Sukanto Tanoto uses his business expertise to help others realize their potential

Tanoto Foundation Scholars with Mr Willie Sia from Tanoto
Tanoto Foundation Scholars with Mr Willie Sia from Tanoto Foundation

Many businesses experience financial success in their field, but it’s important for them to realize that they don’t get there alone. Once a company reaches the goals that it set for success and begins to grow, it shouldn’t forget those less fortunate. Such is the sentiment of a few highly successful business owners, including Mr Sukanto Tanoto.

Big business needs to get involved in the community

It’s no secret that Mr Sukanto Tanoto believes in enriching the lives of others by sharing his success to the extent of being involved in innumerable community projects and philanthropy. He is considered a highly successful entrepreneur in his own right and has shared many tips on how successful business men and women can and should give back when they attain their goals. Here are just two ways in which your business can be economically and socially responsible:

  • Get involved in sponsoring local events. The Tanoto Foundation is involved in many local environmental clean-up events, student educational events and more.
  • Scholarships. These are a great way to give back to the community and to also ensure the future of your community. Without student funding, skilled and talented youth will never realize their potential and bring economic relief to your community. Mr Tanoto bestows the Indonesian community with many scholarships, particularly for inventive students or those with an interest in paper production.

Keep up to date with community events and scholarships hosted and provided by Mr Sukanto Tanoto by visiting the Tanoto Foundation website regularly. Students are also invited to apply for the scholarship program offered by the foundation.

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.

APRIL’s Corporate Social Responsibility – In Line with Sukanto Tanoto’s RGE Group

With APRIL Group’s new initiative in halting all harvesting of natural forests for its endeavors in the pulp and paper industry in Indonesia, the company has once again drawn attention to its environmental and its corporate social responsibility.

Operating in line with the philosophy of the RGE Group (of which APRIL is a part of) set in place by Chairman Sukanto Tanoto – doing work that is genuinely helpful for the company, the community and the country – APRIL shows that it is a company dedicated to continue its streak of positive accomplishments achieved in the past few years.

Understanding CSR

APRIL’s Kerinci mill is a good example of a remarkable achievement that has brought prosperity not only to the company, but also to the local community and to the country, by improving the local industry to a great extent. All this is fully in line with Sukanto Tanoto‘s philosophy, focusing on the famous 3 Cs, and has drawn significant attention to the small town of Kerinci which in 1993 was a tiny village with only 200 inhabitants.

The RGE member managed to turn the tides in favor of the Kerinci community, building on the infrastructure, creating new jobs and building remarkable new opportunities for the local inhabitants, forming an unbreakable bond between APRIL and the growing Kerinci community.

Today, APRIL’s vital understanding of corporate social responsibility has paid off for everyone involved. The company managed to expand, while improving the livelihood and income opportunities of locals who previously could only earn a living from fishing.

APRIL’s Impressive Achievements

Throughout the 23 years since APRIL has been operating in Kerinci, they have managed to – both directly and indirectly – create more than 90,000 jobs and help over 1,000 households in becoming community farmers. Among their other achievements are also the provision of start-up capital for 128 businesses and the delivery of more than 17,000 scholarships.

With remarkable dedication, APRIL Group has proven that they are definitely a part of the solution to Indonesia’s difficult current situation. Through their constant effort toward sustainability and responsible innovation, the country’s economic, industrial and environmental future seems to be in very good hands.

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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.

Asia Symbol Concludes Memorandum with Rizhao Border Authority

At the beginning of 2015, Asia Symbol (Shandong) Pulp and Paper Co., Ltd. concluded a favorable memorandum agreement with the border authority that oversees the Chinese port city of Rizhao. This Memorandum of Port Self-Management is designed to comply with entry and exit regulations and to speed up immigration clearance for the company’s cargo vessels importing wood chips.

The memorandum calls for the formation of a collaborative working group run jointly by Asia Symbol and the Rizhao authorities. This group will oversee routine day-to-day operations, and is designed to ensure that the company’s ships proceed through the port’s immigration and security checkpoints quickly and efficiently.

The agreement emphasizes the leadership of the border authority, as well as the company’s self-management of its fleet. In cooperation with the Rizhao authorities, Asia Symbol will co-administer port operations that affect its vessels. Specific benefits for the company, as outlined in the memorandum, include designated berths at the port for the company’s vessels carrying wood chips. In addition, Asia Symbol will enjoy designated cargo types, as well as specified routes for its shipping vessels, electronic and biometric security controls for accessing relevant systems, and an enclosed embankment area.

