Delegates from RGE, Tanoto Foundation, and APRIL, led by Anderson Tanoto, called on the Singapore Ambassador to Indonesia Anil Nayar on Dec 5, 2018. Tanoto shared how APRIL, as an environmental steward, uses the protection-production model to not only sustainably develop pulp and paper, but also conserve and protect flora and fauna as part of its one-for-one commitment. This cannot be done without the close collaboration of different stakeholders, from the community, to the governments and the industry.
More than 100 guests comprising alumni of Wharton School and Singapore Management University, academics and industry experts participated in the Wharton-SMU dialogue on 5 March 2018. Featuring a panel discussion on the topic The New World Order: Implications for Asia and Global Trade, the event was also an opportunity to reinforce the close relationship shared among the three partners. The dialogue was telecast on Channel NewsAsia.
The Wharton-Tanoto Initiative
In 2013, Tanoto Foundation established the Wharton-Tanoto Initiative which aims to improve the quality of business education and research on ASEAN with a strong focus on Indonesia through research grants to Wharton faculties. Every year, the Global Faculty Development Program under the Wharton Tanoto Initiative brings selected faculty staff from Indonesian universities to Wharton for mentoring and training on how to get their research published in top tier international journals. The Foundation also provides funding for Wharton faculty staff to travel to ASEAN with a focus on Indonesia to gain in depth first hand exposure to the region.
Sukanto Tanoto is a Member of the Board of Overseers and of the Board for Asia Members in the Wharton School. His three children, Imelda Tanoto, Belinda Tanoto and Anderson Tanoto are all Wharton alumni and have recently been included in this school’s “40 Under 40” list. Anderson sits on the Wharton Executive Board of Asia.
Tanoto Scholarship at SMU
To date, the Tanoto Foundation scholarship at SMU has benefitted a total of 30 students. The bond-free scholarship covers full tuition fees and provides an allowance for all four years of university education. SMU’s Tanoto scholars collaborate with their counterparts from other institutions in an annual student-led community service project called Project Sukacita. The project allows scholars to volunteer for activities that help raise the standard and quality of life for residents in Kerinci, Riau, Indonesia through several public health awareness and clean-up campaigns.
Sukanto Tanoto, is one of Indonesia’s most successful businessmen. Beginning his entrepreneurial journey at the tender age of 17, he has spent the past 50 years building an empire for himself. Today, Sukanto Tanoto sits as chairman of RGE, which manages the biggest names in the natural resource industry such as APRIL, Sateri, and Pacific Oil and Gas. With his companies collectively employing 60,000 workers and having assets worth US 18 billion dollars, Sukanto Tanoto is a bona fide success story.
Sukanto Tanoto, steadfast in his belief
Most impressively, Sukanto Tanoto has done all that while adhering to the principle of creating shared value for the Community, Country, Climate, Customers, and Company. It is known as the 5Cs principle, and has served as the compass on which all of his companies have operated on. Throughout 50 years of business, Sukanto Tanoto’s belief in the 5Cs has never wavered, and has helped him build up a reputation for being one of the most respectable names in business.
Giving Back, Giving More
Following the tradition of doing good for the community, alumnus of the Tanoto Foundation Scholarship Programme recently broke fast with the orphans from Pondok Tahfidz Al Quran. The event, which received a strong turnout, was symbolic of the close bonds formed between the scholars through the Tanoto Foundation, which was founded by Sukanto Tanoto and his wife, Tinah Bingei Tanoto. More than that, it was a clear expression of the values inculcated within all the scholars. The event was only a continuation of the alumnus’ tradition for giving back – they have for a long time been active in lending their efforts, time, and money towards social causes.
