Is sustainable development something that can be learned?

Last Saturday, on the 70th birthday of the United Nations, in the KOSTKA Jesuit middle school in Kraków, a project on sustainable development was launched under the name “Education is a Window to the World”. This initiative is organised by The Bridge Foundation in strategic partnership with OKNOPLAST Group. The Goodwill Ambassador of the project is Małgorzata Kożuchowska.


“Education is a Window to the World” is an international educational project aimed at bringing global phenomena and challenges to young people: environmental, social and cultural, to facilitate the understanding of their impact on Poland. The project integrates the entire school community: students, teachers and parents. Classes are conducted based on three main pillars: screenings of documentaries, presentations by experts and practical modules developing the skills of critical thinking, planning and efficient decision making. This methodology brings out the potential of the young people and makes them the ambassadors of change who will be able to reinvest their knowledge into their personal development and the development of their environments.

What is sustainable development?

There have been a number of definitions for sustainable development, but the first one was formulated in the 1987 Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, commonly known as the Brundtland Report: “Sustainable development seeks to meet the needs and aspirations of the present without compromising the ability to meet those of the future.” – “The economy of sustainable development is not an option, it is a necessity. The natural capital remains one of the assets that market mechanisms are unable to properly promote and protect. This is why we need education and in-depth, engaging discussion on the regulations protecting the ecosystems, which are the sources of our prosperity.”. – explains Adam Koniuszewski, energy policy and finance expert in The Bridge Foundation.

The greatest cultural transformation of the 21st Century is the growing awareness of social and environmental agenda, facilitated by new technologies. The transformation of the economy from high-emission to low-emission by improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and recycling improves the profitability of businesses. Mikołaj Placek, Chairman of OKNOPLAST Group, states: “Buildings consume 40% of the total energy demand. Appropriate construction technology – including windows – improves the energy efficiency and is the key to increasing energy safety in Europe.”

The energy saving potential of building renovations, both in Poland and abroad, is very large, since 80% of buildings that will exist in 2050 have already been built. Under the strategic partnership, OKNOPLAST Group provides i.a. expert consultations on the state-of-the-art technologies applied in energy-saving PVC windows and doors. As the industry trendsetter, OKNOPLAST has developed over 30 innovative solutions. In 2003, OKNOPLAST was the first to introduce thermal insulation windows, which guarantee low heat loss and thus reduce building heating costs.

The vast majority of the generation aged 30+ to 70+, particularly politicians and business leaders, are people who have not learned about environment protection and sustainable development in school, as the curriculum did not use to cover these subjects. “Only in recent years have the leading business schools, such as Stanford, Harvard or Yale, joined the debate and introduced these topics in their MBA curricula. The “Education is a Window to the World” project shows how to present in educational programmes the economic and social challenges of our times in terms of energy, climate change, emissions and water and soil pollution. No country can face these challenges alone, and the only way to success is joining forces,” adds Margo Koniuszewski, Chairwoman of The Bridge Foundation.

The partners of the project include leading international businesses and institutions. The scientific partner is the Faculty of Biotechnology and Horticulture of the University of Agriculture in Kraków, a dynamic university successfully working on international projects in a variety of fields. The technological partner is Concept Music Art, a company specialising in the management of conferences and media events in Poland and in Europe.