Recently, a group of 10 senior-level officials from Kenya traveled to Singapore to learn about RGE Business Philosophy and the Group’s sustainability and corporate social responsibility initiatives. The trip highlighted the work of Kenya’s own Ethics & Integrity Institute and the ongoing efforts of RGE Group to build a business community based on a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility.
The Nanyang Business School, a part of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, sponsored the visit through its NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies. The visitors spent time with Goh Lin Piao, the RGE director for external affairs, who described in detail the ways the corporation puts CSR and sustainability policies into action.
RGE Group follows the ideals of its founder and CEO, Sukanto Tanoto. Mr. Tanoto, the Indonesian-born son of Chinese immigrants, built a small family business into the current multi-national company. Among his business interests within this $15 billion corporate empire are liquefied natural gas development, palm oil production, and wood pulp and paper production. Mr. Tanoto and his family additionally founded the nonprofit Tanoto Foundation to provide education and social welfare to people in need in the communities in which they do business. Mr. Tanoto has directed executives in both his corporate and his philanthropic ventures to put an equal emphasis on benefitting the company, the community, and the country.
With this in mind, the Kenyan visitors learned from Goh Lin Piao about RGE companies’ efforts to promote sustainable forestry practices and forward-looking land management techniques. In the agriculturally focused Indonesian province of Riau on the island of Sumatra, for example, RGE has initiated an eco-restoration project that demonstrates respect for local communities and for the area’s abundant natural resources.
The Ethics & Integrity Institute’s goal of fostering a well-informed workforce capable of meeting 21st century business challenges parallels the Tanoto Foundation’s efforts to promote entrepreneurial skills in Indonesia. The Institute offers consulting, research, education, and training to further the development of good corporate governance practices and transparency in Kenyan businesses.