SINGAPORE, Dec. 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Anderson Tanoto, Managing Director, Royal Golden Eagle (RGE), was featured on the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management ‘Family IN Business’ podcast. In the podcast, Mr. Tanoto highlighted the scale of RGE’s sustainability commitments and the lessons the company has learned in its sustainability journey over the years.
Hosted by Esther Choy, President and Chief Story Facilitator of Leadership Story Lab and an alumnus of Northwestern University, the ‘Family IN Business’ podcast – sponsored by the university’s John L. Ward Center for Family Enterprises – explores how family-owned businesses navigate the changes they face over generations.
In the podcast – the final podcast of the second season, which focused on corporate purpose and effectively managing change – Mr. Tanoto spoke about how RGE first identified an opportunity to become a global leader in sustainability and described the key elements of its sustainability commitments and its ongoing expansion.
Mr. Tanoto is a member of the second generation of management at RGE, which was founded 55 years ago by his father, Sukanto Tanoto. During the discussion, Mr. Tanoto provided four key takeaways in becoming a sustainable leader, and how to thrive within a family business.
Profit does not have to be at the expense of the environment
“Many people believe that it’s business versus the environment and that if you harm the environment, it’s actually more profitable. From a medium to long-term perspective, it is not, and this is how we approach our business. This is why we started with the renewable plantations“.
RGE companies have pioneered a range of sustainability commitments over the years. RGE was the first to adopt the High Conservation Value Framework in 2005 and the first to complete independently-verified sustainability reporting in line with Global Reporting Initiative standards. Since 2015, all RGE companies adhere to the RGE Sustainability Framework which, among other commitments, prohibits deforestation by the companies and their suppliers.
Being put up for scrutiny is the way to build credibility
“Putting yourself up for scrutiny is healthy. There’s no replacement for transparency, monitoring, reporting and verification. In some sense, companies build their credibility by doing that. When you share success stories, but also failure stories — things that did not work in terms of sustainability, it gives a very humbling and very real story of the sustainability journey“.
Transparency is a key commitment among RGE companies. Robust corporate governance frameworks are in place while internal and external audits of RGE and the business groups are regularly conducted. Several business groups within RGE also have external auditors that independently review the implementation of their sustainability commitments.
Diversity in views drives change
“What I really appreciate in our family business conversations is that my father likes diversity in views. Actually, he is concerned when everyone thinks the same way because then we must be missing something. We – myself and my siblings – spent a significant amount of time in Indonesia and then Singapore and then most of our university life in the U.S. That brings a different perspective to the way we look at things which is positive“.
RGE is headquartered in Singapore and traces its roots to Indonesia. Today, RGE consists of companies around the world, primarily based in China, Brazil, Canada and Indonesia, which create sustainable natural fibers, edible oils, green packaging and clean natural gas used to create products that feed, clothe and energize billions of people every day.
With such a diverse, international group of companies and business activities, differing views are encouraged to further challenge the status quo and elevate RGE’s position as a leader in sustainability, said Mr. Tanoto.
Try again if you do not succeed
“The journey of sustainability is absolutely critical, but business leaders should not be afraid to take the first step because not doing anything is even worse. I think attempting changes in the business or changes in the organisation to be more sustainable and then course correcting after every few years, as you learn more about how to do it correctly, is better than not doing anything at all.“
Since joining RGE in 2013, Mr. Tanoto has focused on sustainability, conservation and business transformation. In the podcast, he spoke of his determination to achieve positive environmental impacts globally and to overcome the general perception that a group specialising in resource-based manufacturing cannot also be a leader in sustainability.
To listen to the podcast, click on the link: https://www.leadershipstorylab.com/podcast/leading-through-purpose-aligning-stakeholders-around-sustainability-with-anderson-tanoto/. A full transcript of the podcast can be downloaded at the bottom of the webpage. The podcast can also be downloaded on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.
Headquartered in Singapore, RGE is a group of resource-based manufacturing companies with global operations. We produce sustainable natural fibres, edible oils, green packaging and clean natural gas used to create products that feed, clothe and energise the world. We help improve billions of peoples’ lives through sustainable products they use every day. With more than US$30 billion in assets and 60,000 employees, we are creating a more recyclable, biodegradable and lower carbon future.
Committed to sustainable development, conservation and community development, we strive towards what is good for the community, good for the country, good for the climate, good for the customer, and good for the company. With current operations spanning across Indonesia, China, Brazil, Spain and Canada, we continue to expand and engage new markets.
SOURCE RGE Group