Download the report here!
It was an incredible full-on two days at the Business Show at the Excel Centre in London on 22 and 23 November. We met lots of people, talked to lots of companies about corporate social responsibility (CSR), talked to many people about the book, CSR Is Not PR, sold lots of copies of the book, and just had a good time.
On the first day of the Show, which was 22 November, we also had an opportunity to create an interactive session about the book, which was very popular, where lots of people had to stand. I am grateful to Ben Walker, the award-winning business editor, for being such a great host and getting everyone involved. There were some great questions from the audience, with two questions that kept cropping up – what’s the difference between CSR and ESGs (environment, social, and governance); and how do you track CSR?
There was a lot of love for the book, and the two posters proved to be a hit, we had lots of attendees coming over to take photos for that Instagram moment! My highlights were when someone came rushing over to the stall to buy a copy of the book, because they had seen so many people carrying the book at the Show and had FOMO! The other moment was when the company, Print and Trees arranged to plant a tree in South America to acknowledge the book and support it.
I want to say a few thank yous – to my publisher, LID Business Media, and everyone who swung by our stall at the Business Show. I shall leave you with a few more photos from the event.
I will be in the hot seat with business journalist Ben Walker at The Business Show in London on 22 November at 1.15 pm in Theatre 7 at London Excel, talking about CSR Is Not PR. This will be a lively conversation, and we will be getting the audience involved!
This year the Business Show has a strong sustainability theme and quite rightly so! Businesses need to get with the programme and understand why being CSR-led, eco-friendly, sustainable, and ethical is extremely good for business and really no longer an option.
Ben serves as editor-at-large of Dialogue Review, the official leadership and management journal of Duke Corporate Education, published by LID business media…and there will be free copies of Dialogue for the audience.
So come join us and be part of the conversation. Copies of my book, Corporate Social Responsibility Is Not Public Relations will be available.
Good to be working on the publicity campaign for My Silk Road, The Adventures and Struggles of a British Asian Refugee by author and businessman Ram Gidoomal, CBE with a foreword by Dame Prue Leith, DBE, which will now be in paperback from 19 November 2023 and is published by Pippa Rann Books & Media. This is a powerful autobiography of legacy, struggles, belonging, and hope – of a rich boy turned refugee who had his dreams and plans ripped away from him, and how he goes on to create success beyond his imagination.
Dame Pru Leith, DBE says in her Foreword, “The result is a book that is deeply stimulating and challenging, but also riveting, witty, and humorous – and therefore inspiring.”
My Silk Road aims to encourage everyone who is struggling to move forward in life. Gidoomal shares stories that demonstrate the difference made by a can–do attitude, a spirit of generosity, and prioritizing relationships. Through all these, he shares the secrets of living a life that marries deep compassion with success, a generous life that reaps unexpected rewards.
This memoir is reflective of what’s happening today globally, with people being displaced by conflict, and needing to start their lives again in a different country. The author, Ram Gidoomal, was born into a family that fled British India during the partition of India and Pakistan, who became an Indian immigrant family of silk traders in Kenya, where he enjoyed an idyllic childhood in Mombasa. As he turned 17, his family faced a devastating second deportation to London. Starting from scratch, Gidoomal built a successful high-profile career in business, where he was on the road to prosperity and fortune when a life-changing journey led him to dedicate his business skills and profits to those who need them most.
My Silk Road is Gidoomal’s ninth book. He has received numerous recognitions for his books and other contributions, including Honorary Doctorates from three UK universities. In 2021 was included in High Flyers Global 50, which recognises the 50 most eminent people of Indian origin living and working outside India. In 1998, his contributions to the community were recognised by the award of a CBE from Her Late Majesty The Queen.
Below is just a sample of the praise that My Silk Road has received:
“wit, verve, and searing honesty” – Lord McColl of Dulwich
“Once you start reading, you cannot put it down” – Lord Vallance of Tummel
“Lifts the heart and spirit” –Baroness Cumberlege CBE DL
“Extraordinary” – Vice-Admiral Sir Adrian Johns KCB CBE DL, former Second Sea Lord and Governor of Gibraltar
Interested in the book and/or the author do get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org
And I am pleased to say that CSR Is Not PR was well received by the PR community. Sir David Attenborough has called the plight of the planet a communications issue and yes it does start with us in the media industry…we can help brands be more accountable, to do better, and be authentic about their values and storytelling. There is no room for any business or brand to be making up fairytales, as that’s just greenwashing. Consumers are savvy and voting with wallets, loyal to brands and businesses that are eco-friendly, ethical, and doing right by the environment. After all, there is no business without the planet.
