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 and
Responsibility (SERAS) CSR Africa Awards held at the weekend in Lagos. According to the
judges, he was selected for a number of reasons, including engendering a culture that
promotes the continued investment in social initiatives in support of the United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Under his leadership, the Zenith Bank’s social
investments totalled NGN3.285 billion in 2020, representing nearly 2% of the Bank’s profit
The judges found him worthy for his commitment to promoting sustainability and responsible
business 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 for
reducing carbon emissions in the Bank’s operations.
Zenith Bank Plc also emerged winner in four other categories at the SERAS CSR Africa
Awards, carting home the awards for “Best Company in Reporting and Transparency”, “Best
Company in Infrastructure Development”, “Best Company in Gender Equality and Women
Empowerment”, and the coveted “Most Responsible Organisation in Africa”.
Zenith Bank was adjudged the Most Responsible Organisation in Africa, winning the overall
best sustainability award, for its continued commitment to the tenets of Sustainability and
Corporate 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 for
its consistency in disclosing and communicating its sustainability journey and progress
annually vis-a-vis environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals, in line with the
guidelines and protocols set by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Nigeria Sustainable
Banking Principles (NSBP), NigerianExchange (NGX), United Nations Global Compact
(UNGC), and United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).
The Bank also ensures the assurance of its sustainability report by reputable independent third
parties. In 2021, the Bank’s 2020 sustainability report was assured by
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and disseminated through the Bank’s website for the public
and 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-building
initiatives and investments, including supporting efforts towards establishing basic services
and functional security, governance, and economic and infrastructure systems, especially in
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 in
Nigeria, the Bank supported the Lagos State Security Trust Fund with N500,000,000.00 for
the provision of security-enhancing facilities and infrastructure. This is in addition to
contributions to other state security trust funds.
Zenith Bank was adjudged winner in the category for the Best Company in Promotion of
Gender Equality and Women Empowerment for its Z-Woman initiative, which offers credit
facilities 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 reporting
period, the number of women and women enterprises supported by the Bank, through the
Z-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 TruCSR
which celebrates and promotes investments by corporate organisations in the society
through CSR and sustainability initiatives. It made its debut in 2007, and participation was
opened to other countries of Africa in 2016.
The 2021 awards featured 387 projects by 97 organisations across Africa. The SERAS Jury
Board consists of global thought and best-practices leaders from around the world such as
Maria 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).
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