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oikos History

Report on oikos Warsaw history in PDF version can be downloaded here.

Foundation of  Students' Association of Sustainable Development oikos

oikos Warsaw was founded in 1998 as a subgroup of SKN Międzynarodowych Stosunków
Gospodarczych (Academic Circle of International Economics), afterwards, it operated within the confines of student club Tramp. Since 29th November 2001 it has been operating at Warsaw School of Economics as SKN Zrównoważonego Rozwoju oikos (Students' Association of Sustainable Development oikos) in the Department of Economic Geography. The founder of the organization was prof. Adam Budnikowski, the present rector of SGH, and since 2001 Ewa Taylor Ph.D. has been the students' association tutor, from Department of Economic Geography, lecturer in economic geography, environmental economics and environmental foundations of spatial economics.

Activities in 2001-2010

In 2000, oikos International was invited to Warsaw for the first time by the informal group of oikos Warsaw. A conference Sustainability, the global challenge of the 21st century took place in Warsaw between 18th and 20th November 2000. At this event, Stanisław Sitnicki Ph.D presented his experience in environmental politics in Central West Europe and in Poland.

In the academic year of 2001/2002, a survey/poll was made which aimed to investigate the SGH students about their ecological awareness. On the occasion of a new round of meetings ”Dzień Ziemi w SGH” (Earth Day at SGH) starting on 22nd April 2001, oikos Warsaw organised a cycle of lectures on waste management, renewable energy resources and responsible business. Simultaneously, a cooperation with SGH administration was taken up to introduce selective waste collecting in the SGH halls of residence. oikos started to cooperate with SKN Międzynarodowych Studiów Ochrony Środowiska UW (Academic Cycle of International Environmental Protection Studies). In February, a common workshop and seminar were organized by both circles. The topic of the workshop was opportunities for using biomass in households and the seminar was entitled Finansowanie ochrony środowiska przez EkoFundusz (Environmental Protection Funding by EkoFundusz) and conducted by prof Tomasz Żylicz. That same year two students Agata Dąbrowska and Michał Żelazek presented a paper Ekorozwój a rozwój regionalny (Eco-development and Regional Development) at the conference organized by the Polish Economy Society. In May 2002, the students Grzegorz Gajewski i Anna Kłoczko presented a paper entitled Strefy ochrony przyrody – strefy specjalne czy uprzywilejowane? (Nature Conservation Zones. Special zones or privileged ones?) at the PES conference. A few attempts were made to establish cooperation with the Lund University, Sweden. The plan was to issue a common publication. Unfortunately, the idea was not realized because of circle's limited financial resources. The members of the circle also carried out research which resulted in the publication Dyfuzja certyfikatów ISO 14 001(ISO 14 001 Certificate Diffusion).

In April 2002 oikos Warsaw joined oikos International and officially became its local chapter.

In 2003 an important event was ”Dni Zrównoważonego Rozwoju” (”Days of Sustainable
Development”) with a scientific session ”Narodowy Plan Rozwoju” (”National Development Plan”) in which Dr Piotr Żuber took part. An interesting initiative was a publication of oikos bulletin. In June, an integration trip to Lublin and to a coal mine in Bogdanka was held, which was aimed at examining the opportunities of under-developed regions in accordance with the sustainable development rules. It is worth pointing out that 2003 was a year of an intensive international (student) exchange, e.g. participation of the circle in the meeting in Cery near Paris, conference in Paris, meeting in Brussels. The circle has organized a few projects linked to the CSR issues, i.e meetings with prof Jerzy Menkes and presenting a paper Polskie przedsiębiorstwa wobec szoku akcesyjnego (Polish Enterprises to/ towards Accession Shock) by Magdalena Słok.

In 2004 the central theme for the oikos was Zrównoważony Rozwój w Szkołach Wyższych
(Sustainable Development at Universities). oikos members analysed SGH curriculum with the focus on integrating the sustainable development concept. As a result they prepared a report entitled Zrównoważony Rozwój w Programie Nauczania Szkoły Głównej Handlowej
(Sustainable Development in SGH Educational Programme). That same year the members
wrote also a publication Rozwój zrównoważony w programie nauczania Szkoły Głównej
Handlowej (SustainableDevelopment in SGH Educational Programme). In May 2004, oikos together with SKN Transportu, Spedycji i Logistyki (Academic Circle of Transport, Spedition/ Haulage/ Carriage and Logistics) organized a seminar Zrównoważony Rozwój w Transporcie (Sustainable Development in Transport). Students had a possibility to take part in two panel discussions concentrated on passenger transport and logistics. On 22nd April 2004, in Łódź five academic circles from the whole (of) Poland, including SGH circle, participated in a conference Społeczna odpowiedzialność biznesu – nowa szansa dla Europy (Social Business Responsibility – (As) a New Chance For Europe). In this way, a project Liga Odpowiedzialnego Biznesu (Responsible Business League) was inaugurated. The circle's yearly actions resulted in two publications. The first was Społeczna odpowiedzialność biznesu (Social Business Responsibility) by Magdalena Słok and Olga Giemza, the second Znaczenie kanałów informacyjnych w procesie dyfuzji innowacji na przykładzie ISO 1400 (The Importance of Informational Channels in the Process of Innovation Diffusion on the Example of ISO 1400) by Agata Mężyńska. In that year three issues of the oikos bulletin were published.

