Public Affairs role is to inform not influence policy making, Godrej's Ishteyaque Amjad at the PRmoment Weber Shandwick Chai Talk

Ishteyaque Amjad, Godrej

In June 2021, PRmoment India and Weber Shandwick India, kicked off Chai Talk in its first online avatar. 

The central theme was : 'Evolving Role of Public Affairs in Shaping Boardroom Strategies'.

The first session under the main theme was an in-depth conversation with Ishteyaque Amjad, group head corporate affairs, Godrej Group, on the role of Public Affairs in a V.U.C.A. world.

Defining the purpose of Public Affairs 

Ishteyaque began his remarks by defining the nature of public affairs today. 

He said, the existing ecosystem, all businesses, all human beings, all society exists in an ecosystem. To bring the ecosystem in harmony, that is the beauty of Public Affairs. 

Ishteyaque also pointed out to the intersection between C-suite leadership and public affairs. "You know, often times we look at a CEO, as the chief people's officer, chief sales officers, chief marketing officer, chief strategy officer, chief financial officer in a certain fashion. But every organisation ends up doing public affairs.

And if you don't have a full fledged professionally governed department for this, it is the CXOs, who end up doing that work. And we saw that especially in the midst of COVID-19, we saw it really playing out. There is no industry body meetings where we don't have half a dozen CEOs coming and talking about the problem they are facing, these are real time business problems."

Making another key point on defining how public affairs is implemented Ishteyaque said," Oftentimes, somebody would go and accuse us of being a lobbyist or doing things that are making the government or some of these policymakers make policies, which are actually beneficial to you, it doesn't work that way. You know, all we do is bring all those facts and figures and evidences and data and an argument on the table. And that makes policymaking an informed choice, rather than influenced one, and that's a very important understanding"

Watch the full video below to know more on how policy affairs is being shaped in the Covid era with regard to:

1) Bringing the ecosystem to a balanced view point.

2) Do companies need their own public affairs code of conduct? 

3) Mapping authentic stakeholders for policy making.

4) Having more faith in the private sector.

5) Why ESG are a key part of board governance and therefore public affairs.

In the second part of the discussion Ishteyaque Amjad addressed audience questions around:

1) The cost of candour, why companies should or should not share an opinion on social issues like #BlackLivesMatter.

2) Collaboration and common purpose the way ahead for companies to navigate federal government structures.

3) Godrej and ESG implementation.

Watch the full Q and A here:

At the end of the session, the audience polled their views on what aspects of public affairs will matter most post Covid.

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