Paving the Road to Success: Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL Fuels Local Entrepreneurs

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.

Empowering the Community: Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL Improves Lives Through Scholarships

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.

Empowering the Community: Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL Improves Lives Through Scholarships

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.

Dreams Do Come True: Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL Helps Entrepreneur Under Community Development Programme

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

Dreams Do Come True: Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL Helps Entrepreneur Under 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.

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.

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.

 

Project sponsored by Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL creates urban planners of the future in SE Asia

To face the challenges of tomorrow, Southeast Asia’s brightest young people should be encouraged to take an interest in urban planning and design. The APRIL group’s support of the CUBE competition is helping to realize pioneer and philanthropist, Sukanto Tanoto’s vision of widespread education in all spheres of knowledge.

Inspiring young minds to think about future cities

Every year, the Challenge for the Urban and Built Environment (CUBE) draws students from Indonesia, Singapore and beyond to learn about urban planning and transform a town as their main project. The APRIL group, an RGE company founded by entrepreneur Sukanto Tanoto, is one of CUBE’s Platinum Sponsors.

Through the Tanoto Foundation, Sukanto Tanoto, RGE’s founder and one of the foremost business leaders in Indonesia, has always placed learning, intellectual curiosity, and community outreach at the core of his values. By supporting CUBE, APRIL is doing its part to make Mr. Tanoto’s vision a reality across the region.

CUBE helps to open young minds – and hearts

Large-scale urbanization and rapid growth create dynamic economies and expanding cities – and this presents a challenge to urban planners and designers in the region.

In keeping with Sukanto Tanoto’s vision of a business that benefits people, environment, country, and company, APRIL believes that its sponsorship of the CUBE challenge will have long-reaching effects.

The success of CUBE and similar projects will help to produce future professionals and leaders who are conscious of the social and economic challenges around them – not only for themselves, but for the entire community.

To find out more about Sukanto Tanoto’s philanthropic activities, we invite you to follow him via social media on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, About.me or LinkedIn.

CUBE Competition

Sources:

http://www.inside-rge.com/corporate/aprils-paperone-helps-cube-participants-bring-idea-life/

Image Credit:

http://www.inside-rge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/CUBE_Focus_Image_2.jpg

APRIL Group Launches an Unprecedented Campaign to Contain Forest Fires

Forest fires can be extremely damaging to the environment, as well as to the efforts of any company operating in the palm oil industry in Indonesia. These are precisely some of the major reasons why APRIL Group (Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Ltd) has announced a “Fire Danger Period” between July the 1st and August the 31st 2015, as part of their comprehensive fire suppression plan.

Investing in Fire Management

Because forest fires can have a huge impact on plantation productivity, while affecting the environment negatively through the extension of smoke and haze, the reduction of soil nutrients and the increasing of soil erosion risks, APRIL has announced that the company will be completely committed toward preventing forest fires and illegal burning, while even avoiding the purchase of materials from those suppliers who condone unlawful burning.

The company has invested no less than $6 million to improve fire-fighting efforts in the area. This extensive investment is meant to support the suppression and prevention of forest fires, while also improving the focus on preventive education, so that local communities can learn more about the prevention process and the dangers of illegal burning.

APRIL’s Fire Management Plan

The fire management plan implemented by APRIL is a manifold effort for raising awareness regarding the reasons why forest fires need to be prevented, as well as the actions and training procedures necessary for adequate prevention.

Specialists are to work closely together with local villagers during the Fire Danger Period, implement new incentives and standards for engaging the community, and doubling their efforts and vigilance to spot and eliminate forest fires as soon as they occur.

As an additional initiative, APRIL has also implemented the “Fire Free Village, Fire Free Landscape” program geared to improve the local community’s knowledge and ability to respond in fire management situations.

With increased focus on village agricultural assistance, no burn village rewards, community awareness and air quality monitoring, APRIL is confident that the dangers and risks of uncontrolled fires can effectively be avoided.

PM.Haze Report Details APRIL’s Sustainability Efforts

In October 2014, the Singapore-based social activist group People’s Movement to Stop Haze (PM.Haze) toured facilities operated by April Group in Riau Province, Indonesia, as part of an investigation into APRIL’s environmental practices. PM.Haze’s report, issued in February 2015, detailed what members observed on the tour, as well as commendations and recommendations for further action on APRIL’s part.

APRIL has received criticism that it does not adequately control fires on its plantation lands. One of the divisions within the $15 billion RGE Group, the company produces wood pulp, paper, and forestry products on concession lands in Riau. Its paper mill in Kerinci, Riau, produces more than 7 percent of the total world pulp output.

In recent years, agricultural fires on village lands and within the concessions of several companies in Indonesia have generated haze conditions that have affected air quality in Singapore and Malaysia. Late in 2014, Indonesia became the final nation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to ratify the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution.

