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THE FOUNDATION FOR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IS A NETWORK OF 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 6 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.

March 24, 2014 Vol. 11, No.12

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time."
-- John Lubbock

YOU CAN DANCE IN THE PROMISELAND

We'd like to announce the schedule of auditions for You Can Dance in the PromiseLand (YCD). For those who may not know, YCD is the Foundation's initiative to help promote dance as a daily part of an active, healthy lifestyle. The YCD competition has become one of the favorite programs among all kids in our schools. 200 PromiseKids from 9 schools are eligible to participate. The rules are the same as in the famous TV Show: You Can Dance. Talented dancers skilled in everything from Hip Hop, Krumping, Popping, Salsa, Quickstep, and Jive compete to be named the PromiseLand's Best Dancers.

24th of March - auditions in the Nowe Worowo School
27th of March - auditions in the Nielep School
31st of March - auditions in the Bierzwnica School
1st of April - auditions in the Lekowo School
3rd of April - auditions in the Toporzyk School
7th of April - auditions in the Brzeżno School
9th of April - auditions in the Oparzno School
8th of April - auditions in the Bierzwnica School
10th of April - auditions in the Nętno School

The final competition will be on the 9th of May 2014 in the Lekowo School.

CAN BUSINESS SUCCEED IN EIIMINATING POVERTY WHERE NGOs HAVE FAILED? Tim Smedley, the Guardian, 19 Feb 2014

Business and poverty used to be kept apart like naughty children – spending time together would only make the other worse.

Poverty reduction until the late 1990s was the exclusive realm of Aid agencies and NGOs. Business input was allowed via monetary donations only and examples such as the Nestlé baby milk scandal of the 70s were upheld as evidence of what happens when corporations get too close to the world's poor.

Now, however, representatives of big business come out with once unthinkable statements, such as: "We want to pursue commercial ambition but at the same time pursue an ambition that also drives positive change in the economies in which we operate," from Norah Odwesso, Coca-Cola's public affairs director for east and central Africa. Or Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico, whose stated desire is to explore and develop "innovative business models that are economically viable and good for development".

Profit has steadily ceased to be a dirty word since CK Prahalad and Stuart Hart wrote the Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) in 2002. With it they introduced a concept that the 4 billion people earning less than $1,500 a year represented a $5tn global market – a massive growth opportunity for business which could in turn bring products to alleviate poverty from improved nutrition to energy efficiency and sanitation.

Olivier Kayser, a former senior partner at McKinsey before setting up his own social innovation consultancy Hystra, explains: "there was a realization that we won't be able to build sustainable, scalable models without the involvement of big business ... corporate social responsibility (CSR) was basically about paying your dues, not causing damage but also not necessarily feeling responsible for solving problems either."

Hystra began a project five years ago with a consortium including the oil firm Total to address access to energy in Africa. Choosing to focus on solar lamps – the clean, efficient alternative to the traditional kerosene lamps which cause hundreds of thousands of deaths a year – Kayser and his team found that "the reason why families are not buying them is that they are afraid of investing in new technology that they don't know – the old kerosene lamps are expensive, dangerous, but easy to fix. The question is one of perception of risk."

Total's brand and distribution network was ideally placed to address these issues. Using its network of 5,000 gas stations, Total could sell solar lamps with a guarantee that they could be returned to any of its gas stations if there was a fault. This, says Kayser, did "more to reassure consumers than any aid organization could do" and saw Total become the largest distributor of solar lanterns in the region.

Another crucial difference between a business-centered rather than a philanthropic approach is that Total's lamps are sold at market value. Selling them cheaply would prevent competitors coming in, says Kayser. "It's product dumping. Their responsibility as a large player is not to use their power and deep pockets to look good for the media ... if they didn't make money, you prevent competition, there is no industry, and in the end the consumers won't be served well."

Plenty of examples abound of organizations moving away from CSR-style handouts towards targeting the BOP market. Royal DSM, a global leader in micro-nutrients and vitamins, teamed up with Jakarta-based social enterprise KeBAL in 2013 to provide nutritious, affordable meals through food cart vendors operating in slums. The business plan is to establish 10 KeBAL cooking centers serving 10,000 meals a day by 2015 plus a nutritional education program for 20,000 households.

