About
The SERAs

The Vision

To remain the gold-standard recognition in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability in Africa.

The Mission

To lead the drive towards the actualization of the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa by enabling a platform that promotes, measures, and harmonizes the contributions of the private sector, government/public sector, and non-governmental organizations to attain set targets.

Purpose
of the Awards

  • To promote excellence and best practice in CSR and Sustainability.
  • To provide a yardstick for measuring excellence.
  • To drive adoption of CSR and Sustainability in Africa.
  • To create a career highest recognition in the industry that motivates aspirations amongst career professional and the organisations they represent.
  • To showcase Africa as a hotbed for innovative sustainable development solutions.
  • Retooling the African narrative of community.

PRESIDENT OF THE JUDGES COMMITTEE

Deborah Leipziger

Immediate Past President

Deborah advises companies, governments, and UN agencies on corporate social responsibility issues. She is the author of The Corporate Social Responsibility CodeBook and SA8000: The Definitive Guide to the New Social Standard, amongst many other books and publications. Her books have been translated into Portuguese, Chinese, and Korean. She has also served on the board of a number of organisations including Aviva investor’s advisory committee on socially responsible investment, and is a member of the international board, Instituto Ethos, Brazil.

Ms. Leipziger has worked in the field of corporate social responsibility in the UK, USA, and The Netherlands. She is also a Senior Fellow in Social Innovation at the Lewis Institute at Babson.

She serves as adjunct faculty at the Simmons School of Management, and for four years has been a lecturer at the Bard MBA in Sustainability program. She is a professor at Hult International School, and serves on the editorial advisory board of The Journal of Corporate Citizenship.

She heads a team of eight judges panel at The SERAS CSR Awards Africa. 2020 makes it third tenure of 2 years after her co-panelist voted for her to retain her position.

AWARDS EVENTS DIRECTOR

Mary Ephraim

She became the awards ceremony director in 2013. Her first task was to see the actualization of evolving The SERAS into a Pan Africa brand, a feat she achieved in 2016. She has spent 12 years as a professional in marketing, development communications, and Sustainability. She has designed and curated several big-budget events for several clients. They include – The Calabar Carnival, Africa’s Biggest Street Party, amongst other A-listers.

She is executive director at TruCSR, also a founding member of Women In Sustainability, Nigeria.

CHAIRMAN, LOC

Gregory Amaihwe

Greg has been the thrust behind organizing the team that delivers the awards process annually since 2016. He spent a decade and a half in the oil and gas sector as General Manager of one of the world’s leading energy producers. He lives and breathes Sustainability and desires to see The SERAS as an ancillary to driving sustainable development all over Africa and banishing poverty, inequality, and social inequity forever.

History
Of The SERAs

We live in a global, information age, where nothing can remain hidden for long. Consumers are becoming more sophisticated, more critical, and more demanding of corporate organizations. They choose to make purchases from firms that are perceived to be more consumer-friendly and consumer-focused, showing that they care about equity, equality, fairness, and justice in society. Nowadays, even children question the integrity of claims made in advertorials disseminated via the mass media communications and messaging by organizations that depended solely on the ‘wow-factor. In those times, organizations were seen as abstracts. A shift has taken place in this relationship. Due to the passionate connection with brands, consumers and other stakeholders see them more like human beings and connect to them. They also express their support, disdain, acceptance, or rejection based on these emotional triggers.  They now form public opinions about brands and organizations based on how these brands and organizations deal with issues that matter to them: poverty reduction, women empowerment, infrastructure development, education, environment, etc.

 

We foresaw these future trends that would change the face of corporate and marketing communications years ago as we planned to establish a strategic, research, customer-focused, and responsive public relations, stakeholder engagement, and marketing communications intervention.

Corporate/public engagement as a phenomenon has evolved. Through the various ages of greed, philanthropy, marketing, management, and had now arrived at a new dawn, otherwise known as the age of responsibility, would serve as a key market differentiator for another fifty years or even more.

Though Public Relations as a discipline has become better known, accepted, and practiced around Africa, we still find a lot of companies limiting the impact of their business activities because they would not allow themselves time to explore and enjoy the bountiful and longer-term rewards that CSR and Sustainability can bring to their business and bottom line.

We had our work cut out.  What strategies would increase public awareness about CSR as a legitimate discipline and a sprouting shoot with the capacity to grow into a forest of oak trees?

The first idea we had was to publish a biennial or quarterly online journal or magazine that would explore the depth, texture, and dimensions of CSR in Nigeria. This sounded good at the onset, but as we deliberated on this, digging deeper into the advantages and disadvantages, we realized that this type of publication would primarily appeal to those in corporate practice.  What strategies would be all-inclusive, we pondered? What strategies would enable us to involve the people, communities, NGOs, government, and other stakeholders? We went back to the drawing board.  Here, we would need to acknowledge the impact of friends of TruCSR who brainstormed with us, looking for that practical idea.

When we emerged from this round of brainstorming, it was evident that we would need to expand the concept beyond just publishing an online report.  This marked The SERAS’s birth as we know it today – where participating organizations showcase their work around corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability society. Society, in turn, assesses and rates the performance of participating organizations. Thus, both corporate and stakeholders set the agenda and plot the way forward for mutually beneficial future encounters.

Though the actual ceremony takes place for about four hours on a single night, the countdown to the D-day spans many months of activities and preparation. The highlights of these activities include the call for entry; submission of entries by participating organizations; the field trips to cited CSR projects; voting by the general public; and the meetings of the judges who make the final decisions regarding recipients of the prestigious SERAS statuettes.

The report component now fits in nicely to draw public attention to Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility practice in Nigeria in a format that firms and their stakeholders can access long after the awards cycle ends. The report also provides the platform for documenting the best practices encountered annually during our field trips around Nigeria, and the rest of Africa, to capture the essence of corporate interventions in communities – stakeholder engagements. As far as these engagements enrich and improve the lives and well-being of Africa’s peoples and simultaneously impact the bottom-line of organizations perceived as reasonable and responsible corporate citizens, our job is done.

The first edition of The SERAS was held on 19th July 2007. The awards were first known as The Nigeria CSR Awards from 2007 to 2010. In 2011, it became known as SERA Awards. At the end of the 2011 cycle, we began to receive an increasing number of inquiries from organizations from other countries such as Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, and South Africa, on how they could become part of the annual awards. The awards became open to the rest of Africa from the 2016 cycle, which marked the 10th anniversary of the awards and was renamed The SERAS CSR Awards Africa. It has attracted participation from 19 African countries and is today the prime CSR and sustainability recognition in Africa.

PAST WINNERS

Overall Best Company Winners over the Years.

  • 2007 MTN
  • 2008 MTN
  • 2009 MTN
  • 2010 MTN
  • 2011 CocaCola
  • 2012 GTBank
  • 2013 Nigerian Breweries Plc.
  • 2014 Lafarge
  • 2015 ExxonMobil
  • 2016 Investec Bank (South Africa)
  • 2017 Access Bank
  • 2018 Access Bank
  • 2019 Access Bank
  • 2020 Investec Bank