Our donor screening policy

Since we try to walk (or cycle) the talk as much as we can in our own lives, naturally this extends to the way that Otesha exists as an organisation, including where our money comes from.

So where does our money come from? In order to make our income streams as diverse and sustainable as possible, we earn some of our own income through cycle tour donations, honorariums from schools and festivals, membership and from fundraising events. The rest of our income – about 75% – comes from charitable donations. Most of our grants come from family foundations, government-supported bodies, but some also come from corporate foundations. In order to make sure that all our funding relationships are in line with Otesha’s ethos, we’ve created a policy. Here’s a summary:

Corporate donations

We encourage an ongoing dialogue with all our corporate funders, with the goal of helping to encourage better and more transparent environmental, social and corporate policies and practices. And when we reject a donation we’ll write to the company to tell inform them of the reasons, and we’ll send them a copy of this policy.

The principles that help to shape this policy include:

  • Opposition to activities which contribute to climate change
  • Opposition to unsustainable exploitation and consumption of natural resources
  • Opposition to activities which degrade habitats and ecosystems
  • Opposition to trade on unfair and exploitative terms
  • Support for social, environmental and economic justice
  • Support for healthy lifestyles
  • Opposition to irresponsible use of media and advertising
  • Collectivity, consensus and inclusivity 

Positive screening

We encourage donations from corporations that are committed to environmental practices, make durable products that are good for consumers and the environment, invest their money ethically, employ local people, pay taxes into the local economy, treat their workers well, allow union organising and involve them in decision-making, have transparent supply chains and take part in voluntary certification schemes for their products and services.

Negative screening

Environmental: We won’t take money from corporations that break environmental laws; make products that are dangerous to public health or the environment; oppose environmental legislation or regulation; promote environmental citizenship without adjusting corporate practices accordingly (aka ‘greenwashing’); participate in violence against animals, including factory farming and animal testing; extract or exploit natural resources unsustainably; or that are involved in bio-engineering, biotechnology and genetically modified organisms.

Social: We won’t take money from corporations that employ sweatshop labour (or contract companies that do); are linked to the use of forced labour; employ child labour; discriminate against their employees on gender, race, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation or other grounds; fight against unionisation; sexually objectify people; manufacture weaponry; have business in nuclear energy; or make tobacco products.

Corporate and financial practices: We won’t accept money from a financial company that doesn’t have a policy setting out its ethical investment principles – or that invests significantly in activities that aren’t in line with this policy.

This policy is open to change and will be regularly reviewed and updated. If you’ve got any feedback or ideas on how to make it even stronger, please drop us a line.