In 2005, a few interesting meetings focusing on the sustainable development in finance took place. For instance, there was a meeting with prof Leszek Dziawgo, who was talking about ecological banks' and investment funds' offers. The following seminars were linked to the implementation of CSR in such companies as British American Tabacco.

Between 19th and 22nd October 2006, the most important event till that time for oikos Warsaw took place. It was an organization of the Autumn Meeting. This meeting had much influence on the future character of the whole organization, i.e. oikos International and its chapters. It included lectures and workshops. One of them was held with World Bank representatives who talked about economic threats and about economic activity in energy sector. It was prof Kazimierz Kuciński who gave an introducing lecture on energy crisis. It is worth noticing that this lecture inspired two following projects of the circle, i.e. Energooszczędni I and Energooszczędni II (Energy-efficient I, II). The circle's students together with Liga Odpowiedzialnego Biznesu (Responsible Business League) conducted a research (on a large scale) called ”CSR oczami studentów” (”CSR from the students' perspective”) on seven Polish universities.

Many meetings took place in 2007. Among them it is worth to mention, a three-hour seminar conducted by Grzegorz Kołodko who talked about globalization and about environmental degradation in the context of the societies’ prosperity differentiation. In October, four SGH students visited St. Gallen and a participated in the oikos Conference concerning economic growth and sustainable development.

In April 2008, the debate Kobieta w życiu publicznym (A Woman in Public Life ) was organized, focusing on the necessity of women rights in business. prof Joanna Senyszyn and Janusz Korwin-Mikke, a well-known politician, were the keynote speakers. In October 2008, students represented oikos Warsaw in Graz, while oikos Warsaw organized the project Change your thoughts, change your world. Part of it was established cooperation with the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy (Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie), and students from Hamburg and Bayreuth were invited. In October in SGH’s Aula Spadochronowa (Parachute Assembly Hall) several hundred reusable / ecological bags were distributed in order to advertise the idea of taking care of (our) environment during the daily shopping. This month was also conducted a survey of students’ knowledge about the sustainable development. In March 2008, as a part of Citizen Act II Competition, the project Society Bank was carried out, in which Marcin Gajewski took part, a member of oikos Warsaw.

The academic year 2008/2009 started successfully for oikos Warsaw because the vice-chairman of the circle, Katarzyna Negacz, was elected the president of oikos International in St.Gallen, while Tomasz Hajduk became the chairman of oikos Warsaw. In the first months of 2009 the oikos Warsaw team cooperated with Giselle Weybrecht on her publication The sustainable MBA: Toolkit for Business Students and Executives 2. The oikos role included gathering information about sustainable development trends in Polish business. In March, Dennis Pamlin read a paper on innovations in transport , which are an enormous opportunity for reducing carbonate dioxide. A month earlier, in February, Marian Moszoro delivered a business case lecture on quantitative aspects of CSR. This year were the next international meetings were held in Oslo and Belfast. Between 6th and 11th of July, oikos was a co-organizer of the first edition of “Szkoła Letnia PONTES” (“PONTES Summer School”) in Vilnius. The school held types of workshops related to a general development. As the students emphasize “we could (…) see on our own the CSR issue(s) from the point of view of the students from countries that formerly belonged to the USSR”. In 2009 Tanmayi Gummaraju, a Dutch CEMS student in the Warsaw School of Economics joined the school to the UNEP programme One Billion Tree Campaign as a part of our oikos activities. Money collected during the campaign was handed over to the UNEP for the fight against deforestation. On the 5th November, a debate CSR odpowiedzialnośćza własność (CSR Property Responsibility) took place, which was a part of country wide lecture tour focusing on competitive advantage of the companies using CSR policy. On December 4th 2009, the members of oikos Warsaw met with candidates for this organization, which was a first meeting of that sort.

In February 2010, the circle’s students T. Hajduk, K. Negacz, G. Borkowski, J. Galiszewski, T. Jagło prepared a study Strategia w obszarze społecznej odpowiedzialności biznesu dla Sodexo Pass Polska. The study was prepared on the request of Agnieszka Dujka, a former chairman of the circle, currently the operation manager of a given company. This is an excellent example of connecting the circle’s activity with business practice thanks to cooperation with the former members. On the 24th of May, the Case study Phoenix Organic: Valuing Sustainability While Desiring Growth took place, based on the book published by oikos International. This case study was prepared by Liudmila Nazarkina, an oikos PhD Fellow from the St. Gallen University, and by K. Negacz. In 2010 the next edition of the Energooszczędni II project. was held. Aside from that, in August, the next conference Second International Workshop on Business Ethics Education in Poland, Germany and Canada was held, which was coordinated by prof Ewa Chmielecka. Among the speakers was also a Polish oikos student who presented the paper Students’ perspective on Business Ethics Education – BEE Project of oikos Warsaw. Between 7th and 10th October, the Third Autumn Meeting titled Social and Economic Changes in Central and Eastern Europe after the Collapse of Communism. The meeting was held under the patronage of Andrzej Kraszewski, the Minister of the Environment, and among the invited guests (70 guests from 15 countries) were also SGH students. In the opinion of study’s authors between 2001-2010 in oikos Warsaw activities more than 150 students took part actively (each year the circle had from 15 to 20 participants). However, it is difficult to determine the accurate amount of SGH students who passively participated in the organization’s projects. There were an estimated four or five thousand students. The historical presentation of the study gives an opportunity to observe an increase in project maturity and in educational development of the circle’s members who from the passive recipients of knowledge became its creators.