Campus - 29.10.2015 - 00:00 

Sustainable education systems

How can sustainability be integrated into teaching? This is what the participants in the Oikos FutureLab discussed in St.Gallen’s Pfalzkeller on 27 October 2015. Food for thought was provided by speakers from academia and practice.


28 October 2015. “Make education matter – now!” It was with this call for influential and sustainable education that students opened this year’s Oikos FutureLab, a conference focusing on sustainable education systems. Sustainable education concerned everyone, the students made clear: teachers, students, but also executive staff from trade and industry, entrepreneurs and politicians.

Subsequently, three speakers highlighted problems of management and business education and put forward ideas about how these problems could be solved.

The next ten years will be decisive

John Elkington from the Volans think tank pointed out that the next ten years would be decisive for the further development of business education. We should consider education to be the most important investment that we make. Economic disproportions, tensions between the generations, geopolitical unrest, food distribution and population growth were challenges that would have an impact on business education in the coming years. However, networks such as Oikos had a great potential for changing these things.

Learning from the future

Consultant Martin Kalungu-Banda from the Presencing Institute warned that it would not be sufficient to learn from the past since the past contained no good equivalences for today’s problems. Rather, business schools should learn from the future while it was evolving. Also, business education should concentrate more on people as such.

Education should activate three levels of knowledge: an open mind, an open heart and an open will. For this purpose prejudice, cynicism and fear must be restrained. Martin Kalungu-Banda, too, recommended that participants should form networks with as many people as possible.

Oikos President Anita Negri identified the challenges in establishing a creative and innovative culture of sustainability at the universities. At the same time, teachers must really internalise the issue of sustainability and all stakeholders must apply and support the same methods.

Exploiting opportunities

Finally Thomas Dyllick, the HSG’s Delegate for Responsibility and Sustainability, gave the following recommendation to students: “Exploit the opportunities that exist at your university. Speak to the professors, get involved in the configuration of teaching and invite guest speakers.”

The Oikos FutureLab unites students and speakers connected with the student initiative Oikos on an annual basis. On two days, 140 participants develop ideas for sustainable and influential education systems and for the future of sustainability in management and the economy.

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