The initial few hours on the first day at
CSR LiveWeek had a houseful of ‘causes’ professionals as they all had assembled
to hear about the ‘newness’ that the new Companies Act 2013 might have brought
about in the CSR strategies of corporate groups.

As it turned out, for the larger part of
the day the talk on the podium saw CSR leaders of corporate groups sharing what
they already were doing as part of their CSR. Not much seemed to be happening
as far as preparedness for the new law was concerned.

The sessions that followed did have some
takeaways in terms of experiences and became monologues from the corporates’
representatives wherein many speakers focused more on the aspect of ‘significance
of CSR’. The ‘how to do CSR’ aspect and how programmes should become
sustainable and scalable were engaging discussions.

Towards the end of the day, representatives
of NGOs facing the stage seemed to be opening up and started to put forth some
meaningful points; the talks became debates in high pitches and firm tones. And
the PSU representatives’ panellists, particularly the oil companies, seemed to
be at the receiving end. The deliberations that made them uncomfortable were
about their non- transparent programmes and stringent NGO empanelment
procedures as well as political influences that impacted decision making.

CSR
LiveWeek: Observations on the sidelines

  • Did you notice that during the release of the Good Book, all guests
    except one ‘littered’ the stage with the wrapping paper, which was reusable and
    recyclable?

  • The auto-cut function in escalators in the exhibition area ran
    constantly, and most ‘sustainability and responsibility’ professionals ignored
    the staircase.

  • What was the event’s carbon footprint?
  • Seventeen-year-old Venkatesh Jindal presenting Jindal Group’s CSR on
    stage was a showstopper of sorts – speakers got something more to talk about.