The newly elected board members are:
Aneta Jóźwicka, Diageo, who was later elected Chairwoman
Dariusz Kucharski, HSBC, who was later elected Vice-Chairman
Michał Obiegała, BP, who was later elected Honorary Secretary
Elżbieta Pełka, Pełka i Partnerzy & Polish National Sales Awards
Paweł Świętochowski, Castorama
We would also like thank the remaining outgoing board members and congratulate the new board members. Below is the Chairman's Report for the period from 1 July 2021 to 15 September 2022.
The new board awarded Honorary Membership of the chamber to Tony Reczek OBE and to Nicholas Richardson for their outstanding contribution to the BPCC over the years.
The pandemic has again dominated the period of this report, as has Russia's invasion of Ukraine, impacting the post-Covid recovery of the Polish and the UK economies, in particular as inflation caused by soaring energy and food prices takes hold.
For the BPCC, 2022 is our 30th anniversary during which we continue to highlight the work and range of activities that the Chamber is involved in, supporting trade and investment between the UK and Poland.
For the Chamber and its members, these have been challenging times, but as an organisation we’ve cemented our on-line presence and continued to serve our members through digital channels with full efficiency. Face-to-face events took place throughout the summer and autumn of 2021 and again from this spring, as sanitary conditions permitted.
In overall numbers for the reporting period we’ve organised 14 networking events and co-organised or supported 380 other meetings including policy events, webinars and patronages, making this a record year in terms of activity. At the same time, our social-media presence is stronger than ever, with several thousand new followers observing our accounts on LinkedIn and Twitter.
A high point of the year for us was COP 26 in Glasgow, around which webinars were held and special pre- and post-event issues of Contact Magazine Online published. This is a natural area for us to engage closely with the British Embassy team in Warsaw on the issue of green transformation, carbon neutral technologies and zero emissions mobility.
With the return of Ula Kwaśniewska to our team, we have been able to increase number of BPCC Policy Group events. Now all groups have regular meetings, promoted through our weekly Events Newsletter. Brexit and bilateral trade has continuted to be vital issue with number of dedicated events organised including the launch of the Re-enter UK programme, UKCA certification and specific webinars aimed at different sectors, organised with the Polish Embassy in London and PAIH. The BPCC and its members remain a first port-of-call for many traders seeking assistance in the new post-Brexit reality.
Members are encouraged to propose subjects and lead on policy meetings in the following groups: Real Estate & Construction; ESG (formerly CSR); Tax & Finance; Climate Change & Energy; Healthcare; Human Resources; Technology; Manufacturing Industries; and Public Procurement & Public-Private Partnerships.
Contact Magazine Online allows members to promote themselves by sharing their insights and best practice.
The magazine appears five times a year and provides members with professional advice and opinions from expert practitioners. We are building a strong community voice representing the Polish, British and international points of view about doing business in Poland, in English. The last five lead topics of Contact Magazine Online were:
- Digitalisation (issue 54)
- CSR and the response to the Ukraine refugee crisis (issue 53)
- Real Estate & Construction (issue 52)
- Green for Glasgow, Green for Good (issue 51)
- Lessons from the Pandemic (issue 50)
Contact Magazine Online reaches directly 3,600 recipients and is further promoted through our social media followers: LinkedIn (5,348), Twitter (2,445) and Facebook (3,200).
Help for Ukraine
24 February 2022 was a date that brought back the horrors of war to Europe. From Day One of Russia's aggression on Ukraine we’ve run a dedicated website to help refugees. Our members have responded fantastically; every act of help or donation was publicised and supported by us. We thank all those who provided help in Ukraine's hour of need.
We remain active in the global network of British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) overseas, which now encompasses 78 chambers across all continents. This network links in with the 53 accredited chambers around the UK; we help forge contacts between UK chamber members and businesses across Poland.
The BPCC has continued to play an active role in the work of the International Group of Chambers of Commerce, which now represents foreign investors from 17 countries present in Poland. In the past year, the IGCC has made high-level representations to the Polish authorities on taxation and labour-law issues. With such a major presence in the Polish economy, the IGCC remains a powerful voice for the foreign-investor community.
In the summer and autumn of 2021, we were one of the very few business organisations that managed to hold face-to-face meetings in Warsaw and Wrocław. Warsaw events included the end-of summer BBQ and international speed business meeting. Our Wroclaw branch successfully re-activated the traditional International Oktoberfest along with the real estate forum in October.
The highlight of spring this year were four regional events under the title Nice to See You Again (Poznań, Katowice, Wrocław and Warsaw). The 2022 Oktoberfest, held for the 18th time, was almost back to its pre-pandemic level with over 600 guests taking part.
The current number of members is 263 compared to 260 in July 2021. The early part of the pandemic was particulary challenging when we saw numbers dropping, but since the summer of 2021 we have observed a stable numbers of members. Businesses notice our activities on-line and face-to-face, and show willingness to engage across all activities. Castorama, PwC and HSBC continue their Patronage commitment.
The executive team has increased from 2022 by one person, the aboved-mentioned Ula Kwaśniewska. The rest of the team contunies to support our members: Paweł Siwecki, Dorota Kierbiedź, Ilona Chodorowska, Michael Dembinski, Jakub Piegat and Paulina Sierańska. I would like to say a very well-deserved thank-you to the team.
Administration and premises
The BPCC’s HQ remains on ulica Zielna 37 in Warsaw and our Wrocław branch on ulica Strzegomska 142A.
Paweł Siwecki, CEO on behalf of Tony Reczek OBE, retiring BPCC Chairman