The Sustainability, Enterprise and Responsibility Awards, otherwise known as The SERAS CSR Awards Africa, have announced the call for entries for the 2017 edition, and in 2017, for the first time, East African businesses and organisations are also invited to enter, making the event truly pan-African for the first time.
First held in 2007, The SERAS have grown to become the largest and most respected awards event aimed specifically at promoting and rewarding corporate social responsibility and sustainability in Africa. Originally the awards were focused on West Africa, but 2017 sees the awards become truly pan-African, open to businesses from West, East, and Southern Africa.
The 2016 edition of the event saw the awards extended into Southern Africa with entries received from organisations in various countries including Angola, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Botswana and Ghana. In fact, Investec Bank South Africa took home the overall prize and capped a beautiful night with multiple wins in various categories, while MTN and Nigerian Breweries plc. emerging as runner-up and first runner-up respectively.
In 2017, the SERAS are excited to open the competition further, with East African businesses now also eligible to enter. The SERAS will be making a concerted effort to reach out to businesses across the region. The team at the SERAS recognises that East Africa is one of the fastest growing, and most stable regions in Africa and has a well developed corporate and NGO sector, and all organisations from the region are encouraged to enter the awards within the various categories.
Widely acknowledged as the largest and most respected event on the CSR & Sustainability calendar across Africa, from inception to date the SERAS has registered 710 entries from 115 organisations.
The theme for the 2017 awards is Transformational Sustainability: From Social Responsibility to Social Impact, a theme that challenges corporates to ensure their social responsibility investments yield real world results.
At the onset of the millennium, world leaders launched an ambitious global mission to reduce poverty and enhance human development. Sadly, Africa has been able to attain only a little under 15% of expected target impacts.
There can be no doubt that brands and organisations are hurling themselves at sustainability and corporate social responsibility as if it is the answer to everything. Not a day passes without new announcements and claims of brands championing environmental and social issues on our behalf. Sales of ‘green’ products in stores have doubled between 2010 and 2012 and green advertising tripled in Africa between 2011 and 2014. Unfortunately however, a huge percentage of these advertising claims are actually ‘green washing,’ the term given to any marketing or brand claim around environmental or social issues that is false, misleading, or exaggerated.
This edition of the the SERAs seeks to uncover the brands that have walked their talks in the real sense, and to highlight and reward those investments and interventions that lead to actual impacts in communities where organisations do business and in the general society at large.
There are 25 awards categories that businesses can enter including, Best Company in Poverty Reduction, Best Company in Eradication of Hunger, Best Company in Promotion of Gender Equality, Best Company in Provision of Clean Water & Sanitation, Best Company in Affordable & Clean Energy, Best Company in Industry & Innovation, Most Sustainable Cities/Communities Award, as well as the regional award for Best Company in CSR/Sustainability East Africa.
The competition is open to large, medium and small scale, not- for- profit organizations, as well as public sector organizations.
Further details on how interested organizations can participate can be found on the awards website www.theseras.com. The SERAS CSR Awards is billed hold on November 17th 2017 at the prestigious Eko Hotel, Lagos.