Sustainable Business Amidst a Pandemic

Hany Aman
MANAGING DIRECTOR AND CEO: EASTERN COMPANY S.A.E

What does sustainability mean to you, and how do you integrate it into your business transformation?  

Sustainability for us is how to serve the community by using more renewables and organic resources. Sustainable development is a big game. We should announce what we are doing for our environment and community annually. This is the kind of impact that is genuinely helping mobilize sustainable development into business models. As of next year, we should start publishing our numbers since we are listed on the stock exchange. We started one of the country's most significant renewable energy solar panel projects two years ago. Today, we are looking into increasing our investment and usage of renewable energy.

What are the significant updates in a post-pandemic world regarding business growth, and what role did Eastern's team play in the company's expansion?

Since the summer of 2021, we have registered the highest production number, almost 16%, than the previous year. The efficiency has been top high, sales have been increasing, and the volume growth has registered at nearly 13%. When I joined Eastern, I saw an opportunity to enhance the capacity of our plants, not by buying new machines but by simply improving efficiency. The team played a key role. When we challenged them, we asked them to do it a certain way and follow certain training programmes, which was great. They managed to deliver the year's pre-pandemic numbers. With the pandemic and lockdown, everybody was fearful, and people worried about coming to work in the factories. We managed to put effort into disinfection and ensure that everybody was safe by taking protective measures. By the end of July-August, we were progressing well, and then things improved further from September onward.

How have these achievements provided an opportunity at the international level? What is the global vision for Eastern Company?

The new board that joined the company on June 19th has taken the company in a better direction. We can now face a clearer future. With the new board, new ideas, new targets, and our new way of doing things, we aim to innovate by respecting the needs of our ecosystem while growing our business. The company is one of the top 100 on the Forbes list, and we have been one of the most expensive trademarks in Egypt. But we are still number 58 in Africa as per the Brand Finance Report published in 2021. The company is big; I would say that we would like to become and remain the biggest commercial company in Egypt. However, we need to grow further. We are providing the traditional cigarettes, but we need to work on alternatives and innovate with the industry.