This document is intended to support you in your effort to have an effective oikos Advisory Council. Whether (1) you are only starting to build up such a board, (2) you are searching for new members in your Advisory Council, or (3) you would like to boost the effectiveness of your Advisory Council, this documents gives you an idea of what the role of an Advisory Council could be and which people to approach best.
I. The Advisory Council comprises a minimum of three representatives from academia, business, politics, NGOs and other interest groups who actively support the activities of the association on an ongoing basis. At least one member of the Advisory Council should be a former member of a local oikos group.
II. Members of the Advisory Council are elected by the Member’s Assembly for a two-year term.
III. Members of the Advisory Council are entitled to take part in the Member’s Assembly. They may put forward proposals in the Member’s Assembly.
IV. Members of the Advisory Council pay an annual fee equivalent to the fee for the association’s members.
(Here in Switzerland this last sentence is important for liability reasons)
An active Advisory Council is able to give you advice on specific projects and general strategic decisions. It may facilitate contacts to other networks and decision makers.
Building up an Advisory Council helps you to take strategic action in the oikos areas of action.
You might scan the entire oikos environment on the lookout for Advisors. Starting from established networks and contacts can facilitate finding knowledgeable and motivated Advisors and convincing them to support oikos.
Have a look at the Chart at the end of the document, displaying the oikos environment that you could target for your Council.
The oikos Advisors should be committed to actively support you. Making your expectations clear and explicit can help to find committed Advisors and maximise the benefit you get from them. When contacting potential Advisory, you thus might provide the following checklist:
Asking someone to be part of the Advisory Council needs careful preparation. If the person you want to invite does not know oikos, a first contact should be established providing information about oikos. In a follow up, try to organise a personal, bilateral conversation to invite the person to act as an Advisor. Tell him/her why you think that he/she is the best person to take over this position.
Based on his/her position in the oikos environment and on the personal background of the person in question you may use different arguments. For example:
For additional information have a look at the oikos Advisor Environment Chart.
Spend some thoughts on the benefits the Advisor gets by engaging with oikos.
Benefits of joining the oikos Advisory Council (e.g.):
If you start an Advisory Council from scratch, think about persons that might be persuaded easily to enter the Advisory Council first. Do also contact oikos International to see if some oikos Alumni are living in your town and would be happy to join oikos again.
You may also ask oikos International Advisors or other Local Chapter Advisors to give you some references. They might talk to the people you envisage for your Council and give them an insight into the role of an oikos Advisor.
The oikos Advisor Retreat is an annual two day event that brings together oikos Advisors from across all oikos chapters. It is designed to further leverage the great potential oikos Advisors offer and to ensure that their time and commitment leads to a maximum impact within oikos.
Head of Sustainability Research at University of Witten/Herdecke
Chapter: oikos Witten/Herdecke
Advisor since December 2006
“I see my role in supporting the oikos Students to integrate sustainability into teaching and research by setting up a major field of study in sustainability. I am the students contact person when they seek to invite external experts into seminars at University. Helping the students develop concepts on different sustainability topics is another field of support which I enjoy very much.”
University Priest in Cologne and board member of the SÜDWIND Institute
Chapter: oikos Cologne
Advisor since April 2007
“In my role as University Priest I recognized that the topics of sustainability are rarely integrated in teaching and research at the Universities faculty of economics.
Therefore I strongly support the oikos activities as a needed corrective.
As a member of the board of the SÜDWIND Research Institute I am interested in sustainable development focussing on the north and the south likewise. In this field of study I connect oikos with interesting speakers.”
Associate Professor, Hosei University Tokyo; Partner at UR Management GmbH in Zurich
oikos Alumni (active in 1989-1995)
Chapter: oikos St.Gallen
Advisor since 2002
“I act as a coach to the team whenever there is a need: Delivering expertise from my own research, assisting in networking and contributing specific know-how from my own experience as an oikos member (organisational memory).”
“My motivation to be part of the oikos Advisory Council in St.Gallen lies in the continuing challenge to interpret the topics of sustainability and to fill them with initiatives that integrate sustainability at universities as well as in the business environment. Thanks to oikos I was able to make this challenge my profession.”