Leading resource-based manufacturing group, Singapore-based Royal Golden Eagle (previously known as Raja Garuda Mas), announced a US$200 million investment this October, which will span the next 10 years and revolutionise the fashion industry, paving the way for circular and sustainable fashion.
Unprecedented levels of textile waste is produced by the fashion industry. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, one garbage truck of textile waste is generated every second.
The environmental impact of this is enormous. In order to commit to next-generation solutions, Royal Golden Eagle’s (RGE) investment plans to delve into cellulosic textile fibre research and development, to support solutions that turn textile waste and other pulp-based materials into closed-loop, circular, and climate-positive cellulosic fibres. RGE’s investment will further focus on alternative cellulose feedstock and clean manufacturing solutions deployable at industrial scale.
Royal Golden Eagle was first founded in 1967 by Sukanto Tanoto, and the group has grown exponentially since then, with eight successful businesses that belong to the Royal Golden Eagle Group. Of these, Asia Pacific Rayon (APR) in Indonesia and Sateri in China have led RGE to become the world’s largest viscose producer with a total annual production capacity at 1.4 million tons. Wood-based pulp is sourced from sustainably managed renewable plantations in Indonesia and Brazil, through RGE’s other companies APRIL and Bracell.
This major investment by Royal Golden Eagle has been allocated to several areas. Of the investment, 70% is being used to scale up proven clean technology in fibre manufacturing; 20% will be used to bring pilot-scale production to commercial scale, while 10% will be invested in R&D for emerging frontier solutions.
The textile industry is currently facing two pressing environmental issues: the increase in demand for both synthetic and natural fibres for textile production, and an increase in textile waste. According to APR Deputy Head Ben Poon, using recycled waste as a feedstock tackles both issues simultaneously.
Royal Golden Eagle’s large portfolio of companies, spanning pulp, fibre, and yarn production, allows the group to realise commercial-scale and affordable solutions that support downstream manufacturers and brands as well, leading to comprehensive cooperation with key partners. In fact, several initiatives by RGE are already underway.
In August 2019, Royal Golden Eagle invested in the Finnish start-up, Infinited Fiber Company (IFC), to scale up their breakthrough technology, which fits perfectly with RGE’s plan to use alternative feedstock.
In further attempts to move towards sustainable fashion, RGE signed with re:newcell in May 2019 for technical cooperation and trials on production of viscose using recycled cotton. The company has also commenced partnerships with Fashion for Good, investing in the innovation of next-generation fibre solutions.
Through this incredible US$200 million investment, the revolutionary RGE aims to become more than just the world’s largest viscose producer; the company aspires to be a leader in sustainable textile fibre production through innovation. RGE’s investment has come at a time when the entire fashion industry is clamouring for a change in production, working to make circularity and sustainability a reality within it.