It’s a Green Day – Under Sukanto Tanoto, Asia Symbol celebrates world environment day

Sukanto Tanoto’s resource-manufacturing empire has proven time and again it can handle the balancing act between profits and sustainability. With over 18 billion dollars worth of assets and 60,000 employees, few companies are its equal. Sukanto Tanoto is the chairman of RGE, which manages some of the biggest names in the resource industry like APRIL, Sateri, and Pacific Oil and Gas. With 50 years of experience in the industry, it seems the experienced businessman has found the secret formula to maintaining a balance between the climate and the profits.

Creating good right from the start

Indeed, it is an idea so vital to Sukanto Tanoto’s success that he has it as part of his business philosophy. The 5Cs, ubiquitous throughout all his businesses, focus on creating good for the Community, Country, Climate, Customer, and Company. Sukanto Tanoto has made it an integral part of his operations, and made it the compass by which every decision is made. It is an arrangement that has created much good for his companies, with his companies now becoming lauded for their conservation and protection efforts.

It’s a Green Day – Under Sukanto Tanoto, Asia Symbol celebrates world environment day

Asia Symbol plays its part

Most recently, Asia Symbol employees took part in the 46th ‘World Environment Day’ held in ShanDong, Rizhao. The event, organised by multiple government agencies in the region, celebrated the environment through various activities. Most noticeably, the event presented awards to 15 Asia Symbol employees in the category for ‘Excellent Environmental Protection Volunteers in Dong Gang District in 2016’. Chairman of the Asia Symbol Volunteer Association, Zhou WenLong, was on hand to speak about the need to continue caring for the environment, and building a beautiful home.

 

 

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.

Agribusiness Conference Promotes Corporate-Smallholder Partnerships

In October 2014, the Department of Agribusiness and the Faculty of Economics and Management at Bogor Agricultural University came together with the Indonesian Agricultural Economic Community (PERHEPI) to host a conference on the benefits of close ties between palm oil companies and smallholders. The experts at the conference lectured and led discussions on the theme “Partnership Programs between Palm Oil Companies with Smallholders to Increase National Income.” Many of the best practices they promoted are similar to those Asian Agri has maintained for more than 25 years.

The conference participants noted that the growth of Indonesia’s vital agricultural sector has been hampered by the poor conditions under which smallholders live, although the labor and dedication of these individuals contribute substantially to the nation’s economic development. Many smallholders experience economic discrimination, in that they are forced to accept prices for their products that are predetermined by brokers. In contrast, Indonesia’s palm oil production companies, including Asian Agri, have maintained strong partnerships with smallholders for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Asian Agri, one of the RGE Group of natural resources-development corporations under the direction of chairman and founder Sukanto Tanoto, has worked to develop positive plasma scheme partnerships with smallholders since the late 1980s. Like other progressive palm oil companies, Asian Agri provides agricultural, plantation management, and entrepreneurship training programs for its smallholders. In addition, Asian Agri’s emphasis on environmentally sound business practices led its team to offer premium payments in excess of $200,000 USD to its smallholders in Jambi and Riau Provinces who obtained certificates of sustainability.

Relationships with local village cooperatives, as well as with forward-thinking companies such as Asian Agri, have translated into profits and a higher standard of living for numerous Indonesian smallholders. The cooperatives regulate sales and promote proper agricultural techniques, enabling the farmers to generate a steady income stream each month. The Association of People’s Nucleus Company the Palm Oil Growers (AspekPIR) recently presented Asian Agri with an award in acknowledgement of the company’s efforts to improve the welfare of smallholders, particularly those working the land in Riau Province.

 

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APRIL Responds to Opportunities and Challenges

One of the most important ability of an entrepreneur is adaptability – how do you react to opportunities and challenges? In today’s business world, there are factors that are changing all the time – from political changes, product changes, environmental changes and even changes in customers’ wants and needs. Being able to adapt alone is no longer enough because the time taken for a company to react tends to determine if the company is able to compete in the market. Thus, one needs to adapt and react FAST in order to remain as market leader. It is even better if there can be preventive measures taken to proactively address potential problems before they turn into a crisis.

Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), headquartered in Singapore, operates as a fiber, pulp, and paper manufacturer under the RGE Group of companies directed by founder Sukanto Tanoto. APRIL recently noted that if newly elected Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s administration is able to meet expectations for an expansion of the country’s infrastructure, he could assist in growing the capacity of the paper industry by as much as 20 percent by 2016. The boom coincides with an increased demand for pulp and paper products from China and other rapidly industrializing countries in Asia. By 2015 alone, many experts believe, the pulp and paper industry could grow as much as 5 percent.

While demand for paper products has been on the decline in North America and European nations, largely due to an increased use of online resources to store and disseminate information, the push from the Asian market is expected to swell total global demand by about 2.6 percent annually in the coming years.

Industry experts based in Indonesia have noted an oversupply in that country’s pulp and paper market, and have commented on the need for government assistance to keep the sector competitive. In 2013, the total amount of paper products manufactured reached 6 million tons, nearly half of which came from facilities owned by Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP), a subsidiary of APRIL.

In another recent development, non-governmental organizations have challenged APRIL and other pulp and fiber companies doing business in Indonesia’s Riau Province by claiming that fires set on company land had brought a smoky haze as far as Malaysia and Singapore. APRIL, which recently set up its APRIL Dialog website to provide greater operational transparency for the public, provided a detailed response.

Pointing to satellite images offered by the NGOs that purported to show the locations of numerous fires on APRIL concession lands, company executives noted that they found evidence for only a single fire detected in the specified time period. And that fire appeared to have originated within APRIL lands set aside for community use and not within the zones used for production.

A company spokesman also noted that APRIL, which maintains a strict “zero-burn” policy throughout its concessions, would have no logical reason to destroy the very natural resources essential to its operations. With a finite amount of land available for expansion, RAPP and APRIL understand that optimizing existing resources is key to corporate survival in a competitive market. And as a leader in its sector, RAPP has developed an understanding of its role in serving as a model of sustainable practices going forward.

And these, are just some of the ongoing changes in the industry that keep APRIL on their toes all the time.

Wood Pulp Industry Working to Develop Sustainable Practices

APRIL, one of the world’s largest pulp, paper, and fiber manufacturing companies, operates as part of the RGE Group, which is based in Indonesia and directed by entrepreneur and philanthropist Sukanto Tanoto. Sustainability is a crucial determining factor to the success of a company. In order to have a lasting business model, one needs to think of how to best develop sustainable practices.

Through working closely with a variety of interested parties, including a Stakeholder Advisory Committee composed of a team of independent experts, APRIL adheres to the highest possible standards of environmental stewardship as it monitors the fire-prevention, sustainability, and social issues associated with its operations. The company maintains more than 200,000 hectares of protected conservation forestland on Sumatra near its wood and pulp processing mill. Its Wood Purchase Policy assists in guarding against illegal logging operations through a tracking system and a chain of international certifications.

APRIL Plantation
APRIL Plantation

APRIL, and the wood pulp and paper industry in general, have increased their focus on sustainable practices over the last few years. Aware of the impact of any business that makes extensive use of natural resources, corporations like APRIL have begun to rely more and more on transparency and dialogue with local community groups in the regions in which they do business. With the developing world’s increasing demand for products such as timber and wood pulp, the issue of sustainability has evolved into one that affects the entire world. China, which has a burgeoning export trade in wood and paper products, is comparable to many other rapidly developing nations in its recent focus on implementing comprehensive reforestation programs in order to keep pace with usage.

Thanks to increasing government involvement and interest in promoting the industry, Indonesia has become a key player in the international wood pulp products market. The country had already reached a spot among the top 10 nations in the field a decade ago. With APRIL and similar companies taking more comprehensive looks at long-term strategies that make good sense both economically and environmentally, sustainability may now be a more achievable goal.