The first in a series of quarterly events hosted by CMS, intended to bring together all sectors of business and administration to discuss how humanity’s shift from fossil fuels is going, attracted a broad-based audience who were keen to share their experiences and broaden their networks of potential partners for future cooperation.

After a welcome from Andrzej Pośniak, managing partner of CMS, and an introduction from Michael Dembinski, the BPCC’s chief advisor, who summarised developments from COP28 in Dubai, Magdalena Bednarczyk, associate in the Energy and Infrastructure practice at CMS, led a discussion on the role of local authorities in combating climate change.

Her two panellists were the Mayor of Sanok, Tomasz Matuszewski, and Maciej Riemer, director of the Ecology and Climate Department from the Łódź City Office. They discussed how local authorities are driving energy transformation, often held back by state-owned monopolists. They also discussed:

  • The need to attract investors whose property taxes form a crucial element of local financing
  • Solar panel farms, bio-methane and other locally-sourced renewable energy projects to deliver cheaper power to citizens and businesses
  • Investments in energy efficiency as “the low-hanging fruit”
  • How energy-efficiency and renewable-energy projects need financial and legal support to happen

Angelika Szufel, counsel in the Energy and Infrastructure practice and coordinator of the ESG team at CMS, moderated the next panel, which focused on the manufacturing industry. The panellists were Mikołaj Łukanowski, Imperial Tobacco’s technical manager, Adam Ambrozik, corporate and regulatory affairs manager, BP, and Rafał Sieńczak, energy efficiency expert at Siemens. The topics discussed included:

  • Industry’s role in reaching zero emissions through optimising energy, renewable-energy certificates, and by replacing natural gas with biomethane
  • Increasing scrutiny of global supply chains and their emissions, which means that Polish firms—still heavily reliant on coal-fired energy—are at risk of losing out
  • Nuclear power in Poland, which is where it was 15 years ago, needs to be accelerated
  • The role biogas has to play: the first bio-avgas powered transatlantic commercial flight shows the promise of this renewable source of energy

Wojciech Szopiński, senior associate in the Energy and Infrastructure practice at CMS, introduced the final panel in which Katarzyna Rybicka, board member and executive director, Shared Services & Solutions Delivery & CFO, Walstead CEE joined Kamila Koźbiał, head of marketing, East Europe at DS Smith, Piotr Regulski, director of the Corporate Department of Ownership Supervision and Legal Services at Grupa Azoty, and the BPCC’s Michael Dembinski looked at the challenges of creating sustainable supply chains. They covered:

  • How to reconcile ESG with the commercial imperative
  • The importance of common standards and certificates (ISO, FSC/PEFC, Ethical Trading Initiative)
  • How AI and robotics have helped optimise material use and internal and external logistics
  • Reducing waste through effective production processes and improved packaging in transit
  • The effects of the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism on factory-gate prices

After the panels, there was ample time for networking over canapés and coffee. The BPCC would like to thank all of the participants, and in particular CMS for kindly initiating and hosting what is hoped to be a successful series of events.