Enhancement of regional competitiveness through Corporate Social Responsibility measures

Progetto concluso
Young adult working on a machine
The development of a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy enabled to create working places for young people in a socially responsible company. © SECO

Recent research has shown a strong link between national Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) factors and the level of innovativeness in a country. In Poland the CSR concept is relatively new and has not been incorporated in the enterprises’ development policy yet. The project aims at improving the awareness and know-how in the field of corporate social responsibility and sustainable development. Through pilot projects, support will be given to approximately 90 small and medium-sized enterprises taking concrete measures such as improving social labour standards, fighting corruption, protecting the environment and making greater use of renewable energy sources.

Paese/Regione Tema Periodo Budget
Favorire la crescita economica e migliorare le condizioni di lavoro
Aiuti all’esportazione destinati alle PMI
01.06.2009 - 28.02.2017
CHF 4'866'117

Note: the texts under all the headings, with the exception of 'Results achieved', describe the situation before the start of the project.


In post-communist Central and Eastern Europe, environmental and social concerns have tended to receive less attention than the significant economic challenges associated with the transition to market economy. In Poland, the CSR concept is relatively new and has not been incorporated in the enterprises’ development policy yet. The 2006 research "Responsible Competitiveness in Europe - Enhancing European Competitiveness through Corporate Responsibility" shows that the national CSR factor and the level of innovativeness in a country are strictly interdependent. Poland has the lowest CSR factor and ranks third from the bottom regarding innovativeness. The 2007 research "Accelerating CSR practices in the new EU member states and candidate countries as a vehicle for harmonization, competitiveness, and social cohesion in the EU" placed Poland at the bottom of the list of new EU members regarding CSR implementation. The Polish Ministry of Regional Development together with the Ministry of Economy have considered the Swiss–Polish Cooperation Programme as an excellent opportunity to enforce CSR agenda among Polish SMEs.

  • Increase of competitiveness and innovativeness of the economy.
  • Improvement of employment conditions, social and ecological involvement.
Gruppi target

The direct beneficiaries are regional authorities, regional trade centres, non-governmental organisations, small and medium-sized entreprises (SMEs), non-profit organizations and the Polish population.

  • Capacity building in the field of CSR for Regional Investor and Trade Centres, regional authorities through trainings, workshops, advisory services, study visits and awareness rising activities.
  • Assistance on implementation of CSR solutions through pilot projects for SMEs, including expertise, technical support and grants.
  • Evaluation of the SMEs projects and dissemination of best practices.

Risultati raggiunti:  

  • An analysis of the situation of enterprises comparing their situation before launching the CSR project and after the project implementation showed an increase of competitiveness of Polish SMEs in the international business environment, as well as an increase of the number of international standards implemented by the beneficiaries. The most frequently implemented standards were “Environmental Management” and “Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)” – ISO 26000, ISO 14 000.
  • 177 projects implemented by SME sector received support in the process of CSR implementation. 173 of the subsidized SMEs have improved their environmental standards, 154 of the subsidized SMEs have improved employment standards and 154 of the subsidized SMEs have improved social participation standards.
  • 14 regional strategies referring to CSR have been developed.
  • Two study visits have been organized to Denmark and to the UK. The total of 32 representatives of the regional authorities and COIE from 15 voivodeships took part in the study visits.
  • 589 SMEs representatives participated in promotional meetings.
  • 367 candidates have been listed in the database of CSR consultants.
  • 90% of the entrepreneurs, who implemented CSR initiatives in their firms and took part in the project evaluation, declared that they will continue the CSR activities that have started during the project. A change in the attitude to corporate social responsibility is visible.

Direzione/Ufficio responsabile SECO
Credito Contributo svizzero all'allargamento dell'UE
Partner del progetto Partner contrattuale
  • International Trade Center
  • Polish Ministry of Regional Development

Partner attuatore
Polish Agency for Enterprise Development

Budget Fase in corso Budget Svizzera CHF   4'866'117 Budget svizzero attualmente già speso CHF   4'812'095
Fasi del progetto

Fase 2 01.06.2009 - 28.02.2017   (Completed)