“This activity is very important because after graduating from college and work, our friendship should not be interrupted, when this Ramadan we use to meet again,” said chairman of the alumnus committee, Ridho Famajra, who is now an employee of PT RAPP’s, Sukanto Tanoto-owned APRIL’s Indonesian subsidiary. Also present were Head of HR for PT RAPP Fibre, Fahrizal Tampubolon, Head of HR for PT RAPP Mill, Willim, Head of Talent Management for PT RAPP Bumantara Gani and the representative for Tanoto Foundation Riau, Asri
Sukanto Tanoto is one of Asia’s most successful entrepreneurs, a reminder of what can happen with the right combination of graft, will, and ambition. The billionaire founder of APRIL, Sateri, and Pacific Oil and Gas currently helms RGE as chairman; RGE manages the various business groups mentioned amongst others. With a business worth 18 billion in assets and a workforce of 18,000 employees, Sukanto Tanoto has undoubtedly been a bona fide success.
Sukanto Tanoto’s success becomes all the more impressive once one considers the principled ways through which he has conducted his businesses. The veteran businessman strongly believes that businesses can profit by putting the community first, and the 5Cs principle that he espouses is testament to this belief. This principle, which emphasises the importance of doing good for the Community, Country, Climate, Customer, and Company, has unsurprisingly become a compass by which all his businesses find their direction. With 50 years of value creation and experience under his belt, Sukanto Tanoto’s legacy is rock solid, and looks set to continue through his son, Anderson Tanoto.
The rising star, the successor, the son
The youngest son of Sukanto Tanoto is a rising star in the business. The 28 year-old graduate of the famed Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is currently a Director at RGE, as well as a board of trustees member at Tanoto Foundation, the philanthropic arm started by Sukanto Tanoto and his wife, Tinah Bingei Tanoto.
Doing the right thing, the right way
While he may share the family name, Anderson Tanoto certainly took no shortcuts in his rapid rise to the top. Determined to learn the ropes right from the bottom, Anderson first gained experience as a consultant at Bain & Company, where he worked for two years; thereafter he made the switch to RGE as an assistant manager. It was a mark of his early maturity and vision, that he refused to be pushed straight into an upper management position, Anderson credits his success to his understanding of the company at every level.
Today, Anderson Tanoto is masterful and self-assured, deservedly so; he is well respected for the many changes that have made RGE more transparent, efficient, and community-centric as the company moves into the digital age, which brings along its own set of opportunities and challenges. As Sukanto Tanoto celebrates 50 years of business, he is surely at ease, as Anderson waits in the wings to lead RGE through the next 50.
Mention the word entrepreneurs, and Western luminaries such as Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates readily spring to mind. Much less emphasis or attention, surprisingly, has been placed on their no-less-impressive Asian counterparts. Asian giants such as Mochtar Riady, Li Ka Shing, or Sukanto Tanoto have often been overlooked, in part due to their proclivity for privacy.
Building a legacy for a lifetime
The latter, Sukanto Tanoto is quite simply a one man force of nature. Starting his first business as a seventeen year-old school-dropout (though not by choice), his zest and verve were clear to see. Combined with a sharp and entrepreneurial mind, there was only one way he would go – up. Today Sukanto Tanoto is chairman of global resource giant RGE, which manages several other companies such as APRIL, Sateri, and Pacific Oil and Gas. It has only been through that entrepreneurial and fighting spirit of his, that Sukanto Tanoto has the success he may rightly claim today; his companies boast a workforce of 60,000 and assets worth over 18 billion dollars. While the 68 year-old is clearly an example of entrepreneurship gone right, Sukanto Tanoto is determined to ensure he gives back to the society from which he has benefitted, and has done much in this regard.
Sharing the legacy, giving back
Most recently, Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL was featured by Indonesian publication Metro Riau. Specifically, the company’s well loved community development (CD) programme – which seeks to help locals begin their own entrepreneurial journeys – was covered. One beneficiary of the CD programme, Budiono, was interviewed. Budiono, now the proud owner of a motor garage, was given a life-changing opportunity through the CD programme run by Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL. Not only did APRIL provide Budiono with training on managing his own business, the company helped Budiono with his applications for bank loans. The rest, as they say, is history – and today Budiono is yet another success story in an Indonesia that growingly entrepreneurial.
APRIL’s CD programme is just one of Sukanto Tanoto’s many commitments in ensuring that his businesses’ presence in local communities remains beneficial for everyone involved. It is in line with his business philosophy of creating shared value in a sustainable manner, and looks set to continue for a long time more.
