Creating Meaningful Connections. Iwona Jacaszek-Pruś, Corporate Affairs Director at Kompania Piwowarska

Creating Meaningful Connections. Iwona Jacaszek-Pruś, Corporate Affairs Director at Kompania Piwowarska

In September 2020, you adopted the “Better Future 2030” strategy, which integrates your business strategy with the execution of sustainability goals. Can you please tell us how it impacted the company’s development? What are you most pleased with; what are you focused on; what would you still like to improve?

The strategy we adopted in 2020 impacts our entire business, clearly defining the company’s sustainability agenda. It is not a revolution, because the natural environment, employees, local communities and responsible alcohol consumption have been important areas for us for a while now, however the implementation of the “Better Future 2030” strategy made its four priority areas, referred to as pillars, i.e. Planet, People, Portfolio, Profit, equally important. They are all closely related to each other, and our business and sustainability goals are recognized as equivalent. For example: if we make a decision in the Portfolio area to introduce a new product to the market, we know that we will introduce it in packaging that is in line with the Planet guidelines, so it will be environmentally friendly. It refers not only to primary, but also secondary packaging – multipacks. In their case, we take a step away from regular foil and replace it with recycled one. If we decide to purchase a new technological line, its parameters must meet both our business and sustainability expectations, which means that the technology should allow us to save resources, such as water or energy. Our procurement decisions and other choices must bring business and environmental benefits – that is the key change resulting from the current strategy. No one will make a decision based solely on business benefits, what we also take into account is the potential impact on the environment, communities and our employees. We are pleased with what we have achieved so far in terms of pursuing the strategy goals, some of them have been delivered before the assumed date, but we still have a lot to aim for by the end of this decade.

Our approach to sustainability perfectly reflects the overarching company purpose – Creating Meaningful Connections. In the areas of business and social responsibility, we continue to build relationships with partners who share similar values and goals, thus contributing to positive environmental and social changes more efficiently and on a larger scale. Our aligned goals lead to synergy in the area of innovation – together we contemplate solutions that will allow us to reduce transport-related CO₂ emissions.

Kompania Piwowarska was ranked high in the “2022 Ranking of Responsible Companies”. Which of your activities were recognized and rated so highly?

The ranking takes into account systemic solutions and long-term activities related to all the ESG areas. Following the survey verification and audit, Kompania Piwowarska was once again recognized for its numerous efforts in all the three areas: Environmental, Social and Governance, executed in a systematic and consistent way. We are pleased with our high position in the ranking, as it confirms that we are going in the right direction.

Kompania Piwowarska’s priorities include responsible consumption, caring about the society, and mitigating negative impacts of its business activity on the environment. Which social campaigns are you engaged in, and what do you want to communicate with their use? What do you pay special attention to?

Having the common good and the reputation of our product in mind, we care about responsible consumption of alcohol, therefore we have been promoting moderate drinking and responsible behaviours for years. Our educational and social campaigns mainly communicate that alcohol is intended exclusively for adults and that pregnant and breastfeeding women should not drink it at all, just as drivers.

What we care about is included in our company mission – bring more fun to life. We understand it as moderate consumption of high-quality beer and cultivating the brewing tradition and culture – including social gatherings, tastings, food pairing. The packaging of all our beers features information that the product in not intended for minors, pregnant women and drivers. Every commercial communication contains similar messaging. In the spirit of our purpose – Creating Meaningful Connections – we carry out some of our educational campaigns together with our social partners, for example those dedicated to the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).

It is with great satisfaction that we are observing consumer trends, especially among young people, who drink less and less alcoholic beers, and increasingly more often choose non-alcoholic beers. The downward trend of strong beers has been consistent for five years, while non-alcoholic beers continue to grow. Our strategy takes these changes into account; most of the novelties in our portfolio are 0.0% beers, and we want them to constitute 20% of our offer by 2030.

Kompania Piwowarska belongs to Asahi Europe & International. As part of a wider strategy, you aim to reduce your water consumption in the brewing process to 2.75 litre per 1 litre of beer by 2025. However, it turns out that you already topped that number last year. What are the reasons for such a great result?

