There we are – London. The place of the Beatles, Big Ben, a gherking shaped building and driving on the other side of the road. Mission: The oikos Spring Meeting 2015.
The Meeting kicked-off with a warm welcome where all the participants were given lovely handwritten name tags and motivating words were expressed by the organizing team. First off, oikos Chapter Presidents attended president meetings to brainstorm and exchange their knowledge and experiences.
The president meetings were followed by a trip to the Siemens Crystal. oikees from all over the world experienced London’s Docklands under a magnificent sun and walked into the Crystal full of curiosity. Upon entering the shiny crystal-shaped building, participants were inspired by an exhibition on sustainable development focusing on water, public transport, emission, bio-diversity, waste, health and more. The Crystal was filled with questions and quotes that encouraged participants to reflect and discover interesting facts.
On day 2 the conference officially started at the London School of Economics (LSE) with a talk by Maria Sharmina from the world renown Tyndall Centre. Inspiring and enlightening lectures followed on climate change, our unsustainable lifestyles, the functioning of the financial system (presented by the New Economics Foundation), our monetary systems and further environmental issues in finance.
Amongst all the different explanations, approaches and case studies that were presented, oikees learnt that the initial aim of money is just a common ground (currency) for exchanging goods and services. One of the keynote speakers of the day, Bernard Lietaer, explained that there have been a lot of crises (banking, monetary, sovereign debt) since our current financial system was established. Yet, until today we have not been able to learn from our mistakes, there is a risk of it becoming an unlimited disease.
On the third day, and second day of the conference, oikees walked Towards a Sustainable Finance System, as the day was named. Lectures were initiated by Simon Zadek who depicted how we can finance a sustainable future. In his role as Co-Director of the UNEP Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System he gave participants an interesting insight into what is already happening in markets and how things should be changed. Mr. Zadek’s session opened many participants’ eyes by presenting results of UNEP surveys. Amongst others, the statistic that no influential OECD country appears to be able to soon lead the change in their financial systems that is needed for a sustainable future. Instead, the leaders of “green finance” will be emerging markets!
The day proceeded with talks, amongst others, from Sean Kidney (CEO and co-founder of the Climate Bonds Initiative) and Marloes Nicholls from Move your Money and Meteos who introduced her “personal approach” concept to make the difference in the financial system. Bernard Lietaer concluded the conference days with a striking talk on our monetary systems and the important parallels of finance with other disciplines.
With incredible lunches by FoodCycle, Food4All and The People’s Supermarket and equally tasty and sustainable dinners, the Spring Meeting in London can be considered to have been an all rounded sustainable and responsible event.
“The Spring Meeting has been a transformative event for me” – Habiba Dyani, oikos Brussels
Article written by Nimisha Ghorpade, oikos Vienna members and edited by Anita Negri
Pictures by the oikos Spring Meeting Team 2015. More photos here.