Jane Karuku is a prominent Kenyan businesswoman and corporate executive. In December 2020, she assumed the role of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at East African Breweries Limited, becoming the first female to attain the position at the company. The organisation boasts subsidiaries across Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, and Tanzania.
Under the visionary leadership of Jane Karuku, East African Breweries Limited (EABL) is embarking on a remarkable journey to reduce its carbon emissions significantly. With an investment of Ksh.5.1 billion in renewable energy projects across its plants in Kenya and Uganda, EABL aims to achieve a staggering 95 per cent reduction in annual carbon emissions.
This transformative initiative involves the establishment of biomass plants that will replace heavy fuel oils currently used at EABL’s sites in Ruaraka, Kisumu, and Port Bell. These new plants will be powered by sustainable raw materials like macadamia shells, coffee and rice husks, and sugarcane bagasse, showcasing EABL’s commitment to combatting the environmental crisis.
Despite the formidable challenges climate change poses, EABL is leading the way in finding solutions. The biomass investment serves as a testament to the company’s dedication to the pioneering concept of “Grain to Glass Sustainability,” a crucial pillar of its sustainability strategy.
“It will create over 900 direct and indirect green jobs throughout our supply chain, particularly with local farmers, whom we have contracted to provide the raw materials,” Jane says.
To address health literacy and combat the harmful effects of underage drinking, EABL has also launched the SMASHED program. This initiative focuses on educating young people, parents, and teachers about the dangers associated with consuming alcohol at a young age.
As one of the most powerful female CEOs, Jane Karuku has ensured that EABL completes 100 per cent of its water collective action projects. The company has reached an impressive total of 99,317 individuals with WASH programs (water, sanitation, and hygiene), exceeding its annual target by 311 per cent. EABL’s dedication to water preservation aligns with its overarching goal of preserving water for life.
With a firm commitment to becoming Net Zero in its direct operations by 2030, EABL has made significant progress. Currently, 96.9 per cent of the company’s sites run on renewable electricity, surpassing the initial target of 95 per cent. Furthermore, under Jane’s leadership, EABL has achieved zero waste to landfill from its direct operations and has ensured that 100 per cent of plastic use at its sites is recyclable, reusable, and compostable.
EABL’s agenda also encompasses driving shared prosperity among employees, consumers, and business partners, including distributors and retailers. As the company embarks on its next 100 years of operation, it will continue its unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability, inclusivity, diversity, and promoting responsible drinking, guided by its 10-year Sustainability Strategy: Society 2030.
Jane Karuku has played a pivotal role in EABL’s success. Since joining as a Non-Executive Director in 2014, she has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and industry expertise, gained from over 25 years of experience in fast-moving consumer goods and non-governmental organisations. Jane’s contributions to Kenya’s social and economic development have been acknowledged with prestigious awards, including the Presidential Order of Service, Uzalendo Award in May 2020, and the Order of the Moran of the Golden Heart (MGH) in December 2020.
Beyond her professional achievements, Jane Karuku actively engages in societal initiatives. She was appointed a member of the National Drought Response Steering Committee in November 2022, tasked with mitigating the ongoing drought declared a National Disaster in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs). Jane’s dedication to inspiring and empowering others is a fundamental part of her life’s purpose, which she fulfils by growing people with energy and unleashing their potential. Despite her demanding work schedule, Jane also finds time to enjoy a game of golf and engage in networking activities.
“My purpose in life is to grow people with energy and to inspire them to unleash their potential,” says Jane. “I am very passionate about this as it gives great pleasure when I see them on their way to fulfil their dreams: for themselves, their organisations and the community at large.”
Jane Karuku’s leadership at EABL has not only propelled the company to new heights but has also positioned it as a beacon of sustainability and corporate responsibility in the region. She is leaving an indelible mark on EABL and the communities it serves. As the company looks to the future, guided by its sustainability strategy and Jane’s guidance, EABL is set to continue its transformative journey toward a more sustainable, inclusive, and prosperous future.
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