Did you watch this brilliant and honest conversation with Ingmar Rentzhog CEO and Co-Founder of We Don’t Have Time about the climate crisis? Well don’t worry, you can watch it here. This video since its release on 7 September has had 947K views alone on Twitter also known as X.
And yes the cat is out of the bag, I am writing my third book, for publication in 2024. It is a pro-planet book, about legacy and climate change, with a diversity of voices. This book draws on the inspiration from the success, of CSR Is Not PR and includes ‘in conversations’ with global change makers about the climate crisis.
I had great fun speaking with Keith Vaz on his radio show, Talking Points on Lyca Radio, who is a wonderful warm host, who keeps his guests on their toes. We talked about lots of things from brands, PR, my book, Corporate Social Responsibility Is Not Public Relations, Donald Trump, speech writing, and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
If you want to listen to the show, you can catch it here and you will also find out what’s my favourite Bollywood film song and why…
Nothing, and let me say again, nothing gives an author more joy than seeing their book being read, being with book lovers, on bookshelves, and being at book fairs. So, this photo received today, sent by my publisher was special and they have been making sure the book got all the spotlight it deserves at the World Book Fair happening in Delhi this week, which ends on 5 March.
This is the 31st edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF), which began on February 25 and has been organised by the National Book Trust (NBT) in collaboration with the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO). The event has invited France as its guest of honour and will be attended by a total of 16 French authors, including Annie Ernaux, the 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature winner.
This year’s theme of the Fair is based on Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, an initiative of the Government of India to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of independence and the glorious history of its people, culture, and achievements.
NDWBF was first held in 1972 after it was inaugurated by the then-President of India VV Giri. Today, it’s one of the biggest literary events in the world with a total footfall of over two million people.
I have been lucky to be invited to attend this year’s 16th Jaipur Literature Festival, India, an event that has been on my bucket list since 2012 and it did not disappoint. I would go far as saying that everyone should at least once in their lifetime, experience JLF in India. It is like Glastonbury for books, where authors are rock stars.
The Festival beautifully combines books with music, creating its own culture and vibe; and te city of Jaipur could not be more perfect for the setting for this Festival. Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan, in India. Translated from Hindi, Rajasthan means ‘the land of kings’, and Jaipur, is defined by royalty. The 18th-century Maharaja Jai Singh designed the city to meet his every desire, with royal palaces, gardens and pavilions taking up almost a quarter of its footprint. Jaipur has kept its romantic atmosphere and regal air. The entire city was painted pink in 1876 to welcome the Prince of Wales and was refreshed to celebrate the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and, later, Diana, Princess of Wales. Today, Jaipur’s prolific royal architecture is fiercely protected.
All these details matter and the Festival is colourful and vibrant. The talks are held in beautiful tents that billow in the gentle breeze, which adds to the atmosphere of romance and imagination. Each Festival morning started with Indian classical music to set the vibration of the day; and one morning there was a fusion of guitar with Indian sitar and tabla (drums) players, which was mystical and atmospheric.
The past decade has seen the Festival transform into a global literary phenomenon having hosted nearly 2000 speakers and welcomed over a million book lovers from across India and the globe. Past speakers have ranged from Nobel Laureates J.M. Coetzee, Orhan Pamuk and Muhammad Yunus, Man Booker Prize winners Ben Okri, Margaret Atwood and Paul Beatty, Sahitya Akademi winners Girish Karnad, Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, M.T. Vasudevan Nair as well as the late Mahasweta Devi and U.R. Ananthamurthy along with literary superstars including Amish Tripathi, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Vikram Seth. An annual event that goes beyond literature, the Festival has also hosted Amartya Sen, Amitabh Bachchan, the late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Fry, Thomas Piketty and former president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai.
