesis we share lessons from our partners and the entrepreneurs they support. It contains 11 case studies from across Asia, Africa and Latin America.  Key lessons include: the importance of understanding the local market, investing in business plans, fostering collective action for increased voice and agency, supporting good governance structures in small business and understanding the enabling environment.   

  • Access to justice for Bangladeshi migrant workers: Opportunities and challenges Access to justice for Bangladeshi migrant workers: Opportunities and challenges (5mb, pdf)
    Shakirul Islam, Founding Chairman of OKUP

    This research paper aims to highlight the challenges and barriers to justice faced by women and girl migrant workers who fall victim to abuse and exploitation following migration to the Middle East to work in domestic service. Based on the extensive experience of Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program (OKUP) working with women migrant workers, and using detailed evidence from 110 cases of women and girl migrants who survived abuse and exploitation, this paper highlights the gaps in the current justice system and puts forward recommendations for its improvement. The cases were collected as part of OKUP’s ongoing support through the “Empowerment of women and girls migrant workers, communities and key institutions to protect and promote migrant workers’ rights and access to justice” project funded by the European Union and in partnership with the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD).

  • Reliant on Relationships: environmental and working conditions among Kenyan smallholder farmer Reliant on Relationships: environmental and working conditions among Kenyan smallholder farmer - Summary Document (157kb, pdf)
    Linda Lönnqvist, CAFOD

    CAFOD and partner organisation Jesuit Hakimani Centre set out to find out what decent and green work looks like to ordinary Kenyans in rural areas. We interviewed maize farmers, livestock traders, veterinary inspectors and egg farmers in four marginalised areas of Kenya. We were told that people depend on family in times of need, that the  goodwill of the boss is crucial, that only the best workers get hired again tomorrow, and that group enterprises are a way to get ahead. People take care of their environmental wastes and are good at certain “circular economy” practices. The longer paper contains recommendations on how we can take these realities into account in our programmes and policy work.

  • Reliant on Relationships: environmental and working conditions among Kenyan smallholder farmers Reliant on Relationships: environmental and working conditions among Kenyan smallholder farmers (2mb, pdf)
    Linda Lönnqvist, CAFOD

    CAFOD and partner organisation Jesuit Hakimani Centre set out to find out what decent and green work looks like to ordinary Kenyans in rural areas. We interviewed maize farmers, livestock traders, veterinary inspectors and egg farmers in four marginalised areas of Kenya. We were told that people depend on family in times of need, that the  goodwill of the boss is crucial, that only the best workers get hired again tomorrow, and that group enterprises are a way to get ahead. People take care of their environmental wastes and are good at certain “circular economy” practices. The longer paper contains recommendations on how we can take these realities into account in our programmes and policy work.

  • The Charter4Change Oslo Annual Meeting Communique 2018 The Charter4Change Oslo Annual Meeting Communique 2018 (154kb, pdf)
    Charter4Change Coordination Group

    The 3rd Annual Charter4Change meeting took place in Oslo in December 2018. CAFOD was represented by Anne Street, Head of humanitarian Policy and Laura Donkin, Humanitarian Capacity Strengthening Manager. The Communique provides highlights from the meeting and the progress made so far by the 36 Signatories towards the 8 localisation commitments of the Charter. CAFOD was a founding Charter4Change organisation back in 2015 together with Christian Aid, DanChurch Aid and the NEAR [Southern NGO] Network .

  • Decent green jobs How to achieve decent green jobs?

    We are out of time for treating human and environmental needs as two separate and competing priorities. It is time to create decent and green jobs: work designed in a way that gives a decent livelihood to the worker, while counteracting environmental degradation and climate change. Designed in the right way, they can even be transformational: creating a ripple effect of positive change in the social, economic and environmental spheres.

  • Building Resilient Livelihoods Towards Local Economic Development Building Resilient Livelihoods Towards Local Economic Development (10mb, pdf)
    Gisele Henriques and Sarah Montgomery, CAFOD

    This practitioner’s toolkit supports partners to reflect on their enterprise development initiatives and foster better linkages to markets,  supporting resilient local economies. The guide introduces tools that support market analysis, reflections on the business enabling environment and offers guidance on structuring business plans that are commercially viable and lift people out of poverty in a sustainable way.

  • Briefing: How can CDC use DFID’s planned funding of £3.5bn to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals? Briefing: How can CDC use DFID’s planned funding of £3.5bn to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals? (314kb, pdf)

    As a Catholic development agency, CAFOD has decades of experience working with its partners and communities on economic development, including through the private sector. The CDC Group is a Development Finance Institution owned by the UK Government and overseen by the Department for International Development (DFID). CDC works with the private sector in Africa and South Asia, investing Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) provided by DFID to achieve a financial return and development impact. In October 2017 DFID published a business case to invest £3.1-3.5 billion via CDC over the period 2017-2022. This is CAFOD’s response.

