Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank Plc, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, at the weekend, emerged “CEO of the Year” at the Sustainability, Enterprise, and Responsibility (SERAS) Awards.
According to the judges, he emerged for reasons, among which were a robust Environmental and Social Management System for screening credit facilities and continued investment in social initiatives in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and for joining 131 other banks from across the globe as a founding signatory to the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Responsible Banking.
A statement by the bank said the judges found him worthy for his commitment to the promotion of 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 to reduce carbon emissions in the bank’s operations.
Zenith Bank Plc also emerged winner in two other categories at the SERAS Awards, carting home the awards for “Best Company in Promotion of Good Health and Well-Being” and “Best Company in Promotion of Good Health and Well-Being”.
Out of the five finalists for the Best Company in Promotion of Good Health and Well-Being Category, Zenith Bank emerged winner for donating N1 billion in support of efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, donation of N100 million towards Lagos State Government efforts to provide relief to the victims of the Abule-Ado pipeline explosion, and for spending over N300 million in 2019 to support various healthcare initiatives across the country.
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 single-digit interest rate and for a gender-balanced workforce (about 49.80% female and 50.20% male). The Z-Woman initiative has so far extended up to N1bn in total credit facilities.
The SERAS is an initiative of TruCSR which celebrates and promotes investments by corporate organizations 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 2020 awards featured 1,500 projects by 98 organizations, the SERAS Jury Board consisted of global thought and best-practices leaders from around the world such as Deborah Liepziger (USA)- President; Tunde Arogunmati (Nigeria); Maria Sillanpaa (Finland); Nyasha Gwatidzo (Zimbabwe); Amjed Achour (Morocco); Gina Din-Kariuki (Kenya); Adesuwa Onyenokwe (Nigeria); Paul Kapelus (South Africa); Ellen Gunning (Ireland); and Scott Walker (England).