GTC, one of the leading developers in Central and Eastern Europe, has established a partnership with WWF in Poland. With the support of WWF Poland, GTC will educate its employees as well as investors, business partners and local communities on environmental protection and encourage joint ecological activities.
What does tiger, the world’s largest cat, has in common with the brown bear, Europe’s largest land predator that lives in Poland? Both predators need support if we want the future generations to enjoy them. Due to human actions, the world’s tiger population has declined 25-fold, dropping 95% in the last 120 years. On the other hand, the brown bear was once found in almost all of Poland. Currently, the area of its occurrence is limited only to some mountain areas. But even there, concrete actions should be taken to maintain acceptance for its protection.
GTC’s ambition is to run its business in a responsible manner and contribute to the achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goals especially Goal 15 related to sustainable land ecosystems and biodiversity. Therefore, it is also important to protect the natural environment and the wildlife living in it, including endangered species and species needing protection. The cooperation with WWF Poland – a respected environmental organization – will allow for conscious and comprehensive inclusion of this idea in the company’s activities within the real estate market in Poland. The developer has been following its sustainability policy for many years. GTC’s office buildings in Poland are all powered by green energy, and 88 percent of the Group’s portfolio has green certificates. GTC is also the first commercial developer in CEE to publish an ESG report, indicating its determination to have all new and – if possible – existing buildings, BREEAM or LEED certified. Financial support for wildlife conservation will complement these efforts from now on.
“Being aware of the pressures that business puts on the environment, we invited the WWF Poland to join forces in the efforts to educate the real estate market and undertake effective actions on nature protection. GTC is launching a partnership with WWF and will provide philanthropic support to the brown bear conservation program in Poland and tiger conservation efforts. Together with WWF Poland, GTC will build awareness among Polish society about the need to protect these species and their habitats” – commented Grzegorz Strutyński, GTC Country Manager Poland.
WWF Poland will support GTC with its expertise and experience. GTC, besides financial support and educational activities, will engage with WWF Poland and encourage donations (known as symbolic adoptions of animals in need of protection) and support fundraising activities. The initiatives will be carried out in the developer’s office buildings and shopping centers, as well as via the new building app “Welcome GTC”.
“We are delighted to welcome GTC amongst our strategic partners. We believe that nature can be protected with people and for the people. Everyone should know what impact we have on the planet, so that we can change this impact into a positive one, for example, by symbolically adopting animal species that are in danger of extinction and in need of protection. GTC, as our new strategic partner, can effectively engage not only its employees but also investors and visitors to GTC-owned shopping and business centers. Only pro-ecological changes made by businesses, combined with the actions of individuals, can bring positive change for people and for nature. There is still a lot to be done, but the future of our planet depends on each and one of us. Together Possible!” – commented Marta Smoręda, Senior Communication Specialist at WWF Poland.
Information on endangered species and their habitats:
Brown bear (Ursus arctos)
POPULATION in Poland: over 110 individuals
Bears, together with wolves and lynxes, are among the three largest predators inhabiting Polish forests. An adult male bear can weigh up to 300 kg, and a female 150 kg. Thus, these animals are counted as one of the largest land predators on Earth. In Europe, it lives in less accessible mountain ranges and areas in the northern part of the continent. In Poland it occurs mainly in the Bieszczady and Tatra Mountains. In recent years migrating specimens have appeared in north-eastern Poland. This beautiful and majestic animal is characterized by an unusual love of honey, long winter sleep and wonderful fur. Among forest species it is distinguished by its intelligence and sense of smell. Its innate cunning allows it to obtain food even in places where it is not welcome, e.g. apiaries. It is therefore very important to protect apiaries in the area where this predator lives. Recently, with the expansion of the occurrence of bears in Poland, some individuals began to appear near tourist routes and areas inhabited by people, where they look for food. They most often visit garbage containers.
Threat: Humans pose the greatest threat to them. Loss of habitat available to the bear and hunting and poaching have reduced the range of the species to areas where human population densities are low. However, the destruction of apiaries and the visits by bears to areas where people live reduce the acceptance of this species.
Solution: Thanks to WWF devices such as electric apiary fencing and “bear-proof” litter boxes, conflict situations are reduced. This helps to maintain acceptance for the protection of bears in Poland.
Tiger (Panthera tigris)
Population: around 3900 individuals
The tiger is the largest wild cat living on Earth. In many cultures it is considered a symbol of strength, independence and courage. Even 120 years ago, huge areas of Asia were inhabited by about 100,000 tigers, which is more than 25 times more than today! Tigers are a so-called umbrella species. This means that by protecting them, we also ensure the survival of other valuable species and preserve their natural habitats. The territory occupied by an adult male tiger is usually as large as several hundred square kilometers. Tigers play a key role in the ecosystem. These wild cats naturally regulate the populations of the animals they feed on, thus ensuring the preservation of biodiversity and the sustainability of the environment they inhabit. This benefits not only local communities who benefit from healthy environmental resources such as water and food, but all of Earth’s inhabitants.
Threat: For the tiger, the greatest threats come from human-induced pressures: loss of natural habitat, poaching and illegal trade, tiger farms, but also human-induced climate change.
Solution: In order to protect tigers more effectively, WWF Poland supports the activities of WWF Malaysia in Belum-Temengor and WWF Myanmar in the Dawna Tenasserim area. For many years, it has been running joint projects with key involvement of local communities, engaging in the process of collecting information on local populations of Malayan tiger and Indochinese tiger through, among others, the purchase of photo-traps. WWF Poland provides financial support to anti-poaching and monitoring patrols, which search the forests, remove snares, impede the activities of poachers and collect information about tigers and other forest inhabitants. It also conducts educational campaigns to raise people’s awareness.