GRI Disclosures:

A large production company like PKN ORLEN uses the natural environment intensively, one example of which is the preparation of sites for new projects.

This process often involves the necessity to remove trees and shrubs in industrial areas.Greenery cutting and earthworks are carried out in accordance with the applicable regulations resulting from the Nature Conservation Act. In order to minimise the risk of an adverse impact of a project on potential bird breeding habitats, the greenery cutting and earthwork activities take place outside the bird breeding season (i.e. outside the period from March 1st to October 15th).

Moreover, to compensate for those environmental impacts, we embark on numerous pro-environmental projects, including the planting of trees and shrubs on the Company’s own premises, as well as in the town of Płock and the Stara Biała municipality. As part of these efforts, 454 trees and 20,280 various shrubs were planted on an area of more than 5,000 square metres in 2020.

The largest ORLEN Group companies also take other measures to promote biodiversity and protect endangered species, one of the flagship projects being the protection of the peregrine falcon, an endangered species in the EU. The peregrine falcon restoration programme was joined by PKN ORLEN, ANWIL and UNIPETROL. With support from professional ornithologists, falcons are monitored, ringed, and have nesting sites prepared every year. Nature enthusiasts can watch them through an online transmission from the nesting boxes. As a result of those efforts, carried out for dozen or so years now, more than 120 young falcons were brought back to the wild.

Another group of species that require support and are of special interest to the EU is pollinators, particularly the honeybee. In the vicinity of the production plant in Płock, in cooperation with the Warsaw Province Agricultural Advisory Centre, we created two honeybee apiaries. They comprise 26 hives in total and are home to 1.7 million bees. In 2020, we partnered with the Zootechnical Institute of Balice near Kraków and the Breeding Apiary in Parzniew, which are responsible for the Genetic Resources Conservation Programme, to join a project aimed at rebuilding the population of the unique Kampinos Forest Bee, as part of which we prepared 11 hives for the bee families (the third apiary). Other ORLEN Group companies that engage in taking care of bees are ORLEN Deutschland and the Czech company Spolana.

The Energa Group, which became part of the ORLEN Group in 2020, is continuing its ‘Energa for Nature’ programme for white stork protection. For over 20 years, measures have been taken to secure the nests that the storks made on low voltage poles. In 2020, nearly 500 new and renovated platforms were placed on such poles in northern and central Poland. The Energa Group has teamed up with the ProNatura Foundation running the project, as part of which a campaign ‘Collect Strings, Protect Storks’ ir organised and a nationwide helpline 801 BOCIAN (i.e. 801 26 24 26) is operated, where the callers may receive advice on the protection of this species.

Our local biodiversity projects include flower meadows, which support saving endangered plant and animal species, including bees. In addition, the meadow plants capture smog-forming dust, store moisture, and offset local heat islands. ORLEN Deutschland and Spolana have turned the areas around their headquarters into flower carpets. PKN ORLEN and the Energa Group have entered into cooperation with the Meadow Foundation: in Płock, meadow plants were sowed at our service station, while Energa is implementing the ‘Energa of Biodiversity’ project. It was initiated in Ostrołęka, where nearly 2.7 hectares of meadows were created on a combustion waste landfill site and in front of the head office of Energa Elektrownie Ostrołęka.

ORLEN Group companies participate in the Responsible Care Programme, based on the same guiding principles all over the world, but the Polish edition is Europe’s largest in terms of the scope and number of implemented projects. The projects are coordinated by the Secretariat of the Responsible Care Programme managed by ORLEN Eco under the supervision of the Polish Chamber of Chemical Industry and the Governing Board of the Responsible Care Programme. ORLEN Group companies participating in the Responsible Care Programme include ANWIL (since 1995), Unipetrol (since 1996), PKN ORLEN (since 1997), Paramo (since 2001), IKS Solino (since 2002), Basell Orlen Polyolefins (since 2003), Unipetrol Doprava (since 2011) and ORLEN Południe (since 2016). Besides activities that are mandatory under the Programme, ORLEN Group companies also run their own projects, including: ‘Tree for a Bottle’, the ‘Catch a Hare’ and ‘Catch a Hare – Junior Edition’ photo contest, the ‘Nature Watchers’ competition, the Chemical Sector Environmental Forum, and the ‘Mr Carp Restocks the Vistula’ campaign. Obe of the activities carried out in 2020 under the Responsible Care Programme was PKN ORLEN’s ‘Tree for a Bottle’ project. Due to the pandemic, its formula was changed: instead of cleaning outdoor areas, specific types of waste (used batteries, medicines and electro-waste), which very often accumulate in households, were collected from employees. In exchange for the waste, a participant received a tree seedling as the symbol of the campaign. In total, employees exchanged about 1,400 kg of waste for 680 seedlings of various plants.

In 2020, Energa Elektrownie Ostrołęka and the Friends of Ostrołęka Association held an educational campaign focusing on ornithology. A dozen or so bird feeders were set up by Ostrołęka residents, including school pupils and employees of the Ostrołęka power plant. Energa OZE engages in efforts designed to counteract the impact of hydroelectric power plants on the biodiversity of rivers and lakes, for instance by participating in regular fish stocking campaigns carried out in consultation with the local branches of the Polish Fishing Association (in 2020 nearly 300,000 fish were released to rivers and lakes, including brook trout, sea trout and pike perch), mounting fish passes at successive hydro powerplants, cooperating with the Polish Fishing Association in regular campaigns to transfer specimens of selected fish species past the dam to enable their upstream migration, as well as engaging with research institutions involved in wildlife monitoring, including the Inland Fisheries Institute of Olsztyn, which monitors eels migrating upstream at selected hydroelectric power plants.

