4 minutes

In order to be sustainable in the long term, a business like ours has to be closely connected to the societies that we operate in, contributing to the well-being of these communities. A responsible corporate citizen doesn’t stop saying “here” when a purely commercial relationship comes to an end – the connection is there to stay and the bonds must be constantly reinforced.

In the case of the Jerónimo Martins Group, this solidarity attitude in the world of business has its roots in the basis of its activities. There is respect for memory, the care that the disadvantaged deserve and a willingness to innovate, which find a balance when we speak of social responsibility.

Humans have an instinct to care for others. The social connection that exists within us is one of the reasons for the survival of our species.

Companies can and should help meet the needs of the weaker segments in society. Reputation and a good corporate image are valid reasons for this, but the satisfaction and pride with which our employees take part in social projects and the way these can generate a positive impact on society are simply a fair return for the benefits gained from an economic activity. And in the long run, helping to care for a society also means promoting its capacity for economic intervention.

In the case of Jerónimo Martins, disadvantaged children/young people and senior citizens are the two social groups that are the preferred target for support in this area. The solidarity campaigns run are essentially aimed at combatting malnutrition and hunger, trying to break cycles of poverty and social exclusion.

Image of a male biedronka's employee giving a female association worker a box filled with vegetables, outside a biedronka's store
The Group donates surplus food that meets food safety standards but cannot be sold to social welfare organisations, which then ensure that it reaches people in situations of social and economic vulnerability. This practice is adopted by all Group companies and enables the products to fulfil their primary mission: to feed people. Nearly 22,000 tonnes of food were donated in 2022.

Making this positive social energy flow will only be possible if there is a deep sense of solidarity. In 2020, the commitment of the Jerónimo Martins Group in this area took on a new dimension, with the creation of the Biedronka Foundation. This came about through a desire to help the elderly, one of the most vulnerable groups in Polish society and, in 2022, it was able to have a positive impact on around 140,000 people – that’s saying something, after just three years in operation.

According to Katarzyna Scheer, Chairwoman of the Biedronka Foundation, the foundation “spent 60 million złoty on aid programmes in 2022 – twice as much as in 2021. Out of this amount, 25 million went to supporting victims of the war in Ukraine and 35 million to programmes aimed at senior citizens. The new needs associated with the war meant that we had to increase the scale of our activities by leaps and bounds. It resulted in us gaining unique experience and skills and, above all, building valuable relationships with new NGOs – these are the positive sides of the dramatic events that we have all witnessed.”

The Foundation’s largest programme is “For Everyday Shopping”, which is conducted jointly with Caritas Polska, and reached 11,000 seniors. The second largest programme – based on prepaid cards (Good Card) and aimed at smaller local organisations – has grown from 600 cards and eight organisations to 5,000 cards for seniors and 38 organisations.

Image of an elderly woman at a chek-out innside a biedronka store, holding a card and smiling
The “For Everyday Shopping” is one of the strategic programmes of the Biedronka Foundation. It is implemented in cooperation with Caritas Polska and is aimed at helping elderly people in need. Senior citizens receive a prepaid card which is topped up with a fixed amount every month for ten months (185 złoty in 2022) and can be used in Biedronka stores.

There is also an ambitious new programme, “Food for Shared Moments”. Aimed at tackling loneliness among older people in rural areas in Poland, the pilot edition has reached more than 3,500 meetings between October 2022 and November 2023. These meetings are organised by the Rural Housewives’ Clubs, which receive an electronic code from the Foundation to use in Biedronka stores and purchase the products needed to cook a meal for the meeting.