Expanding one’s business internationally can be an exciting step for any entrepreneur, but it takes a lot of courage, research and preparation to do so. Sukanto Tanoto, Founder and Chairman of Royal Golden Eagle (RGE) rose to those challenges time and time again, and welcomed any opportunity to expand RGE on the global stage. He was brave and courageous in his pursuit to spread RGE’s wings globally and that is why RGE is now a world-class corporation.
RGE has business groups are at the forefront of industries such as pulp and paper (APRIL and Asia Symbol), palm oil (Asian Agri and Apical), viscose staple fiber (Sateri and Asia Pacific Rayon), specialty cellulose (Bracell), and energy development (Pacific Oil & Gas), with operations spanning Indonesia, China, Brazil, Canada, Spain and sales offices in countries worldwide. This shows that Sukanto Tanoto dared to compete at the global level and he attributed this was an important step and strategy to grow the company.
Tanoto’s business strategy was to choose between focusing in one area or location with a variety of businesses or becoming a global player in certain types of businesses, and he is where he is now because he chose to go global. To facilitate RGE’s expansion overseas, Sukanto Tanoto, chose to make Singapore as the headquarters for RGE, which is considered a vital move to facilitate RGE’s expansion globally.
Sukanto Tanoto saw a lot of great potential in China and soon extended his business there with the birth of Sateri in 2002 and the building of a factory in Jiujiang. Sateri has since developed rapidly and fast becoming a global leader in the viscose fibre industry, with an annual production capacity reaching 1.1 million tonnes. The target for Sateri is to become an international market leader, with a plan to be able to produce up to 3 million tonnes per year by 2025.
To carry out the production process, Sateri has five factories – Fujian, Jiangxi, Jiujiang, Jiangsu, and Linz Nanjing. All the factories are sophisticated production centres with high efficiency capabilities, one of which is the ability to reduce the level of emission to below the standards set by the Chinese Government.
This capability is characteristic of RGE because Sukanto Tanoto has always set a clear direction with the outline of his business philosophy known as the 5C Working Principles – RGE must benefit the Community, the Country, the Climate, Customers, so that it will benefit the Company.
This directive from Sukanto Tanoto also made Sateri care about nature conservation, which they tackle in various ways. Firstly, Sateri became the first company in China to sign the First Manifesto on Establishing Green Enterprises. Secondly, all factories under Sateri factories received Chain of Custody certificates from the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Furthermore, all of its factories are ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified, and they also received the Oeko-Tex certification, which guaranteed that its products are free of hazardous substances and comply with European Union regulations.
Besides being good for the climate, Sateri also benefits the community. They often provide support for public development such as donating books, helping disaster victims, supporting cultural performances, to training environmental awareness.
The extension of RGE in China is not only through the Sateri. In the year 2005, three years after founding Sateri, Sukanto Tanoto also worked together with Asia Symbol. This company of Tanoto’s is known as one of the main players in the pulp and paper industry in China. With factories in Shandong and Guangdong Province, they are able to produce 2 million tonnes of pulp, 1 million tonnes of fine paper, and 530,000 tonnes of paper boards annually.
Just like other RGE business units, Asia Symbol takes environmental sustainability very seriously. To get the raw materials, they obtain fibres from sources that can be accounted for. In addition, Asia Symbol utilises the latest technology for the sake of resource efficiency in the production process, which has a positive impact on nature. The energy used is smaller and the level of emissions produced is lower than the established rules.
To benefit the community and the country, Asia Symbol took great care about community development and built schools and libraries in areas that were greatly in need. In addition, Asia Symbol opened scholarship opportunities for students in the areas of operation. They also helped in supporting the economy of the community, by conducting skills training and assisting in the development of local businesses.
Asides from China, Sukanto Tanoto also expanded his business to Brazil, where he has been active with Bracell since 2010. Up till now, Bracell has held an important position in the world’s special cellulose industry and they have become global market leaders. Bracell manages the production area that is integrated with 150,000 hectares of plantations in the Bahia region. With that, they are able to penetrate the production capacity of up to 750,000 metric tonnes of dissolving wood pulp per year.
Being a part of RGE and Sukanto Tanoto’s directives on nature preservation, Bracell worked hard in its endeavour to benefit various parties by consistently running the company’s operations in accordance with the sustainability principle. In addition, they also actively campaigned for environmental awareness to the surrounding communities, by supporting the development of beekeepers and farmers.
Sukanto Tanoto also finally expanded RGE’s wings to the oil and gas industry with Pacific Oil & Gas. The company is focused on providing clean energy to support the rapid development of Asia. Asides from conducting exploration and production developments in Indonesia, they also conducted the same in China and Canada. In fact, Pacific Oil & Gas is preparing to become the first company to export Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) from Canada.
The many examples presented here shows that Sukanto Tanoto has succeeded in developing RGE’s wings globally, which is positive proof that entrepreneurs from Indonesia must not be underestimated. Sukanto Tanoto hopes that his work with RGE will be an inspiration to local businessmen to take up the challenges and be brave enough to compete on the global stage for the sake of the nation.