Sukanto Tanoto, the Indonesian entrepreneur and philanthropist whose $15 billion RGE Group of natural resources manufacturing companies does business in Southeast Asia and beyond, is also a strong supporter of education and environmental sustainability. An alumnus of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Tanoto has provided extensive support for the institution’s efforts such as its Global Alumni Programs, as well as its Wharton West Program Seed Fund and editions of its online Knowledge@Wharton publication in Chinese. He has also served as a member of the Wharton Executive Board for Asia.
Moreover, Sukanto Tanoto works to maintain high standards of transparency in his operations, including those that impact the environment in the communities in which his companies do business. Through the Tanoto Foundation, he and his wife and children contribute to the social welfare of people in Indonesia, China, and Southeast Asia by funding education, medical assistance, research, and other programs.
The focus on sustainability is living your life in a way that uses resources in a responsible way. This is especially important in the era where there is a growing scarcity of the resources that we currently use (water, energy, clean air, food, raw materials). As such, Sukanto Tanoto realises the need to ensure that the group companies’ practices will result in a planet that is able to support life well into the future. Business decisions today can have big impacts to the future of our next generation. This is part of the reasons why in 2013, the Tanoto Foundation began a collaborative partnership with The Wharton School emphasizing the exchange of business knowledge between the RGE Group and the next generation of entrepreneurs. Fourteen students from the school’s executive MBA program paid a visit to Indonesia, where they learned more about the work of the foundation and the operations of two RGE companies, Asian Agri and Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper, especially in the field of sustainable practices.
Working off of the philosophy that the good of society and the community should dictate business practices, the RGE Group of companies believes in cooperating closely with all interested stakeholders and with local communities. This collaboration with Wharton School helps to encourage knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer, ensuring that both parties have fruitful experiences that they can bring back to share with others.