The last conference organized by Executive Club this year was held at InterContinental Warsaw on November 28. “Sustainable Economy Summit” was entirely devoted to the subject of sustainable and responsible business. This time we prepared two discussion panels and an evening gala of “Responsible Business Awards”.
The conference was opened by a speech of Janusz Szulik, President of the Board, INTER Polska Group. The speaker emphasized the importance of health insurance for employees as well as health itself as the most important asset of a company.
Afterwards the first panel discussion began, moderated by Professor Piotr Płoszajski – Head of the Department of Management Theory, Warsaw School of Economics. After a short introduction and explanation of the origin of the concept of sustainable development (originally it was related to forest management and cutting down only as many trees as was necessary), the moderator invited the panelists: Anna Lewandowska – Director of the Inflammation & Immunology Department, Pfizer Polska; Andrzej Losor – Marketing and Communication Manager, Górażdże Group; Janusz Szulik – President of the Board, INTER Polska Group, and Zbigniew Warmuz – President of the Board, Synthos. The discussion was focused on innovation for sustainable development. The speakers underlined the great importance of education as the main factor in changing the approach to waste segregation and modifying consumer behavior. Companies are adapting to these processes by introducing newer production technologies to limit harmful substances. These changes are also facilitated by the EU directives on preventive healthcare and limiting the emission of harmful substances, which reduce the costs of lower employee productivity. The panel was summarized by a metaphor stating that if clocks are designed to work for 10,000 years, let us make sure that there will still be someone left to check the time.
The second discussion panel was opened by its moderator – Professor Bolesław Rok from the Department of Entrepreneurship and Ethics at the Kozminski University. The speaker underlined that the actions of the state in accordance with the principles of sustainable development are specified in Article 5 of the constitution. Next, the professor invited the panelists: Katarzyna Balashov – Corporate Communications Manager, IKEA Retail; Robert Daniluk – Quality, Security and Sustainable Development Manager, Lyreco Polska; Iwona Jacaszek-Pruś – Director Corporate Affairs, Kompania Piwowarska; Marek Kopyto – Country Manager, Unilever Polska, and Katarzyna Rudnicka – President of the Board, VIVENGE. The discussion focused primarily on the challenges that companies face with regard to sustainable development and the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals. There are 17 in total and they were accepted by all UN members in 2015 as part of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030. The speakers agreed that in order to effectively achieve these goals, they need to be included in company strategies and treated equally with, for example, financial goals. Only then can their effective implementation be achieved. The limitation of the use of plastic was pointed out as a very important challenge. The fact that enterprises are implementing very advanced actions to eliminate this product from their businesses was a positive conclusion of the discussion. Another topic was the increasing awareness of employees who are often able to convince the employers with their attitudes to take action for the benefit of the local communities, for example, by constructing a sewage treatment plant.
The conference ended in the “Responsible Business Awards” gala, which honored companies and entrepreneurs who implement the ideas of responsible business and have exceptional achievements in the field of sustainable development. During this edition 12 awards were granted in 9 categories. There were also 3 special awards!
WINNERS OF “RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS AWARDS”:
- VISIONARY OF RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS
Executive with outstanding achievements in building their company’s commitment to activities aimed at the development of sustainable and responsible business.
Dominika Bettman, President of the Board, Siemens Polska – winner
- SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION LEADER
Entity promoting actions aimed at the development of sustainable construction and investing in accordance with the highest environmental and social standards, operating in the spirit of green construction.
Skanska SA – winner
- SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION LEADER
Entity that increases its production capacity, at the same time consuming less raw materials and limiting the impact on the natural environment.
Unilever Polska – winner
- ECOLOGY LEADER IN THE ENERGY INDUSTRY
Entity investing in accordance with the highest environmental and social standards, operating in the spirit of minimizing the negative impact on the environment.
Schneider Electric Polska – winner
- SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT TECHNOLOGY LEADER
Entity which launched an innovative product, service, or technological solution in the area of sustainable development.
BASF Polska – winner
Robert BOSCH – distinction
- BUSINESS ETHICS LEADER
Entity with exceptionally high standards of business and moral conduct, especially in terms of integrity and fairness, serving as a model for its partners, customers, and counterparties.
Lyreco Polska – winner
- FAIR TRADE LEADER
Entity promoting an ethical and responsible style of consumption, raising consumer awareness and observing the principles of fair trade.
Eurocash SA – winner
IKEA Polska – winner
- SUSTAINABLE FINANCING LEADER
Entity offering services aimed to combine ecological and social aspects of financing, taking into account the long-term effects both for customers and society as a whole.
ING Bank Śląski SA – winner
- EMPLOYEE INVOLVEMENT LEADER
Entity focused on building the involvement, loyalty, and satisfaction of its employees, inspiring others to take action, and emphasizing the importance of joint efforts to the benefit of prosocial initiatives.
Benefit Systems SA – winner
VIVENGE – winner
Award for a company operating in a sustainable manner, emphasizing the development of charity and promoting the idea of responsible business.
Pfizer Polska – winner
Konsalnet Holding SA – winner
PKO Bank Polski SA – winner