By Michael Dembinski, chief advisor, and Dorota Kierbiedź, membership director, BPCC


This year’s UN climate-change summit, COP27, held in Egypt, proved somewhat disappointing; no new emissions targets were set, but at least we have in place a ‘loss and damage’ fund, ensuring that polluting countries will pay for damage caused by climate events in vulnerable countries.

This is a good time of year to take stock of where business is when it comes to holding back climate change. Brought together in this issue of Contact Magazine Online are three interviews and 21 articles that between them show how seriously business treats this existential threat to our planet.

His Majesty’s Ambassador to Poland, Anna Clunes, speaks to the BPCC about how the UK and Poland can cooperate more closely to tackle climate change, and describes the collaboration that’s already going on. Offshore wind power at scale has the potential to transform energy supply. Getting the electricity from the turbines to shore is what Polish champion TF Kable Group is doing. Vice-president Bartosz Zgryzek, introduces the group’s latest venture – its third factory in the UK, making extra-high-voltage cables for undersea use. The shorter a supply chain, the greener it is. Marek Kubik, president of ARMS, explains in the third interview why Szczecin is an extremely attractive location for manufacturing and logistics – and IT. And offshore wind power is likely to add another string to the city’s bow.

Our buildings – in their construction and use – are the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, which is why there’s such a strong focus on real estate in this issue.

An excellent overview from JLL looks at the entirety of the construction and real estate sector, explaining why it is such a big polluter, and what everyone can do to reduce the carbon footprint of the buildings they commission, build and use.

Katarzyna Chwalbińska-Kusek, from Savills, writes about the vital role of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) in in business models and strategies for the real estate and construction sector.

Warehouses – long seen as the unglamourous end of real estate, are now hot property. Ensuring that they are ESG-compliant is an integral part of the new way of looking at the buildings, says Michał Kozdrój of Knight Frank. And Bartosz Michalski from SEGRO expresses this sentiment from the developer’s point of view. Warehouses – being such an integral part of any supply chain – should be as green as possible to ensure that business operations are truly sustainable. He highlights the best practice that you should be looking out for when choosing a warehouse.

Brownfield sites are becoming increasingly interesting to developers. For those that are prepared to wait a bit longer, there’s a new – and very green – way of remediating some contaminated sites. It is also very much cheaper. Randy Mott explains how phytoremediation works.

Greenwashing doesn’t wash with the European Commission. To ensure that a building really is as sustainable as its owners claim, its description has to comply with the EU’s taxonomy. Taking us through its ins and outs is CMT’s Grzegorz Jakubowski.

But going green doesn’t just stop with the built environment. Every business leaves its carbon footprint – therefore every business can take steps to reduce it. Here’s a look at AstraZeneca’s efforts to kerb its emissions across its activities.

Deloitte’s Tomasz Gasiński urges firms not to take their eyes off climate goals during the current energy crisis. The regulatory framework within businesses operate should remain a permanent part of their risk assessment and reporting strategies, he says.

Okey Umeano FCCA, chief economist at Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission, outlines COP27 from an African perspective – which makes us in the Global North realise how ‘loss and damage’ will begin to compensate for the climatic catastrophes that the polluting countries have brought down up the developing world.

Carbon trading allows firms to offset their emissions. How does this work? Jakub Hiterski and Peter Albin from Redshaw Advisors cast a critical eye over COP27 and explain emissions trading.

If you are going to outsource production to a country outside the EU with less-stringent environmental standards, you need to be aware of CBAM – the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, says Tomasz Chabrzyk from Bird & Bird.

Green finance is on the rise. Jarek Rot from BNP Paribas explains why those businesses that ensure that they are fully green across their supply chains will find financing cheaper and easier than those who don’t. Banks will be more helpful to firms going green than those who are not.

Non-financial reporting that encompasses ESG aspects of corporate performance is becoming a major issue for firms. Ewa Rutkowska-Subocz from Dentons summarises the challenges of integrating ESG values into your strategy and operations to respond to stakeholders’ increasingly demanding expectations.

Przemysław Oczyp and Łukasz Kolano from KPMG in Poland stress the point about ESG, which few big Polish companies have yet taken on board. Their messages – if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it; assign responsibility to ensure implementation – or risk the entire value chain.

How do tax regimes encourage good environmental practice and discourage greenhouse-gas emissions? Magdalena Zamoyska from MDDP considers the sticks and the carrots – and concludes that there aren’t enough carrots in Poland’s tax system.

Kinga Polewka-Włoch and Karolina Karpińska, from PCS Paruch Chruściel Schiffter Stępień Kanclerz | Littler enumerate five ways to make the workplace more eco-friendly, and how this helps with employee and customer relations as well as environmental protection.

We take a closer look at two sources of renewable energy – solar power and ‘green’ hydrogen.

Large-scale photovoltaic projects are on the rise. Read about Lightsource BP’s presence in Poland. It plans to invest €500m in co-developing a total of 757 megawatts (peak) of solar power.

Poland is one of the world’s top producers of hydrogen – unfortunately, it’s the wrong sort – the ‘brown’ hydrogen created by burning fossil fuels. The move to ‘green’ hydrogen, produced using only renewable energy sources, requires changes to the law. Two articles about this – one from Rafał Pytko of Wardyński & Partners – focuses on the need for a stable regulatory environment, while Wojciech Wrochna and Katarzyna Ziółkowska from Kochański & Partners outline the Polish government’s proposed strategy for green hydrogen.

Finally – the Law – litigation and arbitration

Victims of disasters caused by man-made climate change can – and increasingly do – seek redress in courts of law. The plaintiff is often a corporation that has failed to mitigate against the effect of its actions on the environment.  Karolina Brzeska and Maja Pyrzyna from White & Case look at rise of ‘regulation through litigation’. An alternative to litigation is arbitration; yet the procedures can be far from ‘green’, with mountains of paper printed out and expert witnesses being flown around the world for hearings. Piotr Paprot from Gessel considers greener ways of arbitrating cases.