Securing the Future, One Book at a Time: Under Sukanto Tanoto, Tanoto Foundation Sparks Interest in Reading

Sukanto Tanoto is undoubtedly one of the success stories of our time. The 68 year old, dubbed the resource king of Asia, built an empire worth over 15 billion dollars in assets in 50 years – his personal wealth alone is estimated to be about 2 billion dollars. He is the current chairman of RGE, which manages companies such as APRIL, Sateri, Pacific Oil and Gas – all of which he founded. That he achieved all of this is impressive in itself. That he started everything as a seventeen year old without a completing his education, is reminiscent of a classic rags-to-riches, fairytale story come true.

Sukanto Tanoto Turns Regret into Motivation


Securing the Future, One Book at a Time: Under Sukanto Tanoto, Tanoto Foundation Sparks Interest in Reading

For all his success, Sukanto Tanoto has often mentioned that his interrupted education remains one of his few regrets. While some would suggest all’s well that ends well –he is a billionaire after all – the entrepreneur extraordinaire continues to be determined to ensure no one else suffers the same fate again. To this end Tanoto Foundation, the philanthropic arm of his empire he set up with his wife Tinah Bingei Tanoto, has worked tirelessly to improve education and literacy standards globally. One way in which it has been doing so, has been through its Pelita Puska Programme, which aims to foster an interest in reading amongst Indonesian Children.

Tanoto Foundation: A Strong Track Record

The Pelita Puska Programme currently targets schools in rural areas, where information is often limited and facilities are poor. Beyond building and renovating the libraries in these schools, Tanoto Foundation also contributes materials to these libraries, and offers training to teachers who could go on to also become librarians. By doing so, Tanoto Foundation seeks to facilitate the maintenance and accessibility of reading materials, which would go a long way in increasing interest in reading and improving literacy rates. As of 2016, Tanoto Foundation has built and renovated libraries in 186 schools, and donated over 32,000 books, and trained over 1800 teachers. The fight might not be won tomorrow, but Sukanto Tanoto’s vision is slowly, but surely becoming reality.


Under Sukanto Tanoto, Woodfibre LNG Creates Great Benefits for the Community.

Sukanto Tanoto has never been one to rest on his laurels. The self-made man, who struck it out on his own following the death of his father when he was seventeen, is a bona fide success story. Starting out in the spare parts industry, the eagle-eyed opportunist jumped into the plywood manufacturing industry during Indonesia’s shift into value-added processing. He hasn’t looked back since, and today he is chairman of RGE, which manages companies such as APRIL, Sateri, Pacific Oil and Gas. Unsurprisingly, he has been dubbed the ‘Resource King’ by GlobeAsiaSukanto Tanoto’s companies are all major players within pulp and paper, palm oil, viscose rayon, and LNG industries.

Changing with the times, but not our values

With the world moving towards consuming more renewable sources of energy, Sukanto Tanoto’s newest venture capitalises upon this expected demand. Woodfibre LNG, subsidiary of Pacific Oil and Gas, recently entered a partnership with China-based Guangzhou Gas Group to build a 2 million tonne per year LNG terminal by 2020.

Under Sukanto Tanoto, Woodfibre LNG Creates Great Benefits for the Community.

Growing in Canada, with the community

The Guangzhou company first agreed in 2016 to buy 1 million tonnes of LNG annually for 25 years from Woodfibre LNG’s facility  –expected to be complete by 2020 – in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. The Woodfibre project, considered an underdog amongst the other bids for the project in Canada, has received significant support from both the government and people, and it is easy to understand why.

Sukanto Tanoto’s strong commitment to the community is distilled into his 4Cs philosophy: creating good for the Community, Country, Climate, and Company. It is a philosophy that has ensured all his companies act in the same manner, to always consider the welfare of the community first. Not only does the Woodfibre LNG Project ensure the sustainable production of quality, renewable energy, the project is expected to provide a substantial boost to the local job market. Almost 1,800 jobs are expected to be created during the construction process, with a further 450 jobs for when operations begin. These jobs, Woodfibre LNG have promised, will be filled locally as far as possible –a testament to the company’s commitment to leaving any community it interacts with better than before their arrival.

Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL Group, discusses sustainable development plans at the Responsible Business Forum

As one of Indonesia’s leading manufacturers in pulp and paper products, and part of the RGE group of companies, founded by entrepreneur and business leader, Sukanto Tanoto, it is in the APRIL Group’s best interest to constantly keep up and maintain responsible business practices, while developing a business plan to match up to their sustainability goals, year after year.

The Responsible Business Forum brings together government leaders, business executives and NGO groups to discuss the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development goals (SDG’s). The forum examines real-world case studies and gathers various perspectives from public, private and non-profit sectors on sustainability issues and solutions. It is therefore an important event on the APRIL group’s annual calendar, and one that is of top priority for Mr. Tanoto.

Lucita Jasmin (centre), Director of Sustainability and External Affairs, discusses the APRIL Group’s vision and mission at the Responsible Business Forum 2016.

The APRIL Group’s 2016 input

Held in Singapore from 22 – 24 November, 2016 at the Marina Bay Sands, a valuable context was set by Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director for Asia-Pacific:

‘In developing countries, business accounts for 60% of GDP and 90% of jobs, so the kind of change envisaged by the SDGs can only be achieved with the input of the private sector’

The APRIL Group, represented by Lucita Jasmin, Director of Sustainability and External Affairs had a chance to weigh in on the valuable discussions, highlighting the goals and values regarding responsible business practice held by the APRIL Group and its founder, Mr. Sukanto Tanoto:

‘It is about not just thinking about your plantations but also the conservation values that need to be protected, the degraded areas that need to be restored, and the rest of the communities that still have their socio-economic aspirations that we need to enable.’

It was re-iterated that the APRIL Group holds a business vision that is centred around long-term development of their business, without the loss or adverse effects on environmental biodiversity:

‘It actually requires a rethinking of the long-term strategy of the company because even with the need to halt deforestation and to halt biodiversity loss, we should still be able to pursue business growth and the way we are doing that is by decoupling business growth from further resource impact.’- Lucita Jasmin.

As one of the world’s largest, most technologically advanced and efficient makers of pulp and paper products, it is the business’s responsibility to ensure it gives back to the community and an environment upon which it relies so heavily. For more information and updates on sustainable business practice by the APRIL Group, as well as heart-warming community development stories, you can follow its founder, Mr. Tanoto on his social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or LinkedIn.

For more information on the APRIL Group’s contributions at the Responsible Business Forum, watch a short summary here:

Making Learning Fun Again: Under Sukanto Tanoto’s Philosophy, APRIL Opens New Eco Green Park for Sekolah Global Andalan PT RAPP Estate Logas

Education has come a long way since the days of poring over books, stuffy classrooms, and learning by rote. Learning, today, is an interactive process geared towards making the transfer of information between teacher and student much more efficient. A good foundation in skills important for the future – such as reading, writing, and a sense of responsibility – is a key goal of all schools, and Sekolah Global Andalan PT RAPP Estate Logas came one step close to that goal recently, as Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL helped opened a new eco green park right within the school compound.

Sukanto Tanoto’s Motivation for Learning

APRIL, a global player in the pulp and paper industry, was founded by Sukanto Tanoto. The businessman, who turns 68 this year, has built an empire for the ages – he is currently chairman of RGE , which manages several industry giants such as APRIL, Sateri, Pacific Oil and Gas. An out-and-out self-made man, he grafted and toiled for his success, made all the more difficult by his incomplete education. While an inspiration in itself, his experience isn’t one he’d like others to go through. The dedicated philanthropist, who founded the Tanoto Foundation with his wife, Tinah Bingei Tanoto, has worked tirelessly to ensure the less-privileged will still have an equal opportunity at life; his foundation seeks to empower, and enhance the lives of others, through education.

Making Learning Fun Again: Under Sukanto Tanoto’s Philosophy, APRIL Opens New Eco Green Park for Sekolah Global Andalan PT RAPP Estate Logas

Sukanto Tanoto Makes Loving Nature Fun

The recently opened Eco Green park is a learning space co-located with a forest and features a host of learning resources designed to foster a curiosity about the fascinating world of forestry. Comprising of a green house, a compost production house, and learning huts, the facility will also house a “bank sampah”, or trash bank. The trash bank will allow the more creatively-gifted students to showcase their handicrafts made from trash. With an eco-minded slant, the park will hopefully engender a sense of responsibility towards nature.

