The 4th edition of the educational programme 'Business vs. smog', in which volunteers from several dozen associated companies prepare and conduct trainings for children and young people on counteracting air pollution and climate change, has ended. Almost 9 thousand children and young people took part in this edition. The "Business vs Smog" programme was created 4 years ago on the initiative of PwC Polska and is run in cooperation with 28 companies and the Krakow Smog Alarm, ASPIRE Association and Volunteer Centre Association.
140 volunteers - company employees - conducted over 400 environmental workshops for children and young people this school year. For the first time in this edition of the programme, we broadened the scope of the workshops to include topics broadly related to climate change. Almost 30% of the meetings were specifically about climate change, with the remainder continuing about smog and air quality. All classes were held free of charge in 138 schools and kindergartens across Poland. In addition, at the end of March, the materials were translated into Ukrainian and the first classes for children in Krakow were held in this language.
During the 4 years of the programme, volunteers have trained 45,000 children in schools and kindergartens. As many as 28 organisations joined the 4th edition of "Business vs smog": ABB, Airly, Akamai Technologies, Amer Sports, Amway, Aon, ASPIRE Association, CANPACK Group, Centrum Wolontariatu, Cisco Systems, Credit Suisse Poland, Ecolab, Euroclear, Herbalife, Hitachi Vantara, HSBC, IAG GBS, Jacobs, Krakowski Alarm Smogowy, Knowable, Maxima Europe, Motorola, Ocado Polska, PwC, Sappi, State Street Bank Polska, UBS, Zurich Insurance Company LTD.
"The data shows that there is still a lot to be done in the fight for clean air - in Poland we still have too many fossil fuels, i.e. boilers that generate high levels of pollution. That is why, despite pandemic difficulties and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we are continuing our educational programme 'Business vs smog'. ESG topics, i.e. clean air and the climate crisis, are increasingly high on the agenda not only of companies but also of society and have a direct impact on us all. This topic cannot be put off"
Over the four editions of Business vs. smog:
45,000 children from 150 towns and cities learned about smog, its causes, health impacts and prevention, climate change, its effects and what everyone can do to influence the process.
Volunteers delivered nearly 2,000 educational workshops, either onsite, online or in a hybrid format (one volunteer at the facility and another remotely).
860 staff volunteers were involved in the programme.
"By coordinating the Business vs Smog workshop on behalf of the company and being a Ukrainian citizen, I was able to use both opportunities to educate children fleeing the war to Poland. This experience showed me once again that it does not matter where we come from or what language we speak if we realise that climate change affects us all and that everyone can contribute with their individual actions to protect the environment"
This year, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, all scenarios were translated into Ukrainian by one of the volunteers. The first classes were received very positively.
As part of the programme, a competition was also held in which the children had to prepare an artwork entitled: "Let's change our daily lives to help the planet!". The prizes, sponsored by Airly, will go to the three winning educational institutions, a kindergarten in Chabrówka, primary school No. 6 in Orzesze and the First Secondary School in Cracow.
In autumn 2021. PwC Poland conducted a survey on a group of 1,500 employees of companies involved in the "Business vs. smog" programme. 87% of those surveyed believe that the quality of the education system for tackling air pollution in Poland is at least inadequate, with almost 30% describing these activities as "very bad". Also 80% expect their employer to be actively involved in the fight for clean air. The vast majority of respondents implement simple habits that support environmental protection - e.g. segregating rubbish (95% of respondents), reducing plastic (80%) and water consumption (75%), and 48% reduce meat consumption. For 76% of those surveyed, current climate change is a climate catastrophe that must be stopped immediately.