Ebenezer Onyeagwu Emerges “CEO of the Year”3 min read
….as Zenith Bank Wins ‘MostResponsible Organisation in Africa’ at SERAS CSR Africa Awards 2021
Zenith Bank’s Group Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, has emerged CEO of the Year for a second consecutive year at the Sustainability, Enterprise andResponsibility (SERAS) CSR Africa Awards held at the weekend in Lagos. According to thejudges, he was selected for a number of reasons, including engendering a culture thatpromotes the continued investment in social initiatives in support of the United NationsSustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Under his leadership, the Zenith Bank’s socialinvestments totalled NGN3.285 billion in 2020, representing nearly 2% of the Bank’s profitafter tax.The judges found him worthy for his commitment to promoting sustainability and responsiblebusiness practices in Nigeria, by his frontal leadership of sustainability in Zenith Bank,thereby enabling best industry practices in the banking sector, and for his passion forreducing carbon emissions in the Bank’s operations.Zenith Bank Plc also emerged winner in four other categories at the SERAS CSR AfricaAwards, carting home the awards for “Best Company in Reporting and Transparency”, “BestCompany in Infrastructure Development”, “Best Company in Gender Equality and WomenEmpowerment”, and the coveted “Most Responsible Organisation in Africa”.Zenith Bank was adjudged the Most Responsible Organisation in Africa, winning the overallbest sustainability award, for its continued commitment to the tenets of Sustainability andCorporate Social Responsibility, within its immediate community and in the society at large.The Bank also emerged as the winner in the category for Reporting and Transparency forits consistency in disclosing and communicating its sustainability journey and progressannually vis-a-vis environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals, in line with theguidelines and protocols set by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Nigeria SustainableBanking Principles (NSBP), NigerianExchange (NGX), United Nations Global Compact(UNGC), and United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). TheBank also ensures the assurance of its sustainability report by reputable independent thirdparties. In 2021, the Bank’s 2020 sustainability report was assured byPricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and disseminated through the Bank’s website for the publicand sent to all relevant stakeholders, including the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC).In the infrastructure development category, the Bank was voted winner for its nation-buildinginitiatives and investments, including supporting efforts towards establishing basic servicesand functional security, governance, and economic and infrastructure systems, especially inNigeria. As a testament to this and in demonstration of its commitment to the development(often referred to as reform, restructuring and rebuilding) of the Nigeria Police Force for the preservation of law and order, protection of life and property, and law enforcement inNigeria, the Bank supported the Lagos State Security Trust Fund with N500,000,000.00 forthe provision of security-enhancing facilities and infrastructure. This is in addition tocontributions to other state security trust funds.Zenith Bank was adjudged winner in the category for the Best Company in Promotion ofGender Equality and Women Empowerment for its Z-Woman initiative, which offers creditfacilities to women-owned businesses at a single-digit interest rate and for a gender-balanced workforce (Women make up about 50% of employees). During the reportingperiod, the number of women and women enterprises supported by the Bank, through theZ-Woman initiative, grew by 88.7%, from 391 in 2019 to 738 in 2020.The Sustainability, Enterprise and Responsibility Awards (SERAS) is an initiative of TruCSRwhich celebrates and promotes investments by corporate organisations in the societythrough CSR and sustainability initiatives. It made its debut in 2007, and participation wasopened to other countries of Africa in 2016. The 2021 awards featured 387 projects by 97 organisations across Africa. The SERAS JuryBoard consists of global thought and best-practices leaders from around the world such asMaria Sillanpaa (Finland); Nyasha Gwatidzo (Zimbabwe); Adesuwa Onyenokwe (Nigeria);Amjed Achour (Morocco); Charles Ojei (Nigeria); Ellen Gunning (Ireland); Gina Din-Kariuki(Kenya); Indira Kartallozi (England); Lampe Omoyele (Nigeria); Paul Kapelus (South Africa);and Scott Walker (England).