Mr Bey Soo Khiang, Vice Chairman of RGE, was on hand to witness the opening of the park. Speaking at the ceremony, he remarked that the initiative was a testament to Sukanto Tanoto’s commitment to the 4Cs philosophy – creating good for the Community, Country, Climate, and Company.

Inside Sukanto Tanoto’s integrated pest management program at Asian Agri

At the heart of its operations, Asian Agri keeps sustainability and protection of the local environment top-of-mind – a key business value that is hard-driven by company founder, business leader and entrepreneur, Mr. Sukanto Tanoto. Asian Agri represents one of Indonesia’s largest palm oil producers, with 27 palm oil estates established in Riau, Jambi and Northern Sumatra, totaling 160 000 hectares of land. As such, it is the company’s mission to protect their greatest asset – the land and environment that has brought them immense success.

A local palm plantation manager demonstrates care for a natural pest predator.

Asian Agri pest management

Along with the farming and management of such a large expanse of land comes its fair share of tribulations, namely in the form of natural pests such as rats and caterpillars. But Chairman Tanoto and key members of Asian Agri recognize that the use of harsh chemicals to counter-act a ‘pest problem’, would indeed be counter-productive, and ultimately, harmful to the land, planters and consumers.

With the support and direction of Chairman Tanoto, Director of Asian Agri, Mr. Freddy Widjaya, weighed in on the importance of unharmful and sustainable pest control practices:

‘The sphere of business at Asian Agri is inseparable from our interaction with nature. On this soil, the seeds of our best oil palms flourish and grow, benefiting many people. Therefore, we must have the responsibility to maintain the natural order to ensure that the soil remains at its best condition.’

Establishing a natural solution

Asian Agri has thus developed an ingenious solution to these two pest control issues that are both smart and completely natural to the surrounding environment, in the form of owls and hibiscus flowers.

To solve the issue of rats within the palm plantations, managers have turned to natural predators, such as the owl, and for every 25 hectares of palm plantation, there is an owl dwelling in which owls naturally stalk out the rats. The method has since been established as completely natural and effective.

Hibiscus flowers have been implemented to solve the problem with caterpillar infestations. By planting these flowers among the palm trees – instead of attacking the palm leaves, the caterpillars have been diverted to the hibiscus flowers instead. Additionally, Asian Agri, with the sanction and encouragement of Mr. Tanoto, avoids using chemicals for pest control, using only organic fertilizers, and does not use fire as a means of clearing or replanting trees.

To keep up with sustainability stories and developments within Asian Agri or the RGE group of companies, such as this one, we invite you to follow company Chairman, Mr. Sukanto Tanoto on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or LinkedIn.

Woodfibre LNG Hands Out US$ 22,000 in Grants

Woodfibre LNG is a subsidiary of Pacific Oil & Gas, which forms a part of the global Royal Golden Eagle (RGE) group of companies founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Sukanto Tanoto. Woodfibre LNG is a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) processing and export facility based at the former woodfibre pulp and paper mill near Squamish, British Columbia, Canada, and is licenced to produce 2.1 million tonnes of LNG per year.

Having received federal government environmental approval in October 2015, the project received funding authorisation of US$ 1.6 billion from Pacific Oil & Gas in November 2016, and started construction on the LNG plant in December 2016.

While construction of the facility has only just started, Woodfibre LNG has already handed out grants to the total value of US$ 22,000 to six recipients during the months of December 2016 and January 2017 as a part of its Community Sponsorship Program. The Community Sponsorship Program is in line with the motto of the RGE group of companies and its Chairman, Sukanto Tanoto, which is that all operations should be good for the country, good for the community, good for the climate and good for the company.

The grants were divided amongst the six groups as follows:

  • The Squamish Sikh Society received US$ 5000
  • Britannia Mine Museum received US$ 5000
  • Spakwus 50 – Squamish Mountain Bike received US$ 3000
  • 835 Griffin Royal Canadian Air Cadets received US$ 3000
  • Howe Sound Hitmen Football Club received US$ 3000
  • Squamish Field Hockey Club received US$ 3000

How to Apply for a Woodfibre LNG Grant

To apply for a grant from Woodfibre LNG, Squamish community groups are encouraged to visit the Woodfibre LNG website to find out if they fit the criteria and to fill out application forms. The cut-off date for the next round of applications for funding is March 30 2017.