APRIL recently launched its APRIL Dialog website in order to respond to questions from the public in a direct and timely manner. The company practices a zero-burn policy and has accepted the creation of an independent Stakeholder Advisory Committee, which issues regular reports on its progress toward increased sustainability.

The PM.Haze report praised APRIL’s willingness to participate in discussion with interested non-governmental organizations and commended its corporate social responsibility programs that focus on improving quality of life for the people who live near its concessions. Among additional efforts, the group also praised the company’s APRIL Dialog project, its fire-management policies, and its commitment to preservation of the peat forest core on the Kampar Peninsula. RGE Group founder and CEO Sukanto Tanoto, among Indonesia’s most successful entrepreneurs and philanthropists, has conveyed his commitment to effective and long-lasting environmental protection policies and social responsibility programs.

PM.Haze also focused on ways in which APRIL could improve. These include publicizing concession maps of APRIL’s and its suppliers’ lands, and clearly indicating areas set aside for conservation and the benefit of communities. The group also advised APRIL to immediately begin to use 100 percent plantation fiber, and to assist its suppliers in engaging more constructively with the public.

In addition, PM.Haze noted that APRIL should continue to rely on stakeholder, researcher, and NGO input as it moves forward to take on a leading role as a model of sustainable practices in its industry.

Three RGE Group Companies Honored with CSR Awards

At the end of November 2014, the Indonesian government’s Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture and its Corporate Forum for Community Development presented the year’s Indonesia CSR Awards in a ceremony in Jakarta. Among the companies honored, out of a field of close to 40, were the RGE Group companies Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper, Asian Agri, and Toba Pulp Lestari. Founded by current CEO Sukanto Tanoto, a self-made entrepreneur, philanthropist, and one of Indonesia’s richest individuals, the $15 billion RGE family maintains a global corporate presence in pulp and paper milling, energy production and delivery, forestry operations, and palm oil production.

CSR Award
CSR Award

The CSR Awards each year provide the chance for Indonesia’s public sector to recognize successful community-building efforts by the private sector. In addition, the awards serve as a source of inspiration and examples of how effective corporate social responsibility programs operate.

In awarding a gold medal to Asian Agri for its Economic Empowerment program, the judges of the CSR Awards recognized the company’s partnership program between its PT Inti Indosawit Subur palm oil operation and the Amanah group of independent growers located in Ukui in Riau Province. The awards committee focused on the success of the partnership in implementing stated goals, and on the positive economic impact it had produced for members of local communities. Asian Agri’s officer in charge of corporate social responsibility, Benjamin R. Hutagalung, delivered a pre-awards ceremony presentation that offered details on the program.

Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP), a division of the RGE company Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), earned a silver medal for its work supporting a local loan and savings program in Teluk Binjai, Riau. Meanwhile, Toba Pulp Lestari’s two silver medals recognized its construction of a center to further early childhood education in Kabupaten Toba Samosir in North Sumatra, and its support for an evergreen nursery within the Taman Eden 100 conservation area.

Sering Village Becomes Agricultural Focal Point

Since 2012, the Tanoto Foundation has worked through its corporate partner Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP) to develop sustainable agriculture projects to benefit the people of Riau Province. Currently, the foundation supports a demonstration farmland plot that it hopes will become a source of community empowerment.

RAPP, one of the companies under the flagship of Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), maintains large-scale pulp milling operations in Riau. By supporting the cultivation of a two-hectare plot of peat land in Sering Village as a pilot program, RAPP has demonstrated its ongoing concern for the wellbeing of the communities in which it does business.

Honeydew harvest in Sering Village
Honeydew harvest in Sering Village

In addition, RAPP has furthered its community involvement through a partnership with Bogor Agricultural University’s research projects on tropical horticulture. The collaboration focuses on best practices in the cultivation of peat lands, like those so plentiful throughout Riau Province.

So far, the demonstration plot has cultivated, on a trial basis, honeydew melons, tomatoes, bananas, chilies, and other produce. Over the long term, RAPP plans for the project to provide economic empowerment and self-sufficiency for the residents of the village. Sering has the potential to become a central hub for the harvest of a variety of produce.

APRIL and RAPP make up one of the major lines of business within the $15 billion RGE Group headed by Sukanto Tanoto, whose personal and professional dedication to fostering healthy communities is exemplified in his family foundation. The Tanoto Foundation is committed to alleviating the stresses of poverty in Indonesia by supporting higher education scholarships, entrepreneurship training, and a range of social service and local infrastructure development projects. Furthermore, APRIL, through its corporate focus on wise management of the forests and woodlands that drive its profits, works to further the adoption of environmentally sustainable business practices throughout its industry.