  • New pathways out of poverty in Africa: the promise of sustainable and inclusive agricultural transformation New pathways out of poverty in Africa: the promise of sustainable and inclusive agricultural transformation (4mb, pdf)
    CAFOD and Christian Aid

    Agricultural transformation has become a development priority for African governments and the international development community. In this report CAFOD and Christian Aid show why agricultural transformation is fundamental to a permanent end to hunger and poverty in Africa but highlight the risk that agricultural transformation strategies can increase inequality and further degrade the environment. We then set out four priority areas for future dialogue and action on agricultural transformation in Africa.

  • Towards decent, green jobs for all Towards decent, green jobs for all (6mb, pdf)
    CAFOD and Christian Aid

    This discussion paper bridges the green and decent work agendas. It presents a framework for working towards green and decent jobs and highlights four emerging priorities to take this agenda forward.

  • How can a Green Economy Power the SDGs? How can a Green Economy Power the SDGs? (2mb, pdf)
    Graham Gordon, Head of Public Policy at CAFOD

    If Green Economy approaches are going to support the sustainable development goals, they need to be take a much more transformational approach and focus beyond technical and economic priorities. Rooting the plans in the SDGs, they need a greater focus on citizen participation, leave no-one behind and environmental sustainability. This briefing summarises an analysis of existing Green Economy plans and recommends priorities for future work.  

  • Delivering sustainable development: A principled approach to public-private finance - April 2015 Delivering sustainable development: A principled approach to public-private finance - April 2015 (369kb, pdf)

    Achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) will require significant amounts of money. Governments across the world are increasingly looking at ways of working with the private sector to provide this money, but the challenge is to ensure that all finance contributes to sustainable development. For this to happen, we propose a set of principles for all governments to apply both in the project and programme design and development as well as in any monitoring and accountability mechanisms.

  • Common Good and the Economy Common Good and the Economy (732kb, pdf)

    CAFOD considers how Catholic Social Teaching and the theme of the ‘common good’ can form the basis of a much-needed reframing of the UK and global economies.

  • What is inclusive growth? (summary paper) – August 2014 What is inclusive growth? (summary paper) – August 2014 (273kb, pdf)

    This paper summarises the key points of our full “what is inclusive growth” discussion paper considering briefly the context for inclusive growth, a working definition for the concept and some important criteria for those wanting to achieve it. A short case study considering the role that small businesses could play in delivering inclusive growth is also presented.

  • What is inclusive growth? (full paper) – August 2014 What is inclusive growth? (full paper) – August 2014 (397kb, pdf)

    Achieving inclusive growth is increasingly desirable for governments, institutions and donors. But what exactly is it and how do we achieve it? This CAFOD discussion paper considers the context for inclusive growth, proposes a working definition for the concept and identifies some important criteria for those wanting to achieve it. We end the paper with a short case study considering the role that small businesses could play in delivering inclusive growth.

  • Thinking small Thinking small

    This resource collection contains some of CAFOD’s thinking and work around the role that small businesses play in reducing poverty and what we can do to better support this important sector.

  • Doing Business extra Doing Business extra

    All our papers, reviews and recommendations on the World Bank's Doing Business Review.

  • CIDSE statement for G20 St Petersburg Summit (March 2013) CIDSE statement for G20 St Petersburg Summit (March 2013) (401kb, pdf)

    Russia’s presidency of the G20 should mark a new phase in its work on development and a greater attention to making markets work for poverty eradication and environmental sustainability.

  • Investors running wild on land (January 2013) Investors running wild on land (January 2013) (545kb, pdf)

    In this briefing, supported by CAFOD, Traidcraft Exchange makes the case that global investment rules are imbalanced and risk undermining important development impacts of foreign investment and can even threaten food security.

  • Aid for trade report (December 2012) Aid for trade report (December 2012) (1,009kb, pdf)

    Donors need to do more to know if their spending on economic development is having an impact on the poorest entrepreneurs. This research, commissioned by Traidcraft Exchange, examines UK and EU spending on “aid for trade” . The study was supported by CAFOD as part of their Thinking Small work, which promotes support for poor producers and small businesses as a sustainable route out of poverty.

  • Green Economy (May 2012) Green Economy (May 2012) (218kb, pdf)

    A brief which unpicks different approaches to the green economy, to identify what changes would really work for poor men and women.

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