2016 saw RGE group of companies member, the APRIL group host a visit by none other than Professor Mahbubani and his colleagues. The group was visiting regions such as the Kampar Peninsula and the APRIL group’s pulp operations, as well as the eco-restoration project, a mission held in very high regard by APRIL group founder and entrepreneur, Sukanto Tanoto. Additionally, the Professor and colleagues also had the opportunity to visit and tour community development sites and schools supported by RGE and the Tanoto Foundation.
As a Professor in the Practice of Public Policy and the Dean of the Lee Kuan School of Public Policy in Singapore, Kishore Mahbubani is a highly esteemed expert in his field, also having served 33 years in Singapore’s diplomatic service. As such, Professor Mahbubani is well known as an expert in both Asian and world affairs.
It was a great honor for the RGE group of companies and its founder, Mr. Tanoto, to host Professor Mahbubani and his colleagues, and their observations and reflections regarding RGE were well received.
Reflections on the haze
Professor Mahbubani reflects on his visit; ‘The visit achieved two objectives I had set for my team and myself.
First, I learned that the haze is clearly a complex, long-term and multi-dimensional problem. There’s no silver bullet for it, and no short-term fixes… Because the problem is complex and long-term in nature, Singaporeans have to accept that the haze is not something that will disappear overnight. And because the haze is also a multi-dimensional problem, the solutions to it will have to come from many stakeholders – not just the government, nor just plantation owners, but also from civil society, local communities and consumers at large. This requires a high level of sustained policy coordination across multiple sectors and jurisdictions.’
Reflections on RGE sustainability efforts
‘I was heartened to see that RGE took its environmental responsibilities very seriously. Its sustainability programme is professionally managed, and it seeks to adopt the highest standards in the paper and pulp industry. It also engages environmental NGOs and local communities quite intensively.
I was also struck by the efforts taken by RGE to prevent fires from occurring – the Fire-free Village Programme is one of those rare ideas that is good for the environment, for the business, and for the local community. I hope this programme can be implemented more widely in the Riaus.
Reflections on economic development
‘While RGE is clearly a very successful and well-managed company, and its rapid growth has clearly “spilled over” to the nearby town of Kerinci, the fact remains that there are too few of such success stories in Indonesia.
Economic development requires as much investment by the state as it does by private companies. As Amartya Sen once said, development requires the invisible hand of markets to be complemented by the visible hand of governments.’
Image credit: Inside-RGE