Additional resources:

Under Sukanto Tanoto’s Leadership, APRIL Continues Commitment to Education

Businessman and philanthropist Sukanto Tanoto, founder of RGE, its various business groups including APRIL and Sateri, and the Tanoto Foundation, has always emphasised the importance of creating shared value for the stakeholders. It is best encapsulated in his 4Cs philosophy – to create good for the community, country, climate, and company. It is this same philosophy that has been ingrained within the processes all his organisations; this stakeholder-centric view has allowed organisations led by Sukanto Tanoto to become the best in their fields. In a recent visit to APRIL’s facilities, 26 educators were left feeling thoroughly impressed by the impressive work being done within the company.

Educating the educators: APRIL at the forefront of industry practices

As part of a programme to introduce APRIL’s successful applications of plant nursery technology, the educators were brought on a visit to facilities including the RGE technology centre, the APRIL information centre, as well as the farms belonging to partners from the APRIL Community Development (CD) programme. The visit provided an insight into the processes, initiatives, and achievements of Sukanto Tanoto’s pulp and paper giant.


Under Sukanto Tanoto’s Leadership, APRIL Continues Commitment to Education

APRIL’s commitment to education and the community

Needless to say, the educators were left impressed. Een Kostini, a vocational school teacher who was impressed with the technology implemented by APRIL said, “In this industry visit programme, we see RAPP planting plants in accordance with the learning activities in school, then there is the technology we want to learn such as how to give water, maintenance and so on”. More than that, the educators were heartened by APRIL’s conservation work, with their efforts being described as ‘complete’, and ‘beneficial’.

The visit marked yet another example of APRIL’s commitment to improving education in the local communities, with educators given first-hand evidence on how theory was brought into practice. More importantly, these purveyors of knowledge were given a peace of mind that their young charges, some of them apprentices-to-be  at Sukanto Tanoto-led APRIL, would be in safe, and green hands.


Royal Golden Eagle Group of Companies

Royal Golden Eagle (RGE)Royal Golden Eagle Group (RGE) - Sukanto Tanoto is a group of world class companies with assets estimated to exceed US$ 16 billion and over 60,000 employees, with operations in Indonesia, Singapore, China and the USA and offices around the world.

The Beginning of RGE (RGM)

As with most successful companies, RGE started out as a modest but highly successful operation. Founded and built up by entrepreneur and philanthropist Sukanto Tanoto who started out in life by working in his father’s spare parts company as a young man, he gradually expanded the family business beyond basic trading and won contracts to build gas pipelines for multinationals. This proved to be very lucrative due to the 1972 oil crisis and, with the extra available capital from the pipelines, Mr. Sukanto Tanoto constructed the first plywood mill in Indonesia. The plant began its operations in 1975 under the company name Raja Garuda Mas (RGM) which was later changed to Royal Golden Eagle in 2009 to emulate the ever increasing international operations the business was creating.

The Companies that Form the RGE Group of Companies

In 1979, Sukanto Tanoto turned his business acumen to the palm oil industry and established Asian Agri. Asian Agri is currently one of Asia’s largest producers of crude palm oil and palm oil products, managing 20 palm oil mills and 27 palm oil plantations covering a combined total of 160,000 hectares, of which 60,000 hectares are owned and run by smallholders.

As business was going well for Mr. Tanoto and his companies, he wanted to give back to his country and the communities that RGE’s operations were based in. To this end he founded the Tanoto Foundation in 1981, a non-profit organisation funded by the Tanoto family, which was officially established in Singapore in 2001.

Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited (APRIL) was established in 1993 by Sukanto Tanoto, who decided to build the APRIL mill and plantation in Pangkalan Kerinci, Riau, Indonesia. APRIL has since expanded to be one of the world’s largest producers of pulp and paper with the annual capacity to produce up to 2.8 million tonnes of pulp and 1.15 million tonnes of paper.

Other companies that form a part of the RGE group of companies are Apical, Asia Symbol, Bracell Limited, Pacific Oil & gas and Sateri.

For more information about the RGE group of companies and its founder Sukanto Tanoto, feel free to follow him on Facebook and LinkedIn.