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About Polish Environmental Partnership Foundation


The Fundacja Partnerstwo dla Srodowiska (Polish Environmental Partnership Foundation – PEPF) supports and enables practical action for sustainable development through partnerships, civil society development, proposing new solutions, as well as promoting tried and tested environmental initiatives, projects and programmes.

The aspiration of PEPF activities is to make sustainable development an integral part of the daily lives of people and communities across Poland through a focus on:

●      sustainable agriculture and short food chain systems that shorten the distance from field to plate and provide access to locally-produced food that is healthy, tasty and chemical free

●      promoting environmental performance standards in all sectors of economy and society, especially in schools, business, public agencies, local government, universities, as well as in our homes.


In terms of operations, the PEPF acts as an intermediary between foundations, businesses, public agencies operating at the national and international levels with an interest in investing in local communities working to accelerate Poland’s transition to sustainability and local leaders from business, civil society and public sectors committed to bringing prosperity, justice and environmental sustainability to the communities of which they are part.

Partnership is both the philosophy and method that underpins the work of the Foundation. For the PEPF, the essence of effective partnership is commitment by those involved in a partnership to share risks, costs and benefits, to put a premium on transparency and to work to ensure equity. Putting into practice these three principles is the key to ensuring collaboration delivers on innovation and sustainable outcomes – and ultimately on the systems change that is now urgently needed not only to accelerate Poland’s transition to sustainability, but also to ensure Poland becomes a more active advocate and enabler of sustainability internationally as a responsible member of the European Union and the international community of nations.

The PEPF commitment to partnership is rooted in a fundamental conviction that  multi-sector collaboration between business, government and civil society leaders is the most effective means of achieving sustainable development at local, regional and global levels. The practical implication of this is that PEPF’s programming involves working with local, national and international partners on the design, resourcing, delivery and evaluation of initiatives, projects and programmes.  Applying the partnership and method in this way increases the effectiveness and impact of PEPF programming and provides resources to support others in Poland and internationally seeking to apply the cross-sector partnership approach to accelerate the transition to sustainability in their own organizations and communities.


The PEPF builds on the work of the ‘Environmental Partnership for Central Europe’ (EPCE) – a programme of The German Marshall Fund of the US developed as a partnership with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation – which supported civil society development during the period 1991-1996. Since 1997, the PEPF has operated as an independent, not-for-profit foundation, registered in Poland, and guided by a board of trustees made up of representatives of business, civil society and the public sector.

Always at the forefront:

●      1990 – EPCE is registered as Poland’s first non-governmental grant making programme and awards the first grants to environmental initiative and proceeds to award 1000+small grants to help build Poland’s environmental movement

●      1994 – EPCE organizes Poland’s first cross-sector partnership workshop and begins collaboration with the Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum

●      1996– PEPF is established to build on the EPCE investment.

●      1997– PEPF initiates Poland’s first long-term Business-NGO partnership by teaming up with BP to develop the Clean Business Programme, a scheme to improve the environmental performance of SMEs.

●      1998 – PEPF initiates the Schools for Sustainable Development programme, teaming up with Toyota and launches the Greenways programme in Poland, with support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund

●      2002 – PEPF develops environmental standards, awards first Green Office certificate and promotes the Blue Flag scheme in Poland.  Receives support from the European Commission through Poland’s first ever Life-Environment grant award to develop further the Clean Business programme.

●      2005– PEPF begins collaboration with the Partnership Initiative of the International Business Leaders Forum and introduces partnership theory and methodology to Poland

●      2011 – PEPF focus on local food begins by initiating the Local Products from Malopolska scheme for promoting, distributing and selling local food – as a cross-sector partnership involving small farmers and other stakeholders.

●      2013 – PEPF initiates first farmers’ market in Kraków and the Legalise Local Food Campaign

●      2014 – PEPF initiates first kitchen incubators with local partners.

●      2015 – PEPF launches the Local Products from Malopolska as a short-food chain system, which brings consumers in Krakow local, fresh, tasty food from local Malopolska producers: an internet-enabled buyers’ club called the Liszki Basket begins operations, the Marchewka Bistro opens in the Now Huta Cultural Centre, the Parsley Market in Podgorze expands and on-farm sales are encouraged & promoted.

●      2016 – PEPF Legalise Local Food campaign leads to legislative changes that enable farmers to process and sell food products from their farms directly to consumers! PEPF launches the certification scheme to identify products sold through the Local Products from Malopolska system. A network of Buyers’ Clubs is established. A Kitchen Incubator begins operations in Stryszów – a facility for food processing available to local food producers.

●    2017 – PEPF works to scale up economic, social and environmental impact of the Local Products from Malopolska system.

The PEPF maintains a core staff in Krakow (Poland), but operates nationally through extensive networks involving businesses, public agencies, schools and civil society groups.


The work of the PEPF is financed by grants, donations and own revenue-generating activities. The PEPF seeks financial and in-kind business, national, regional and international funding schemes, philanthropic foundations and donations from individuals who share in the mission of making sustainable development a daily reality in Poland.

Current supporters include :

  • Business: TISE
  • International Programmes: Swiss Contribution, EOG Norwegian Funds.
  • EU Programmes: Europe Aid.

The PEPF operates also fee-for-service activities related to promoting eco-standards through eco-certification schemes, which include schools (Green Flag), shops (Green Shop), offices (Green Office), buildings (Bicycle Friendly), beaches and marinas (Blue Flag), hotels and hospitality (Green Key).

Financial surpluses generated are used to support the non-profit mission. Clients include: WBK Bank Zachodni, IKEA, TISE, Tchibo,PGE (Energy Company) PKP (National Rail Company), Bank Śląski, Aspen, Kirchoff, Ricoh, Sheraton, Radisson, National Environmental Fund and many other environmental leaders from the public and private sectors.