Companies want to grow responsibly

23 lipca 2015

The 13th edition of the report entitled ‘Responsible Business in Poland. Best Practices’ has just been published. As in previous years, also this time the number of notified practices is higher than the last year’s figure. The Report brings nearly 700 examples of CSR practices, with nearly one third being long-term activities.

publikacje_okladki_report_responsible_business_in_poland_2014Companies get visibly involved in socially responsible activities in a longer run and undertake more multiannual/long-term projects. This is reflected in the 264 examples of long-term practices notified for the report entitled ‘Responsible Business in Poland 2014. Best Practices’. At the same time, they represent more than one third of all practices covered in the Report, i.e. 684 (this figure represents the total number of practices notified for the first time as well as long-term practices).

The report entitled ‘Responsible Business in Poland 2014. Best Practices’ brings a picture of the CSR landscape in Poland, showing companies’ engagement and the degree of its advancement. One immensely positive factor is the much higher number of notified long-term practices. This means that companies are discovering the fundamental importance of undertaking CSR initiatives in the long run. What remains a source of concern is the continuously much lower number of practices notified in the remaining areas except ‘community involvement and development’. This, in turn, may be a reason why not the entire CSR spectrum is covered. However, we have also seen progress, with CSR practices becoming ever more widespread, as reflected in the impressive number of 420 examples of CSR activities first notified for our publication – says Mirella Panek-Owsiańska, the President of the Responsible Business Forum.

New Practices

The number of new CSR activities, not previously covered in the Report, has gone up to 420. They have been notified by 124 companies, including 31 those from the SME sector. All of them were grouped in accordance with the seven ISO:26000 core subjects: organizational governance, human rights, labour practices, the environment, fair operating practices, consumer issues as well as community involvement and development.

‘Community involvement and development’ is an area which takes the first position each year in terms of notified CSR activities. The largest share of the 187 best practices are charity-related. In turn, efforts focused on developing entrepreneurial initiatives are a somewhat new element (supporting start-ups, for instance through business incubators).

‘Labour practices’ is the second most popular area (84 examples), which came ahead of ‘the environment’ this year (but was behind it last year). In this sphere, employers took great care to ensure family-friendly solutions, helping employees to reconcile career and parenting responsibilities. One reason why interest in such activities has been boosted is that the topic of demographic challenges has been constantly present in the media, with companies viewing it as an area of their own responsibility.

As regards organisational governance, 35 practices have been reported. They largely refer to the creation of ethical infrastructure, i.e. companies developing their ethics codes and ethics policies. As regards CSR reporting, worth noting are some practices which involve new ways of engaging stakeholders in reporting (e.g. via a blog) or in issuing a report (e.g. improving the online version of the CSR report).

As in the previous edition, the smallest number of practices (only 14) concerned ‘human rights’. In this respect, companies pay a lot of attention to the issue of ‘women in business’. The topic of diversity is mentioned, among others, in the context of culture and people with disabilities.

Education: A New Trend

The remaining areas, i.e. ‘the environment’, ‘fair operating practices’ and ‘consumer issues, comprised 50, 29 and 21 practices respectively. Educational activities undertaken by companies have evolved into a visible trend.

Those activities involve various stakeholders and multiple topics. Companies see a great value in raising environmental awareness. Consumers are educated on industry-specific topics relevant for companies (e.g. financial education, copyright or energy education). Business partners are trained in corporate social responsibility as companies wish to do business with those who share their values and ways of working.

The official presentation of the 13th edition of the Report entitled ‘Responsible Business in Poland 2014. Best Practices’ took place on 31 March at the Zachęta Gallery in Warsaw. The event also included the first-ever presentation of ‘Media Overview: CSR in Poland 2014’ [page 128 of the Report or a link to extended infographics]. Moreover, awards were granted to five laureates of the 5th edition of the contest entitled ‘Responsibility Pen’ (Pióro odpowiedzialności)”. This was a way to recognise the contributions of authors whose articles were published in 2014 in the following media: Benefit, csr.forbes.pl, Personel Plus, Rzeczpospolita, THINKTHANK, Tygodnik Powszechny, and wethecrowd.pl.

The publication date also marked the official inauguration of the 15th Anniversary of CSR Partnership in Poland [http://odpowiedzialnybiznes.pl/15-lat-partnerstwa-na-rzecz-csr-w-polsce/]. The anniversary celebration was initiated and is organised by the Responsible Business Forum. Importantly, the CSR Partnership initiative has been systematically expanding. During the official publication event six new Partners joined the RBF Partnership Programme: Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego, Bank BGŻ, PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna, Polskie LNG, SGS Polska and TAURON Polska Energia (all as Strategic Partners) and Agencja Rozwoju Pomorza as a Supporting Partner.

The report entitled ‘Responsible Business in Poland. Best Practices’ is a cyclical publication prepared by the Responsible Business Forum. It is a collection of companies’ CSR activities undertaken in a particular year. In this way, the RBF helps to create the largest overview of CSR activities in Poland (the most recent edition brings nearly 700 practices). The practices described in the Report represent a unique picture of CSR practices undertaken by companies operating in Poland. The Report also brings expert commentaries, media analysis and a calendar of events. The Report is a source of inspiration for those who start their activity and seek new solutions. The first edition of the Report was published in 2002.

The previous editions of the Report are available at: http://odpowiedzialnybiznes.pl/typ-publikacji/raporty-publikacje-fob/.