Ballarpur Industries Limited (BILT), the largest domestic producer of writing and printing paper in India and Malaysia, traditionally sourced its pulpwood from large plantations. Trials in 2006 to use smallholder farmers to boost regional development saw this become its major sourcing strategy: as of July 2011, 1,481 farmers planted 2,592 acres of trees, saving BILT $6.7 per ton on transportation costs from farm to mill, raising about 5,000 farming families out of abject poverty.

In the internet age, there are fewer places to hide irresponsible business practices. Motives are questioned and scrutinized at every turn. However, while CSR motives were subject to green washing tags, corporations may feel they are on safer – and familiar – territory when it comes to making money.

"There is suddenly the realization that this easy division of the world between for-profit and not-for-profit was actually not working", argues Kayser. "Large corporations began to say, if you want us to do more than just respecting the law, and if you really want us to scale it up, then it needs to be profitable – otherwise we can't justify it to our shareholders."

PARENTS WITH DISABLED CHILDDREN PROTEST AGAINST TOO LOW BENEFITS

Some 20 parents with disabled children occupied the Sejm, lower house of the Polish Parliament, for the second day on Thursday demanding that the government “ stick to its promise and raise disability benefits.”

They want their round-the-clock care of their children to be treated as a full-time profession, with remuneration equal to the country’s minimum wage.

Adam Szejnfeld, MP of the ruling Civic Platform (PO), who met with the protesters, said that "the government had kept its promise and the disability benefits had been raised by PLN 200." He was referring to a governmental program ending in March under which care-givers of disabled children receive additional money.

“We have a lot of understanding for your needs that’s why these benefits will grow,” Szejnfeld told the protesters.

However, the protesters demanded meeting with Prime Minister Donald Tusk and said they would not leave the Sejm Building until they have written guarantees of increased benefits from the government.

TEACHERS TO STRIKE

It was announced this week that teachers around the country are threatening to strike over new proposals that will potentially see recruited assistants brought in to support primary school classes. According to TVN, the Association of Polish Teachers (ZNP) stated on Wednesday that it is not ruling out a strike over the controversial news. They stressed that it has not yet been stated exactly what role the assistants will be performing in classes. The new assistants will need to have qualifications matching those of traditional teachers, but will be employed by local councils rather than by the Teacher's Charter.

Slawomir Broniarz, President of the ZNP, has stated that it has not yet been made clear what the responsibility of the new assistants will be, and has called the idea a "Trojan Horse.” When asked about how teachers will be reacting, Broniarz stated that "a major strike can not be ruled out." He told reporters that "it was not too late to make amendments to the proposed draft."

ORLEN AMONG THE WORLD’S MOST ETHICAL COMPANIES

The Polish refinery giant was the only company from the CEE region listed in the latest World’s Most Ethical Companies ranking compiled by the Ethisphere Institute. The ranking is based on four criteria: the company’s ethics and compliance programs, reputation, leadership and innovation, and governance and ethics. The award is a significant distinction which confirms that the corporate ethics measures implemented by the ORLEN Group, are in fact compliant with the world's highest standards.

"This is of great importance to Orlen, given the complex nature of their operations and their global reach. Orlen is proving that market problems must never release a company's management board and employees from their duty to conduct business in an ethical manner," said Jacek Krawiec, President of the PKN ORLEN Management Board. Orlen has been chosen as one of the four companies in the Energy Oil sector, along with Indian TATA Power Company, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, and Spectra Energy Corp from the US. Overall there were 144 companies representing 41 industries in this years rankings.

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HERE IS HOW YOU CAN HELP OUR PROMISEKIDS

Our Dollar a Day program may be just what you have been looking for and the PayPal method of delivering your money makes it so easy. 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.

DATES TO REMEMBER

March 2014 - You Can Dance in the PromiseLand Competition

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

"The nearest way to glory is to strive to be what you wish to be thought to be."

-- Socrates

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