The BPCC and ARMS, the development agency for the Szczecin metropolitan area, jointly organised an event for local businesses focused on ESG and real estate. The event attracted many participants, for whom the topic of ESG is particularly challenging, especially when it comes to compliance.

After an introduction and welcome from the president of ARMS, Marek Kubik, the BPCC’s Michael Dembinski gave a presentation showing how new developments in technology, namely smart goggles, could make the way we design, build and manage buildings more environment friendly. In the near future, he said, mixed-reality headsets will be used to create virtual tours of properties, provide remote assistance to tenants, and streamline maintenance operations.

Beata Kozyra, ESG director at Grant Thornton Frąckowiak, discussed the latest ESG regulations and standards, explaining which businesses will be affected, and the steps they need to take so they can comply with them. Ms Kozyra said that as of 1 January of this year, big businesses already have to gather data pertaining to their environmental, social and governance performance, she explained. Their non-financial ESG-related reporting will be overseen in Poland by the Poland’s financial supervision authority, KNF. She explained how CSDDD (or CS3D), ESRS, EU taxonomy, the Green Claims Directive and the circular economy would affect the way businesses report their environmental impact – up and down their supply chains.

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important for businesses, given the real bottom-line savings that can be made from effective energy management. Tomasz Kiebus, business unit manager at Rhino, discussed how businesses can use technology to track and manage their energy consumption, giving case studies of concrete savings made when facilities managers have real-time awareness of where energy is being wasted.

The panel discussion, moderated by Michael Dembinski, involved Marek Kubik, Beata Kozyra and Tomasz Kiebus, produced new insights. In particular, participants’ worries about how ESG would be implemented – by stick or by carrot – were answered. Making progress in optimising energy use was an important first step in this; “you cannot manage that which you can’t measure”, said Mr Kiebus. There was also an important discussion around the region’s older buildings – does it make more sense to demolish them and build something new in their place – or to adapt and reuse them?

Marek Kubik mentioned the region’s recent successes in attracting new inward investment, with manufacturing driven by the prospects of renewable energy sources. He also stressed the need for new office developments in Szczecin, with new demand created by manufacturers requiring back-office facilities close to their new factories.

The event was designed with networking in mind, so there were ample opportunities for participants to swap business cards over morning coffee, during the break and after the panel discussion.