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THE FOUNDATION FOR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IS A NETWORK OF 90 INTERNATIONAL CORPORATIONS ACTIVELY WORKING IN POLAND TO AFFECT POSITIVE SOCIAL CHANGE THROUGH CORPORATE PHILANTHROPY. WE FEED, EDUCATE AND EMPOWER POOR CHILDREN IN POLAND. COLLECTIVELY, WE HAVE FED OVER 5 MILLION HOT MEALS TO SOME OF POLAND’S MOST NEEDY CHILDREN. OUR MISSION IS TO LEAD THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY IN RAISING THE LEVEL AND QUALITY OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.

January 23, 2012, Vol. 9, No. 3

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is."
- Albert Einstein

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Not often realized is the devastating loss of human capital that can hardly be reinvigorated as jobs return and demands for lost skills increase. A highly skilled laid off service sector worker is hard pressed to keep up with new technology as one iPhone replaces another’s Blackberry. The loss to a nation is hard to calculate but may easily drop future economic growth by several percentage points.

- Michael Hopkins, CSRwire Talkback

RECENT NEWS WITH AN IMPACT ON OUR FOUNDATION’S MEMBERS AND PROGRAMS

Schools to close

There were reports in the press this week that Poland may soon see the closure of a large number of its schools and kindergartens. According to Gazeta Wyborcza, there have been nearly 300 proposals made to close down various places of education, news which will worry parents up and down the country.

The article states that the regions that can expect to see the highest number of closures are Wielkopolska (57), Pomorskie (36) and Slaskie (25); however the whole of Poland is likely to be affected. It is also believed that more applications may be made at some point next month, during which time the initial figure may be doubled.

The main reason behind the proposals is that local councils are acting upon recommendations by the government which is looking at various ways to reduce expenditures. Another reason given is a change in demographics, with the closures resulting from the number of students, not necessarily the number of classes.

Micro companies have biggest layoffs

New data from Pekao Bank suggests that the unemployment rate in small businesses (those employing 50 workers or less) did not change significantly in the past year and is expected to remain the same in 2012. This past year, however, was not a good one for companies employing less than 10 workers; this sector saw the largest number of layoffs. The greatest job losses were in Lodz, while Mazovia had the lowest unemployment rate among small businesses. Those employed in the production and services sectors enjoyed the greatest job security.

Poland low on innovation

Poland is perceived as the least innovative economy by business executives from 22 countries surveyed for the GE Global Innovation Barometer, the daily Puls Biznesu reported.

Over 60% of respondents from Poland assessed Poland's reputation in this respect as very weak or rather weak.

Pork prices on the rise

Poland has seen its highest pork price rises in the last seven years. In December, pork sold at 13.5% higher than a year ago, according to data released by the Central Statistical Office. That's the highest price since 2004. "This is a result of lower supply fueled by a shrinking number of pigs," explained Danuta Zawadzka from the Institute of Agricultural and Food Economics. She added that pig herding has become less profitable for producers in the light of very high feed prices.

As a result, in July, Polish producers bred only 13.0 million pigs, a number that could keep on falling. Prices are skyrocketing, not only as a result of lower production, but also because of rising exports, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, Jan. 17, p.6, KA

Diesel prices shooting up

Despite the increase in excise taxes on diesel fuel, introduced as of January 1, drivers of diesel engine vehicles are still paying pretty much the same as they did in the last week of 2011. However, they will soon have to dig deeper in their wallets, writes Gazeta Wyborcza. Orlen, Poland’s biggest oil refiner and petrol retailer, last week started raising its wholesale price of diesel. A liter is already some zł.0.2 more expensive than on the last day of December. According to Urszula Cieślak, analyst at BM Reflex, retail prices will also rise throughout the next couple of days. She believes that customers may have to pay up to zł.5.8 per liter at the pump by the end of this week. Wyborcza.biz

Poland’s GDP for 2012

"Poland's GDP growth in 2012 will range from 2.5% to 2.9% year on year in 2012, possibly closer to the lower end due to a worse economic situation in the euro zone," World Bank chief economist Andrew Burns told reporters in Warsaw.

