Racing into a greener future

Small talk
Fresh from awarding the first BREEAM Final, New Construction ‘Outstanding’ certificate in Poland to Panattoni Park Szczecin III, Mariusz Górecki, the CEO of Atlas Ward Polska:, tells us about this and other ESG issues related to the warehousing sector, its increasing digitalisation and his love of rally driving

Atlas Ward is one of a few contractors that can also BREEAM-certify a project. How well are sustainable construction standards being implemented on the Polish warehouse market?

Mariusz Górecki, the CEO of Atlas Ward Polska: The BREEAM assessment system is one of the most important measures of sustainable development when it comes to constructing warehousing and logistics projects. Green construction is no longer just a trend, but represents the main direction of the sector’s growth. Both developers and tenants can see the benefits of introducing features that are both people and environmentally friendly. It’s really uplifting that we are playing a part in this. Panattoni Park Szczecin III, which we built, is the first industrial centre in Poland to receive a BREEAM Final, New Construction certificate with a rating of ‘Outstanding’ with a superb score of 87.4 pct.

Why do you think green construction is becoming more popular with each year?

This is being mandated by increasingly strict regulatory requirements, high energy costs, increases in carbon dioxide emissions and people’s changing environmental preferences. The EU has been supporting sustainable construction and, as a result, more attention is being paid to environmental issues when it comes to construction projects. At Atlas Ward, we focus on the economics and the sustainability of our approach, on adhering to current standards and setting new trends. But the most important reasons for constructing green buildings still include reducing energy consumption, promoting health and well-being and encouraging sustainable building practices.

Atlas Ward has been operating for almost a quarter of a century, so you certainly must have had to face countless challenges in this time. What are the latest ones?

For the last few years, we’ve been seeing increased digitalisation in the construction sector, including the greater use of BIM. From this point of view, it seems to me that managing data and putting to use existing databases is the biggest challenge the entire industry faces – and that’s also the case for our firm. Some of the biggest projects we worked on last year include the construction of a production plant in Lower Silesia for Spanish investor Persan and also one in the same region for Chinese-German company Joysonquin, an industrial development in Lubuskie province for leading Chinese automotive sector player Minth, as well as the extension of a factory in Wolbrom in Małopolska for FTT – one of the oldest producers of rubber products in Poland. We also completed the construction of the Panattoni Wrocław Campus 39 industrial and logistics complex, which has an area of almost 200,000 sqm. We have more fascinating projects coming up, mainly for the industrial, warehouse and logistics sector.

The construction sector is generally regarded as a very male environment. Do you have a lot of women working for your company?

Of course, and we are not an exception in this because, contrary to the general perception, more women are choosing to work in the construction sector. Atlas Ward currently employs more than 200 women in various positions throughout the company. It’s of utmost importance to us is that everyone has equal opportunities for employment and promotion based on their abilities, qualifications and aptitudes. In line with the ESG strategy we follow, no candidate for working with us should be discriminated against based on their skin colour, gender or faith.

On another topic, how do you think the war in Ukraine will affect the logistics market in Poland?

The current situation, both in geopolitical and economic terms, is not easy. Companies are generally finding acquiring financing to be a struggle – and this means new challenges for the entire business. We are also seeing a greater need for space to store goods that are not rotating as quickly as they were just a few months ago, and in the future this situation might get worse. However, I believe that the logistics market in Poland will continue to benefit from the crucial advantages of its geography and the access to attractive locations with good infrastructure.

You’re a fan of motorsports and Atlas Ward Motorsport is a very active part of your firm. How does this team operate?

The team is made up of some very passionate people and I’m very pleased that our employees can pursue such a hobby in our company’s colours. We love driving fast, both on gravel and on asphalt. We also have a go-cart racer in our ranks. My adventure with motorsports began when I competed as a rally driver. I’ve entered the Porsche Sports Cup Deutschland rally in each of the last two seasons, and last autumn I defended my title as the previous year’s runner-up in the GT class. And since perseverance, determination and hard work always pay off, I will be able to compete in a higher racing category next season, so there are many new challenges and experiences ahead of me.

Interview: Anna Zamyłka