Sukanto Tanoto is a staunch believer in education; in its power to enhance and empower lives, and the need to be a lifelong learner to stay ahead. Despite all of his successes – he is after all, chairman and founder of RGE, which manages companies such as APRIL, Sateri, and Pacific Oil and Gas – it has remained one of his passions. In part, it is a passion borne from the disruption of his education at the age of seventeen. Far from dampening his desire to learn, it has made him a more voracious and motivated learner. Not only has he taught himself English by translating Readers’ Digest and Newsweek, he has also undergone further studies at one of the world’s top business schools, INSEAD.
Turning passion into a cause
More than just a spirited learner, the billionaire entrepreneur is also adamant that no one else should ever have to suffer the same fate as he had as a seventeen year-old. Through Tanoto Foundation, the philanthropic foundation he founded with his wife Tinah Bingei Tanoto, they have dedicated time, effort, and resources into educating, empowering, and enhancing the quality of lives to alleviate poverty. Even for his companies, Sukanto Tanoto has worked hard to ensure his companies do their part too.
Effendi’s dream, APRIL’s mission
PT RAPP, the Indonesian operations arm of APRIL, has been active in this regard. A staunch supporter of the country’s brightest young talents, RAPP offers scholarships to deserving young students. 25 year-old Effendi is one beneficiary of APRIL’s help. Coming from a poor family in Riau’s countryside, Effendi worked hard in school in the hopes of improving his family’s financial circumstances.
His determination wasn’t in vain, and APRIL soon recognised his potential. It was enough for the pulp and paper giant to offer him a scholarship back in 2011. Since then, Effendi has only gone from strength to strength. Graduating from Yogyakarta-based agriculture college Institut Pertanian Stiper (Instiper), today he is a researcher at RAPP. He focuses on peatland research, a vital aspect of the sustainable peatland management philosophy that Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL espouses.
Safe to say, Effendi has made the right choice in accepting RAPP’s scholarship years ago. Not only is he not required to pay back for the scholarship, he is now able to support his parents and siblings.
Sukanto Tanoto is one of the biggest names in the natural resource industry. As chairman of RGE, which manages companies such as APRIL, Sateri and Pacific Oil and Gas, his companies collectively employ 60,000 people worldwide and own assets worth over USD 18 billion. It is an empire the billionaire entrepreneur built in only 50 years, and today Sukanto Tanoto’s companies are leading lights in their respective industries.
Sukanto Tanoto Fights the Good Fight
The exposure, status, and attention that his companies enjoy are not things that Sukanto Tanoto takes lightly either. The passionate philanthropist runs his businesses along the principle of creating shared value, and expects his companies to operate sustainably and responsibly. It is a task the 68 year-old views seriously, and has almost become a lifelong mission. Consequently, Sukanto Tanoto’s companies have borne the fruit of his labour, and are renowned for their best practices.
Fighting Fire, Not Child’s Play
In the same vein, pulp and paper giant APRIL recently boosted their fire-fighting capabilities in their Indonesian operations. Continuing the tradition of excellence, APRIL enlisted the help of Australian fire incident management company FIREGROUND to aid fire support teams in Riau. Having been successfully implemented globally, FIREGROUND’s systems come as a welcome boost to the already robust framework in Sukanto Tanoto’s company.
Specifically, the FIREGROUND system further streamlines APRIL’s current incident management system, reducing planning and response times significantly. The system joins an arsenal of fire-management tools including its world-class equipment, skilled personnel, and lauded programmes such as the Fire-Free Village Programme (FFVP).The FFVP, which Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL spearheaded, was highly effective in fire-management; in 2016, burnt land constituted only 0.07% of total areas covered under the Memorandum of Understandings signed between APRIL and the respective villages.
Dave Hitchcock, CEO of FIREGROUND, said: “I am pleased to be involved with APRIL again and look forward to improving the firefighting capabilities in Riau. These incident management systems will make a significant difference in the effort to minimise smoke haze in the Asian basin – which is good for the climate and for Indonesia.”