In fulfilling its duties, Rizhao’s border authority follows the protocols of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, which was established to increase the security of global commerce in the days following the 2001 terror attacks in the United States.

Asia Symbol is one of the natural resources manufacturing companies within the RGE Group, the $15 billion conglomerate headed by CEO and founder Sukanto Tanoto of Indonesia. RGE companies maintain production facilities in Indonesia, China, and Brazil, and employ a global workforce of some 50,000 people. The company’s Rizhao facility represents the world’s biggest single pulp production line, and one whose technological standards exceed those commonly in operation throughout China. In addition to the increased economic prosperity it has brought to Rizhao and surrounding areas, Asia Symbol has focused on corporate social responsibility by supporting local educational and social service programs.

Teacher Training Scholarships Elevate Indonesian Education for Everyone

The Tanoto Foundation works to support a wide range of educational efforts throughout Indonesia and beyond. In addition to its academic scholarships for college-bound young people of limited means, the foundation offers funding to assist teachers in furthering their own education. The Tanoto Teacher Scholarships not only increase teachers’ skills and knowledge, but also allow them to provide better education to their students. In keeping with the Tanoto Foundation’s overall goals, these benefits to teachers and students are a major contributor to economic growth in local communities and the nation as a whole.

Recently, two teachers who have benefited from Teacher Scholarships spoke publicly about the way the program has improved their lives and boosted their careers.

Dedi Santosa, a young teacher in a public school in Tanjung Jabung Barat in Jambi Province, Sumatra, began by describing the rigorous admission process he completed to earn the scholarship. The three-part procedure consisted of administrative paperwork, a psychological evaluation, and a series of interviews. Mr. Santosa had never taken a psychological test before, and he was challenged to complete some components of the admissions process in only a few hours. However, the financially struggling teacher, whose livelihood is based on honorariums, noted that his efforts paid off in offering him expanded opportunities for earning a good living.

A second educator, Myrta Andini, teaches elementary students in a public school in Sumatra’s Riau Province. She also found the admissions criteria challenging, but credits careful preparation with helping her to pass. Ms. Andini said that she first learned of the Tanoto Teacher Scholarship opportunity from her parents, and expressed her appreciation for the chance to increase her ability to provide a better education for her students.

Indonesian entrepreneur and billionaire Sukanto Tanoto created the Tanoto Foundation to help Indonesia’s people lift themselves out of poverty. Economic hardship forced Mr. Tanoto to leave his own formal schooling while he was still in his teens, but he went on to found the RGE Group, a now-$15 billion corporate family of natural resource manufacturing companies. Through his foundation, he supports education as a means of empowering the ordinary people who will increase Indonesia’s ability to compete in the global economy.

Tanoto Entrepreneurship Series Continues Educational Efforts

In early December 2014, the Tanoto Foundation’s Tanoto Entrepreneurship Series once again united young people interested in business careers with some of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs.

Susi Pudjiastuti recently became Indonesia’s first cabinet-level minster to have never finished high school. The new Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries left her formal education as a teen and started her own seafood and fisheries business, now a multi-million-dollar concern. Her company, based in West Java, transports its products throughout the region surrounding Indonesia on its own fleet of airplanes called Susi Air.

Irwan Hidayat heads PT Sido Muncul, a family herbal medicine business that he took public in 2013. After modernizing operations in the early 1970s, Mr. Hidayat established research centers at several colleges in order to prove the efficacy of his company’s products. Today, Sido Muncul’s herbal medicines have gained widespread acceptance throughout Indonesian society. Thanks to his company’s success, Mr. Hidayat’s net worth stood at $660 million at the end of 2014. Forbes magazine currently lists him as one of Indonesia’s 50 richest individuals.

Sukanto Tanoto, ranked among Indonesia’s top ten on the Forbes list, heads the RGE Group, which he grew from a small family-owned business into a $15 billion international natural resources manufacturing powerhouse. Through the Tanoto Foundation, he, his wife, and their grown children give back to their country by funding a wide variety of social service initiatives, early-childhood learning projects, and scholarships and educational programs for young adults. Mr. Tanoto had to leave school early due to family economic difficulties. Thus, the Entrepreneurship Series’ mission of inspiring today’s young people to work hard, take strategic risks, and believe in their abilities is particularly meaningful to him.

