The SERAs 2017 Theme

Transformational Sustainability: From Social Responsibility to Social Impact

At the onset of the millennium, world leaders launched an ambitious global mission to reduce poverty and enhance human development. Africa and Nigeria was only able to attain a little under 15% of expected target impacts. But with the take-off of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) by the United Nations, businesses have been urged to take the driver’s seat in actualizing this huge agenda. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon even describes business as a “vital partner in achieving the sustainable development goals”.

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. ‘Green’ products in stores doubled between 2010 and 2012 and green advertising tripled in Africa between 2011 and 2014 with a huge percentage of this brands caught up in green washing. To be clear, green washing is the term given to any marketing or brand claim around environmental or social issues that is false, misleading or exaggerated.

In 2017, we seek to uncover the brands that have walked their talks in the real sense as we unravel the links between investments/interventions and the actual impacts of these in communities where they do business and the general society at large.

Truly measurable impacts are key if the continent is to meet up with its aspirations in 17 areas of SDG’s namely- No poverty; zero hunger; good health & well-being; quality education; gender equality; clean water & sanitation; affordable & clean energy; decent work & economic growth; industry, Innovation & Infrastructure; reduced in-equalities; sustainable cities & communities; responsible consumption & production; climate action; life below water; life on land; peace & justice & strong Institutions; Partnership for all goals.