Sukanto Tanoto is a firm believer in education. The self-proclaimed lifelong leaner is mostly known as the founder and chairman of RGE, which manages companies such as APRIL, Sateri and Pacific Oil and Gas. Less know about his difficult beginnings; he was forced to give up his education when he was seventeen, to take over his family’s business. It remains a big regret of the billionaire entrepreneur, whose companies collectively employ 60,000 people and own assets worth US$18 billion.
Unfulfilled dreams turn into motivation
His inability to complete his education shaped his passion for philanthropy, and he has been actively within it. Through Tanoto Foundation, which he founded with his wife Tinah Bingei Tanoto, he sought to educate, empower, and enhance the quality of lives of the unfortunate. Sukanto Tanoto knows that education has and always will be a driver of change, and is fully behind any intiative to promote it. A good education is important, but often out of reach for the poor. Often, children suffer the same fate Sukanto Tanoto experienced, in having an education cut short. It is an experience he is determined to prevent anyone else from suffering.
Tanoto Foundation makes it easier to read
To this end, Tanoto Foundation most recently conducted reading programes from their Pelita Pustaka initiative for the children of SDN 013 Simpang Sigaruntung. The event was organised in conjunction with PT RAPP, APRIL’s Indonesian subsidiary. The programme aimed to introduce reading as a passion to children early, in the hope that they may develop the passion for reading early. This time round, thousands of books were distributed to schools in the Inuman-Cerenti sub-district.
Such activities according to Estate Manager for PT RAPP, Jordan Valioano, should hopefully motivate children to develop an interest in reading. Even in the digital age, he stressed, reading should and must be campaigned for. He further added, saying, “Tanoto Foundation and RAPP will continue to support this activity for the advancement of education in the region.”
The aid of organisations like Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL and Tanoto Foundation remain all the more important. In a world where companies are allowed to become bigger and bigger, they retain their social license to operate only by fulfilling their duty to the communities they operate in. It is therefore heartening to see businessmen like Sukanto Tanoto who still believe in doing the right thing. The 68 year old strongly believes in doing good for the Community, Country, Climate, Customer, and Company, something he calls the 5Cs. Thankfully, it is something he insists all his companies do to.
Sukanto Tanoto is a man who wears many hats. He is a dedicated family man, a caring boss, a passionate philanthropist, and a firm believer in community development. Some might even say that he could double up as a part-time philosopher. Yet people more often know him as the charismatic chairman and founder of RGE, the global natural resource giant. It’s not hard to see why. RGE is truly an empire; it manages several other big names in the industry such as APRIL, Sateri, and Pacific Oil and Gas – the companies collectively employ 60,000 people and own assets worth over USD 18 billion. That Sukanto Tanoto built all this in just 50 years, only affirms his legend amongst those in the know.
Breeding success, together, for everyone
More impressive than his staggering success, however, is his principle-based approach throughout. The billionaire entrepreneur espouses the 5Cs: creating good for the Community, Country, Climate, Customer, and Company. It is a philosophy of creating shared value, one that Sukanto Tanoto firmly insists on. And his companies have taken heed too, with many community development initiatives sprouting up as a result. Consequently, individuals and communities have benefitted from Sukanto Tanoto’s philosophy – one such example is Husni Thamrin.
Local entrepreneur soars with APRIL’s Community Development Programme
Today Husni is a successful businessman who runs PT Nilo Engineering, a heavy equipment and truck rental company, with his wife Rohani. His company is a relative behemoth in the local area, with assets totalling Rp 100 billion. While he may have success today, it wasn’t all rosy for Husni. The 37 year-old first joined APRIL’s Community Development programme in 2001, with only his father’s truck to kickstart a garbage transportation company. As a result of the structured approach used by Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL in the Community Development Programme, Husni received both training as well as avenues to beef up the economic resources available for him to beef up his business. In addition to his natural savviness for business, it was only a matter of time before Husni would take off.
Today, Husni’s fleet includes 30 heavy equipment and 25 trucks, all of which are rented by PT RAPP, APRIL’s Indonesian subsidiary. He is thankful for the Community Development Programme, for having nurtured many other entrepreneurs like him.
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 GlobeAsia –Sukanto 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.
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.