At the December 2014 event, held in Jakarta, Susi Pudjiastuti and Irwan Hidayat related the struggles and challenges they themselves had to overcome as new entrepreneurs. The series receives additional support from the University of Indonesia’s Faculty of Economics.

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.

Aksantara Team Builds Indonesia’s Best Aerial Robot of 2014

Students from Indonesia’s Bandung Institute of Technology recently won the Indonesia Aerial Robotics Contest (IARC) of 2014. Every year, the country’s Ministry of National Education and Culture sponsors the contest, which is the oldest collegiate aerial robot design competition in the world. The Aksantara team received first prize in the fixed wing category, as well as the best design award and the best presentation award for a university. Among the team’s supporters was the Tanoto Foundation, the nonprofit organization created by Indonesia’s Sukanto Tanoto, a self-made entrepreneur who concentrates on funding educational initiatives and other programs that can help lift underserved communities out of poverty. The Tanoto Foundation currently partners with more than two dozen Indonesian universities to award scholarships and to sustain other educational enhancement programs.

Led by aeronautics and astronautics student Rivaldy Varianto, the Aksantara group initially consisted of a small team of like-minded students that later expanded to welcome others studying in different areas of the institute. The team members built on what they had learned during the previous year’s competition to come back stronger in 2014. Speaking for the team, Varianto described the students’ hopes that their work can assist Indonesia in building its research and development capacity. Ultimately, they would like to see their country take a leading role in supplying global markets with advanced aerial robotic technologies.

Team Aksantara from ITB and their winning creation
Team Aksantara from ITB and their winning creation

Aerial technology, such as that produced through the IARC, can play a vital role in a nation’s disaster response and natural resource management capabilities by monitoring hazards such as forest fires. Sukanto Tanoto’s $15 billion RGE Group of corporations includes Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), a wood pulp producer that aims to pioneer new, more effective methods for fire tracking throughout its agricultural concessions.

Through competitions such as the IARC, Indonesian higher education students can begin to assume their places as technologically sophisticated innovators in an increasingly competitive world.

 

Tanoto Entrepreneurship Series Features Sudhamek AWS

The Tanoto Entrepreneurship Series, funded by the Tanoto Foundation in collaboration with the economics faculty of Universitas Indonesia, aims to be a strong weapon in the fight against poverty in the Southeast Asian nation by providing education and support for student entrepreneurs. This lecture series engages distinguished entrepreneurs as guest speakers to address the practical needs of today’s students and emerging business professionals. Through the generosity of Indonesian-born entrepreneur Sukanto Tanoto, the series has hosted guests that include current Indonesian president Joko Widodo.

The most recent lecture series, held in Jakarta in October 2014, featured presentations from two well-regarded names in Southeast Asian business: Sudhamek AWS, the chief executive officer of Garuda Food, and Niluh Putu Ary Pertami, creative director of the Indonesian shoe brand Niluh Djelantik. The two successful businesspeople shared their secrets and their insights with the Tanoto Entrepreneurship Series’ graduate program students and recipients of Tanoto Foundation educational scholarships.

Sudhamek AWS offered information based on his experiences heading one of the region’s best-known food brands. Given the fact that Indonesia’s infrastructure still needs to make substantial progress before it can facilitate consistent delivery of goods and services, he has faced major obstacles in implementing his corporate strategy. Nevertheless, he believes that dedication to hard work and constant learning are necessary keys to success. Sudhamek praised the Tanoto Entrepreneurship Series as a means for business leaders to share their own early struggles in a way that will make the road easier for those who follow.

Sukanto Tanoto himself serves as an illustration of Sudhamek’s ideas. As a self-made entrepreneur who has pursued a lifelong course of formal and self-directed education, Mr. Tanoto places great value on learning. Through the Tanoto Foundation and its Entrepreneurship Series, he hopes to share the insights he and other leaders have gained, in order to support the efforts of everyone who has the potential to assist the economic growth of Indonesia.

 

Sudhamek AWS (2nd from L) with Imelda Tanoto at Tanoto Entrepreneurship Series 2014
Sudhamek AWS with Imelda Tanoto at Tanoto Entrepreneurship Series 2014