- Making the business case for CSR
- Definitions - are sustainability, CSR, etc. all the same thing? What's included in and what's excluded from the definitions? Does it matter?
- Environmental concerns - especially water and energy
- Government regulations and their relationship to corporate engagement
- Collaboration among competitors (i.e., industry initiatives)
- Public/private partnerships
Perhaps most of all, though, the current economic environment came up again and again. Will we see "CSR attrition" in the coming months? Does the bad economy mean that companies, facing low profits, should back off from CSR for awhile? Or does increased need suggest that this is the time to step up such commitments?
I don't know the answer to these questions, but I did recently read an article that addresses this debate through the metaphor of soccer. While I never played soccer, I found the framework both insightful and accessible. The article was written by Shankar Venkateswaran last June, before we really knew how bad it would get, and he's talking specifically about Indian companies, but it's just as relevant here (wherever that may be) and now.
Over the next few days, I'll be writing about the conference and the issues raised above. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading about responsibility and recessions through the lens of strikers and full-backs!