The Festival brings together a diverse mix of the world’s greatest writers, thinkers, humanitarians, politicians, business leaders, sports people, and entertainers on one stage to champion the freedom to express and engage in thoughtful debate and dialogue.
Be prepared to learn while you are at the Festival…it’s like being on a crash University course. Your brain is kept busy as you listen to authors. I learnt about the writings of the royal Indian courts and Mughals; about wellness and Ayurveda; Russia; Wedgewood poetry; the Himalayas; climate change and sustainability; cell systems; nurturing democracy and so much more. My list is endless.
This year at JLF, the organiers had a special message about climate change and spoke about the Festival’s commitment to be more sustainable, plastic free and to reduce its carbon footprint, through innovation and better practice. While I was there this message was carried through and you could see that the organisers and volunteers were serious about their endeavours. The magic of the JLF is its serendipity, where you make new friends, find that you are staying in the same hotel as well-known international authors, sharing cabs with them…it’s a place that is a great leveller, and as I began this piece, it is an experience that everyone should have at least once their lifetime
I hope everyone has had a good Christmas and now enjoying the time off before we hurl ourselves into 2023. I thought I would take this quiet moment of reflection between Christmas and the New Year to get around to updating everyone about my book, Corporate Social Responsibility Is Not Public Relations, which was published in India on 23 November 2022 by Jaico Publishing.
You will immediately notice that the book has a different cover and is one that has been designed to suit the Indian market. I just love the way on the front cover, if you notice, the line that says ‘For sale in the Indian Subcontinent only’ – that to me, makes this my book extra special. On a personal note, to have my book published and sold here, is a fairy tale come true. I spent my teenage and young adult life in India, where we had books published by Jaico on our bookshelves. Never in my wildest dreams, did I think that one day, I too would have my book published by the highly regarded publishing house.
I wanted to make this edition of the book special, and I decided to include three new interviews with business leaders that will be of interest to the market here. One interview is with an award-winning luxury British Ayurvedic wellbeing brand that has a strong Indian heritage; the other is with one’s of France’s influential ESG and CSR thought leaders and activists, who has worked in India, and the third interview is with a multi-award-winning Indo-German sustainable fashion brand that is doing great things.
I could not be prouder to have my book published in India, a country that was the first in the world to implement a national CSR law in 2014. A region that is a superpower, and has the fifth largest economy in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund. This means my book could not be timelier, because it is now vital for all national and international brands and businesses in India, to authentically commit to their CSR initiatives and build CSR into the heart of their brands and business strategies, and my book explains how to do this with purpose.
The Indian Government has started to raise consumer awareness, with its efforts toward reducing the country’s carbon footprint. Currently, India is the world’s third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide, after the US and China. According to an Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India and PricewaterhouseCoopers International report, landfills are brimming with so much urban waste that by 2050, India is going to need a landfill that’s the size of its capital, New Delhi. Indian consumers aren’t ignoring these horrifying numbers anymore.
More and more consumers are becoming aware of their choices and realising that whether it is clothes that they decide to throw away, nothing ever really goes ‘away’, it all ends up in a landfill. Human activities are clearly harming the global environment and brands have no choice but to migrate to sustainable solutions and work towards building a circular economy. Information is not only to educate people about environmental issues but also to guide them on how they can make a difference every step of the way.
In October 2022, PM Modi launched Mission LiFE movement (Lifestyle for the Environment), which is an India-led global mass movement that will nudge individual and collective action to protect and preserve the environment. PM Modi said the mantra of Mission LiFE is ‘Lifestyle for Environment’ and “Connects the powers of the people for the protection of this earth and teaches them to utilize it in a better way. Mission LiFE makes the fight against climate change democratic, in which everyone can contribute within their capacity. It inspires us to do all that can be done in our everyday life to protect the environment…and that the environment can be protected by making changes in our lifestyle.”
PM Modi added that the mission emboldens the spirit of the P3 model, Pro Planet People, uniting the people of the earth as pro planet people, uniting them all in their thoughts. It functions on the basic principles of ‘Lifestyle of the planet, for the planet and by the planet’…making my book both timely and relevant to the Indian market. Jai Hind!