Habitatsand protected species

The Płock production plant site and the adjacent land are nature-rich  areas and home to rare, and in some cases protected, species. This was confirmed by the botanists, ornithologists, ichthyologists and other scientists conducting a wildlife survey at that location. Similar surveys were conducted by ANWIL, Unipetrol and Spolana. The list of species living near our plants often includes animals that are sensitive to the quality of the environment, such as rainbow trout in the water reservoirs in Spolana.

On the site of the Płock production plant and the adjacent areas there are nearly 290 species of fauna and flora (based on the wildlife survey made in 2017). The local residents know roe deer, rabbits, beavers and peregrine falcons to be regulars of the nearest surroundings of the plant. One surprising thing unveiled by the survey is the presence of protected bird species such as black woodpecker, kingfisher, red-backed western marsh harrier, as well as amphibians and reptiles: European tree frogs, newts, toads, lizards and grass snakes. Nearly 160 species identified in the survey are ones included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. A vast majority of them (more than 95%) have been classified as the least concern (LC) species. Five species require particular attention – three vulnerable (VU) species, i.e. the common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), the northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), the common carp (Cyprinus carpio), and two species classified by the IUCN as near threatened (NT), i.e. the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra).

The wildlife survey on the premises of ANWIL in 2018 identified more than 220 plant and animal species, the vast majority (more than 90%) of which are included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as the least concern (LC) species. ANWIL’s site was found to be home to three lichen species featuring in the Red List of extinct and threatened lichens in Poland (VU category – vulnerable species, and NT – near threatened species); none of them was identified on the Płock site.

On the premises of both production plants, there are protected habitats listed in the Habitats Directive. In the case of PKN ORLEN, these are alder and ash floodplain forests and riparian forests (Alno-Ulmion) (91E0), broadleaved forests (Carpinion) (9170), lowland ranunculus rivers (3260) and riverain herbaceous areas (6430). In the close vicinity of the ANWIL plant there are: 35 areas of four types of protected natural habitats (including one in three subtypes) covering almost 130 ha – inland dunes with open Corynephorus and Agrostis grasslands (2330), xeric sand calcareous grasslands (6120), lowland hay meadows (6510), Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae) (91E0-1), (91E0-2), and (91E0-3).

Among the birds nesting on both plants’ sites, there are several species listed in the Birds Directive, which are also under strict protection in Poland: the red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio), the barred warbler (Sylvia nisoria), the western marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus) , the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), the corn crake (Crex crex), the common tern (Sterna hirundo), the black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), the common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), the common crane (Grus grus) (only on ANWIL’s premises), and the woodlark (Lullula arborea) (only on ANWIL’s premises).

The species under strict protection that inhabit the sites of the two production plants include four species of bats: the serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus), the common noctule (Nyctalus noctula), the brown long-eared bat (Plecotus sp.), and the common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus).

The great number od species present on the site and in the surroundings of the Płock production plant is undoubtedly related to the proximity of protected areas: the Brzeźnica River Ravine nature and landscape complex, and two Natura 2000 sites, namely Włocławska Dolina Wisły (Włocławek Vistula River Valley, PLH040039 ) and Dolina Dolnej Wisły (Lower Vistula River Valley, PLB040003) (Anwil). Also Energa OZE carries out activities designed to identify and monitor the environmental impacts of its operations, focusing on the hydroelectric power plant effect on biodiversity in rivers and lakes. In addition, the Association of the Towns and Municipalities of the Parsęta River Basin, in cooperation with the Inland Fishing Institute of Olsztyn, monitors functioning of the fish pass on the site of a small hydropower plant in Rościno as part of the project ‘Protection of Atlantic Salmon and European River Lamprey in the Parsęta River Basin Special Area of Conservation (PLH 320007)’ (project partly financed with funds under the Operational Programme Infrastructure and Environment and Baltic Sea Conservation Foundation).

Installations operated by Energa OZE are located in protected areas, e.g. ten Natura 2000 SAC habitat areas, seven Natura 2000 SPA bird areas, twelve protected landscape areas, three national/landscape parks and two nature reserves. In total, these areas are home to nearly 230 species listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


Based on the geographical scale of operations, one company worth mentioning is Energa Operator, whose high voltage lines cross protected areas:


Protected areas

Number of areas

Length of HV lines (km)

Landscape parks



Landscape park buffer zones



Nature reserves



Nature reserve buffer zones



National park buffer zones



Protected landscape areas



Natura 2000 sites



All Energa Operator’s projects that involve the construction of power linesand are located near or within protected areas are subject to the environmental impact assessment procedure. The overhead lines are replaced with insulated or underground cable lines where there is an increased number of disturbances caused, for example, by tree branches or animals. This happens most often in forests or wooded land areas, when the distance to the wires is relatively short and even decreases in time (due to tree growth), or in areas inhabited by animal species (mainly birds) that may collide with the wires.

ORLEN Group Integrated Report

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