Poland’s responsible companies reached the record-breaking number of 1,700, according to the Responsible Business Forum, the largest NGO in Poland addressing the concept of corporate social responsibility. In the annual publication of the Responsible Business in Poland. Good Practices report, the number of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities has increased by around 10 per cent.
In particular, environmental practices have turned out to be the most dynamically growing area with an increase of over 35 per cent in relation to the previous report. The 321 examples of activities reported by 129 companies included, among others, activities related to reducing the consumption of plastic, a circular economy, conservation of biodiversity, environmental education and counteracting the climate crisis.
“2019 can be considered a year of the natural environment, and the latest Responsible Business in Poland. Good Practices report proves this,” said Marzena Strzelczak, General Director of the Responsible Business Forum. “We have recorded a noticeable increase in the number of environmental practices despite the cap on the number of new activities that can be reported. Companies opt for environmental solutions because this has become a key topic for a wide range of stakeholders. This is a positive change that we believe companies will continue to drive.”
The good practices included in the report are also presented in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals announced by the United Nations in 2015. Overall, the greatest number of practices work towards the goal of Good quality education and Good health and quality of life. A growth, by nearly 60 per cent, has been observed for the goal of Sustainable consumption and production, which reflects the huge importance of environmental issues highlighted by the latest report.
Naturally, Mrs Strzelczak also noted that businesses faced new challenges since the beginning of 2020, but the crisis related to the coronavirus pandemic has actually proven that companies can respond quickly, providing help and support.
“We are observing a growing number of solidarity and aid actions all around us,” she said. “It must be ensured that this upsurge is not followed by a collapse. We can already see how multifaceted the ongoing developments are, which means that we can expect new challenges, but those that are already known, such as digital exclusion or combating violence and homelessness, may prove even more pressing. […] However, environmental issues are equally important, it is essential that they are not marginalised. The greatest test for corporate responsibility of businesses and confirmation that sustainable development is actually in their DNA is yet to come. However, the constraint is often, especially in business, an impulse for exceptional creativity and coming up with solutions that respond to social, economic and environmental needs across a range of dimensions.”
The increase in the number of companies that have reported environmental practices is also high, nearly 30 per cent. For the most part, the practices involve environmental education of, inter alia, employees, children, communities, and city residents. By contrast, market education initiatives are still few and far between. A range of practices also involves large-scale environmental programmes that work, for example, towards more efficient resource management. Efforts related to a circular economy and conservation of biodiversity are becoming increasingly important, which is demonstrated by an overview of activities in the environment area. The simplest examples of green activities are described in the eco office category and encompass such practices as, for example, going plastic-free.
Among the most responsible energy companies, the report included GPEC, Grupa Enea, Grupa Energa, Grupa Veolia w Polsce, OEM ENERGY, PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna, PKP Energetyka, Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo, Polskie Sieci Elektroenergetyczne, RAFAKO, TAURON Polska Energia.