Burns came to Warsaw to take part in a conference organized jointly by the National Bank of Poland and World Bank to present his "Global Economic Prospects Report 2012, Uncertainties and Vulnerabilities",

"GDP growth in Poland in 2012 will measure from 2.5% to 2.9%, depending on the situation in highly developed countries of the EU," Burns said. "A few months ago we forecast the growth rate at 2.9%, but now it will be closer to 2.5%, reflecting the deterioration of the situation in the euro zone."

The previous World Bank forecast for Polish GDP growth of 2.9% in 2012 was published on November 16, 2011. Last year's growth was estimated at 4%.

Fuel prices in Poland

"Poland is not able to do much about growing fuel prices but hopes zloty stabilization will help to stop price growth," Prime Minister Donald Tusk said at a recent press conference.

Solidary Poland (SP) Tuesday urged Tusk to present a report on growing fuel prices at the next lower house session starting Jan. 25. SP caucus deputy head Beata Kempa told reporters that such an important issue (like rapidly growing fuel prices) should be subject to a debate in the parliament.

SP wants a parliamentary team to be set up to examine the issue. SP's initiative was criticized by all parliamentary caucuses. "Poland is trying to keep regulated prices under control," Tusk also said, referring to gas prices and demands by gas giant PGNiG to increase gas prices.

Poland’s unemployment benefits

Poland pays unemployment benefits to as few as 16% of registered unemployed, the daily Dziennik Gazeta Prawna writes citing the November data of the Central Statistical Office (GUS). Most registered jobless are long-term unemployed who do not meet the criteria for obtaining unemployment benefits, experts point out.

EU to finance more business grants

In December, the European Commission reviewed its "Innowacyjna Gospodarka"(Creative Economy) - or POIG - program, making more funds available for business development. The result is that there is now 403.2 million Euros more available through the program. This money will be allocated to grants for businesses.

"Thanks to this year's changes, we can announce new competitions for companies and support more projects," said Iwona Wendel, the Deputy-Minister of regional development. One of the big changes in the program includes the preferential treatment given to projects which have a R&D component, giving them access to the appropriate research infrastructures. This aspect is supposed to encourage companies to enter consortiums which have a R&D component. Puls Biznesu, Jan.12, p.14, KA

37,000 new businesses created in 2011

Only 37,000 new companies and businesses were created last year in Poland, data from the Central Statistical Office (GUS) indicates. Previously, a yearly average was 130,000. "Last year was difficult for entrepreneurship as costs of maintaining a business and raw materials went up, the currency was on a swing and concerns grew as people anticipated an economic crisis," said prof. Maria Drozdowicz-Bieć, from the Warsaw School of Economics. As it turns out, only half of the newly created firms last year are sole proprietorships, while they used to constitute the majority of new businesses. Some 16,000 of companies that were formed in 2011 now employ up to five people. Rzeczpospolita, January 7-8th, p. A1

Poles becoming more optimistic?

"Thanks to this year's changes, we can announce new competitions for companies and support more projects," said Iwona Wendel, the Deputy-Minister of regional development. One of the big changes in the program includes the preferential treatment given to projects which have a R&D component, giving them access to the appropriate research infrastructures. This aspect is supposed to encourage companies to enter consortiums which have a R&D component. Puls Biznesu, Jan.12, p.14, KA

DOLLAR A DAY FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO WOULD LIKE TO HELP FEED OUR HUNGRY POLISH CHILDREN

We are frequently approached by individuals who would like to help support our Foundation’s Hot-Meal Program. Our Dollar A Day program may be just what you have been looking for.

We pay just about $1.00 to feed one hungry Polish child a hot-meal per school day, $20.00 per month, $200.00 per year. Click PayPal below to contribute for a week, month or year.

DATES TO REMEMBER

February 13th – 8th Annual Dinner Dance at the Warsaw Hilton Hotel. Please make your table payments of 2,400 PLN to our bank account below, AND PLEASE PROVIDE US WITH THE NAMES OF YOUR TABLE GUESTS!

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

"The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you're willing to work."

-- Oprah Winfrey, Numbers

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