“It is a road map for Polish entrepreneurs and employers who are aware of the fundamental importance of climate neutrality for our future” – emphasizes President of Employers of Poland Andrzej Malinowski. The Charter was presented on November 6th in Brussels at the conference “Business perspective on the transition to a climate neutral future by 2050”, organized by Employers of Poland with the Employers’ Group of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).
The Charter has an open formula – any economic entity operating in Poland can sign it any given moment. “It is a voluntary declaration – every signatory takes on an obligation to follow its principles for their part. We want to help Polish economy achieve climate neutrality in 2050. Pro-ecological actions will be profitable in the long run, because although for many companies or industries, climate neutrality means impeding or restricting operations, they too will have to change, if they do not want to be pushed out of the market by consumers’ choices' – said Leszek Juchniewicz PhD, Chief Economist of Employers of Poland.
The Ecological Responsibility Charter of the Entrepreneurs and Employers of Poland is also a Polish contribution to the global initiative Marrakech Business Action for Climate (MBA4C), where Employers of Poland currently hold the presidency. It is an agreement signed by 47 associations of employers and business organizations from all over the world, who support their countries in implementing the Paris Agreement of 2015.
“We are fully aware that nowadays conducting business is already difficult enough. That adding further rules and obligations may be met with concern and reluctance. Yes, it may. But only if we look at it from the perspective of a fiscal year. However, our lives reach far beyond that – only this life-oriented perspective is the correct one” – believes President of Employers of Poland Andrzej Malinowski. In his opinion, Polish business knows that changes aimed at protecting the environment can no longer be delayed. They need to be made in the internal functioning of companies, technological processes, as well as in relationships with clients and suppliers. Therefore, besides including the pursuit of climate neutrality in company mission statements, the Charter introduces the principle of 'pro-ecological integrity', which should be observed both in professional and private life. “We cannot comply with pro-ecological principles only during working hours. We cannot produce ecologically functioning products using non-ecological technologies. Pro-ecological integrity means environmentally neutral products produced in an environmentally neutral way” – we read in the Charter.
Support for education and promoting sustainable consumption are also important elements of the declaration of Polish entrepreneurs and employers. “Pro-ecological technological changes will entail, among others, changes in the labor market. In some sectors of the economy, such changes will be difficult. All of them must be preceded by appropriate educational activities addressed to employees and the general public” – the signatories write.
Many of the Charter’s signatories are already involved in actions that follow its principles. This year, Grupa Zywiec launched a campaign “Give a bottle a second life”, giving consumers an opportunity to return recyclable bottles without receipt in over 3 thousands sales points all over the country. “We are steadily reducing CO2 emissions at every stage of our activity – in the last decade, we have reduced emissions in beer production nearly by half, and since 2011, thanks to cooperation with our partners, we have managed to cut CO2 emission in beer transport by more than half. We invest in green energy sources – our aim is for 70 percent of the energy we use to brew our beers to come from renewable sources by 2030. We protect water resources and reduce its use, for every hectoliter of beer we use 2.8 hl of water, one of the best ratios in the industry, and make sure that nothing goes to waste in the production process – less than 2 percent of the leftovers from beer production end up at a landfill” – says Magdalena Brzezinska, Director of Corporate Affairs at Grupa Zywiec.
Bartlomiej Morzycki, Director General of the Employers’ Association of the Brewing Industry – Polish Breweries, emphasizes that for the Polish brewing sector, restricting its negative impact on the environment and climate change is a priority. “Such are the expectations of our clients, who more and more often take ecological criteria into account in their everyday shopping choices, but also of producers themselves, who are aware that respect for natural resources is a precondition for the future functioning of the brewing industry” – says Morzycki. “All the biggest breweries in Poland follow the principles of circular economy. The quantity of waste material is reduced, and what is left is either used again or processed. Breweries made the biggest progress in reducing CO2 emissions and restricting the use of water – a fundamental natural resource used in brewing” – he adds.
“Wood is a natural, renewable and basic resource for one of the leading sectors of Polish industry. Thanks to growing wood resources, State Forests systematically increase the supply of wood without adversely affecting the sustainability of forests – from 17 mln m3 in 1990 to over 40 mln m3 in 2018. Forest coverage in Poland has increased from ca. 21 percent in 1945 to 30 percent this year, and is estimated at 33 percent in 2050. As much as 38 percent of the area we manage participates in the EU program Natura 2000” – says Anna Malinowska, Spokeswoman for Polish State Forests. “While acquiring over 40 percent of wood, we partially or fully reconstruct forest stands, introducing species better suited to climate change. In 2017-2046, Carbon Forest Projects will absorb an additional 1 mln tonnes of CO2” – she announces.
“For years we have consistently undertaken pro-ecological actions. Not only do we offer opportunities to use green energy at home and in the office, we also provide environment-friendly means of urban transportation: ‘innogy go!’, the biggest electric car sharing in Poland” – says Aleksandra Smyczynska, Director of Communication at Innogy Poland. “We also invest in photovoltaic panels and onshore wind farms – the company currently owns as many as eight wind farms in Poland, with a total power of 240 MW. Recently, as the first company on the market, we created the ‘innogy goes green’ program, which aims to engage both the company’s employees and its customers in pro-ecological efforts, as well as to support and promote environmentally friendly solutions” – she emphasizes.
Signatories of the Charter: Bank for Environmental Protection, Born Electric, Consulting - Wojciech Kulagowski, Deloitte Poland, ENEL-MED Medical Centre, Elimen Group, EMITEL, Employers’ Association of the Brewing Industry – Polish Breweries, Employers' Association Polish Clusters, Employers of Light Industry, Employers of Poland, Grupa Zywiec, ING Bank Slaski, Innogy Poland, Institute for Renewable Energy, Kantar Poland, KARMAR, Lesser Polish Hospital for Pulmonary Diseases and Rehabilitation, LinkCity, Municipal Bus Authority of the City of Warsaw, Municipal Water Supply and Sewerage Company in Warsaw, Orange Poland, ORPEA Poland, Panek, Philip Morris Poland, PKN Orlen, PKO Bank Polski, Polish Association of Independent Distributors of Electric Energy, Polish Association of International Road Transport Carriers in Poland, Polish Confederation Lewiatan, Polish State Forests, Servier Poland, Staszic Institute, VIVUS, Waste Management Employers’ Union.