CHANGES IN POLAND’S AGRICULTURE AS AN EXAMPLE OF SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS
The article presents the changes in Poland’s agricultural sector as an example of socially responsible business. The material was generated on the basis of data from the Central Statistical Office of Poland and secondary sources. It became apparent that key elements of the ’corporate social responsibility’ (CSR) concept are shared with the models for multifunctiona and sustainable agriculture which is manifested in ecologic and sustainable farming. Generally, the number of the farms under research rose from 1,463 in 2005, to 19,813 in 2015. Subsequently, employment also rose in this sector i.e. the difference between 2005 and 2015 was 249,000 people. It should be noted that the assessment of socially responsible activity is difficult when considering changes in agriculture.
The assessment of socially responsible activities by entitles operating in the market is especially difficult and it applies to farms as well. From research carried out by Brodzińska, it is apparent that the criteria used to monitor farms carrying out requirements of agri-environmental programs, does not guarantee implementation of environmentally friendly practices (Brodzińska, 2013, p. 84-85). As a result it is difficult to categorically confirm whether increasing the number of production farms adhering to ecologic methods or integrated methods is socially responsible. This reality also pertains to changes in the numbers of those working in agriculture in view of employment status and other changes in agriculture.
The difficulties of initiating the concept of sustainable agricultural and rural development arise from social, intellectual and ethical issues (Atoszek, 2002, p. 197-209). Farming is the primary user of land and space, and it produces foodstuffs as well as non-foodstuffs, impacts on the natural environment and landscape (positive and negative), and maintains the vitality of rural communities. By this virtue, farming has an important role in the processes of sustainable (read durable) development impacting on every constituent part of rural viability (Zegar, 2009, p. 9-13). The sustainability of agriculture can be approached from the perspective of the global scale, or regional or individual farm (Krasowicz, 2006, p. 25- 263). And yet it should be noted that even though the essence of sustainability is important for each level, the measurements vary thereof (Brodzińska, 2013, p. 81).