For us, every drop of water counts. Respect for our planet’s resources and their economical use are of key importance for sustainable development. Moreover, this approach brings financial benefits – by reducing our water consumption, we lower our costs. Even having achieved such great results, we do not rest on laurels. We continue to track our water consumption parameters, thinking about how we can further reduce it, and invest in new solutions. We need water not only to brew beer, but also for other processes, for example to maintain our sanitary regime. Currently, new technologies allow us to purify water, therefore we recycle water used for washing instead of disposing it to the sewer system. Many good eco-friendly ideas come from our employees, who submit them within our company program – ECO Kompania. The aim of these ideas is to improve our daily operations and thus contribute to the protection of our planet through reduction of CO₂ emissions and water consumption, sustainable sourcing, or increasing the share of circular packaging. The authors of the ideas we implement receive financial rewards. Every year, we receive numerous ideas, and considering the scale of our business, seemingly small savings make a real difference.

Kompania Piwowarska puts a lot of emphasis on gender equality. You committed to achieving gender parity at management levels by 2030. What in your opinion is the reason for such large disproportions in terms of executive positions?

This commitment refers to the second pillar of our strategy – People, and diversity is one of our priorities in that area. In Poland and across the world, there are still significant disproportions when it comes to executive positions, to the disadvantage of women. It is a result of many years of traditional attitudes towards women and redefining their social roles. Above all, they are supposed to be mothers, a that often excludes women striving to grow their careers from the professional life for a few years. Men continue to move forward, and women, who are still mostly responsible for taking care of children, have a gap in their CV. Fortunately, the situation is changing, but due to decades of convention and slow pace of change, there is simply not a lot of women in management.

One of the ways to introduce change is recruiting women from outside of the company. At Kompania Piwowarska, we have implemented the following rule: when recruiting people for lower and higher managerial positions, the number of candidates representing both sexes must be equal. We will, of course, choose the person with the best qualifications and competencies, but that way both genders have equal chances. When it comes to women, it is often problematic to find a female candidate with both sufficient education and professional experience. What is promising, but requires some time, is the development of women within our own organization – focusing already on graduates, ensuring that we hire as many women as possible, and providing them with career development opportunities. Unfortunately, young women who want to work and grow their skills hit the glass ceiling. The main reason for that is mental barriers and patterns related to motherhood and raising children. It is a real problem, and the business has to find a solution that will transform this way of thinking. Otherwise, women’s situation will not change. The claim that women are less ambitious or talented is unjustified. Moreover, the differences between the sexes ensure diversity within the teams, which brings benefits and advantage to the company. The world is changing, so we have to become more flexible, and diverse teams do make companies more flexible.         

One of the elements of ESG is corporate governance. What is your approach to this subject? What is important for you when it comes to developing rules, practices and processes?

A business is like a living organism, which to function properly and efficiently needs a purpose, certain order and rules. Every company has to define its overarching purpose and build the organisation around it, with the support of procedures and policies, also in the areas of sustainability and people.

The Code of Ethics, which is binding for every person in our company, is the basis of our operations. If anyone from the inside or outside of our organization notices any violation of the code, they can report it, officially or anonymously, to the Ethics Committee. Prior to commencing work at our company, every new employee must read the Code of Ethics and commit to full compliance with its rules. Every year, we conduct a survey among our employees, which is a kind of a test of knowledge and understanding of its provisions.

Nowadays, before joining a new company, young people pay attention to its approach to the natural environment and people. Such conditions become more and more important also for consumers, when making purchase choices. Currently, ethical behaviour and caring about nature and society are important determinants of business success. Now, when the world is facing unprecedented challenges and problems, at Kompania Piwowarska we bet on creating meaningful connections with our business partners, which thanks to the scale will allow us to work faster and more efficiently for the common good and a better future.

Iwona Jacaszek-Pruś – associated with Kompania Piwowarska SA since 2017, member of the management team, Corporate Affairs Director. She manages the team responsible for internal and external communications, public relations, corporate image, and sustainability.

In the years 2003-2016, she performed similar functions as a member of the management team at Coca-Cola HBC Polska. Previously, she had gained professional experience working for British-American Tobacco Polska, the Burson-Marsteller agency, Instytut Badań nad Gospodarką Rynkową and ABC Consulting.

She gave lectures on marketing strategies and integrated marketing communications at the ICAN Institute. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Union of Brewing Industry Leaders in Poland. In the years 2004-2016, she was a member of the Management Board and in the years 2010-2016, she held the position of Vice President at the Polish Federation of Food Industry Union of Employers. In the years 2003-2016, she served as a member of the Supervisory Board at Rekopol Organizacja Odzysku Opakowań SA and in the years 2006-2016, as the Chairman of the Board. She graduated from the University of Gdańsk with a degree in International Trade.

Last Updated on October 14, 2022 by Anastazja Lach