37 (132) 2018
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Editorial Note

Editorial Note

Editorial note from Michael Dembinski and Dorota Kierbiedź
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This issue of Contact Magazine Online focuses on the corporate social responsibility that our members share; businesses responsibility for their staff, their customers and suppliers, their neighbours, their environment, nature and society.

As several of the authors of these articles point out, CSR is an ever-evolving subject. What was once about doing a bit of charity work to get some favourable PR has evolved into an approach to doing business that transforms the company from the roots up.

As editors of this issue, we were surprised and delighted by the response from BPCC members wanting to share their experiences of CSR in a changing world of work, in which a new generation of employees seeks purpose and meaning in their daily working lives. Right up to the deadline, more and more articles came in, all with one common message – business wants to be a responsible partner, and seeks a more sustainable model that embraces people and the planet as well as profits.

There are two interviews in this issue; Paulina Kaczmarek of Deloitte gives an overarching picture of how CSR is evolving in the direction of the circular economy, and the opportunities – and challenges – that face business as it strives to move towards a less wasteful way of making money. And Jerzy Dąbrowski, director general of Bibby Financial Services Polska talks about businesses’ responsibility towards their supply chain and the entire economy.

There’s no shortage of meaty articles setting out the programmes, large and small, that BPCC members are engaging in. Reading them all gives a strong sense of just how much businesses are giving back to society. And yet, by learning from one another, implementing examples of best practice, there’s still much more that can be done. The best examples come from businesses that start off from the basis that they operate on the basis of social trust and need to build on that. Santander Bank Polska has this approach.

Environmental matters lie foremost in minds of firms making a significant impact on our planet.  BP, ShellArcelor Mittal and Krakow Airport set out the steps they are taking to reduce pollution in the short, medium and long term, and how they communicate with their stakeholders and how they work with local communities and charities. To what extent caring for the planet is a matter for CSR and to what extent it is a legal obligation is set out in this piece from Wierzbowski Eversheds Sutherland.

It is natural that special issues arise close to one’s area of business. Tesco, for example, battles with food waste, a war it wages within its own supply chain and also in the hearts and minds of its customers. Kompania Piwowarska is actively combating drink-driving with a campaign that gets out to consumers in a face-to-face way, a particularly well-targeted campaign. Raben also sets out to tackle food waste as well as striving to make logistics greener.

The health and wellbeing of employees is of paramount concern to Kinnarps and, well, the Wellness Institute. For Skanska, building workplaces in which employees will enjoy healthy and productive working lives is a primary goal

There are many excellent examples of how employee volunteering and building relationships with NGOs is helping to build strong employer brands. This is crucial for attracting and retaining staff – in particular Millennials, who have a strong need to fulfill a sense of purpose in their working lives. Firms like  Credit Suisse, Cushman, Provident and Cognifide all provide case studies of how their volunteering programmes have strengthened bonds between employer, employee and charities.

Spending money on CSR projects needs to be done tax efficiently, and experts from Grant Thornton  explain how to ensure the tax authorities look benignly at your company’s VAT and CIT issues related to CSR spend. And spending money on marketing your CSR activities is important, as we hear from Walstead Group.

Probably the champion in terms of sheer breadth of CSR activity in Poland is PwC; two articles outline the overall scope of activities and focus on one campaign in particular, the one combating smog, which has successfully attracted powerful partners on board to clean up the air in Kraków

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