A little less combustion, a lot more cooperation: How Sukanto Tanoto’s corporate philosophy doused the forest flames

People used to have poor impressions of companies dealing with natural resources – they would be accused of pillaging the environment, desecrating the lands, and leaving nature in a much worse shape than before. That might have been how it used to be, but not anymore. Under business giant Sukanto Tanoto’s corporate philosophy of the 4Cs –creating good for the community, country, climate, and the company – Mr Tanoto’s companies have set an example for the new way to go in natural resources management.

Working hand in hand: Making Riau fire-free, together.

Asian Agri, one of Asia’s leading palm oil producers with an annual palm oil production of one million tonnes, embraces Sukanto Tanoto’s 4Cs in their day to day operations. Asian Agri most recently showed their commitment to the climate and communities in which they operate, when they awarded 4 villages in Riau (where the Asian Agri group operates) for meeting the standards set out in the Fire Free Village Programme (FFVP). A total of seven villages took part in the programme, which meant that more than half the villages under the FFVP received an award. Under the programme, villages are encouraged to focus on aspects such as fire detection, suppression, awareness, and education.

A little less combustion, a little more cooperation: How Sukanto Tanoto’s guiding philosophy doused the forest flames

From a dream to reality: Commitment to the community, commitment to the climate.  

The FFVP, first initiated in July 2015, was pioneered by APRIL, one of the business groups managed by RGE. RGE – founded by philanthropist and entrepreneur Sukanto Tanoto – manages companies including Asian Agri, Bracell, and Sateri, amongst others; their operations span across the globe in locations such as Indonesia, China, Canada, and Singapore.

The reward awarded to the four villages for their sustainable and safe practices stood at Rp100,000,000 (approximately USD7,530) each, totalling Rp400,000,000 (approximately USD30,120) for this round – funds which will go into developing the infrastructure and community of these villages. Under Sukanto Tanoto’s leadership and vision, these rewards have gone, and will continue to go a long way in keeping RGE and its business groups’ longstanding commitment in ensuring that the environment and communities partnered are empowered economically and sustainably, for the long run.


The Three Pronged Strategy of Tanoto Foundation

sukanto tanoto tinah tanotoFounded in 1981 by Indonesian businessman and philanthropist Sukanto Tanoto and his wife, Tinah Bingei Tanoto, the Tanoto Foundation supports poverty alleviation efforts in Indonesia. Sukanto Tanoto and Tinah Tanoto strongly believe that everyone has an equal right create a better quality of life for themselves and their families, and that the way to do so is through education; which is why the first project the Foundation worked on was building and opening a Kindergarten and elementary school in rural Besitang in North Sumatra, Indonesia in 1981.

In 2001, Tanoto Foundation was officially established in Singapore as a non-profit charitable organisation, privately funded by the Tanoto Family. The Foundation is currently active in Indonesia, China, Singapore and the USA.

The Foundation utilizes a three pronged strategy in their fight against poverty: Education, Empowerment and Enhancing quality of living.

The educational sector of the Tanoto Foundation includes:

  • Building and financially assisting schools in rural communities.
  • Handing out scholarships to students.
  • Teacher training.
  • Providing funding for medical research and environmental studies.

Empowerment is achieved through partnering with corporate businesses APRIL and RAPP, both companies founded by Sukanto Tanoto, to:

  • Facilitate small to medium business developments through microfinance and vocational training.
  • Establish Community Fibre Farms and support them with equipment and training.
  • Promote integrated farming systems.

Tanoto Foundation enhances the quality of living in rural areas by:

  • Building infrastructures such as roads and community buildings.
  • Digging boreholes to provide fresh water.
  • Providing free health checks and medical services.

Since launching its first scholarship programme in 2006, the Foundation has expanded the scholarship programme to include five other programme sectors, and has handed out a combined total of over 6700 scholarships to students in schools and universities around Indonesia and Singapore.

Although the Foundation is not an emergency-relief organisation, they do what they can to help in times of great need due to natural disasters. Assistance and relief have been provided by the Foundation and its corporate partners to tsunami, earthquake, landslide and volcanic eruption affected communities.

For more information about Tanoto Foundation or its founder, Sukanto Tanoto visit:




Restorasi Ekosistem Riau Restores and Protects Indonesian Peatlands

Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER) was established in 2013 by Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited (APRIL), founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Sukanto Tanoto. Sukanto Tanoto is also the founder of Sateri and Pacific Oil & Gas. The APRIL Group, which forms a part of the Royal Golden Eagle group of companies, is the corporate sponsor as well as technical manager of the project, and has committed US$ 100 million over the course of the next 10 years to restore and protect 150 000 hectares of peatland forest in the Kampar Peninsula

RER is a collaborative project between groups of both the private sector and the public sector to restore and conserve the Indonesian peatland forests, wildlife and ecosystems.

Restorasi Ekosistem Riau Restores and Protects Indonesian Peatlands

How RER Works

A four step sustainable peatland conservation model is applied by RER; which is to protect, assess, restore and manage the peatlands using a landscape approach.

  • Protection – RER has established a formal guard and patrol function to guard sections of peatland against illegal logging, and works with local community groups to make certain that the solutions they come up with are both practical and effective.
  • Assessing – With the assistance of experts, RER assesses the present condition of the local flora and fauna and the general area, as well as both the physical and social environments of the local communities to establish a baseline against which all future assessments can be measured.
  • Restoring – Once the first two steps have been put into place, degraded areas are carefully restored by replanting using seedlings from immediate surrounding forests so that the eco system will not be changed by other plants. Nurseries have been established to cultivate seedlings collected from the wild forests before the replanting program is carried out. Water levels will be restored through man made channels to recreate and maintain the correct levels needed for the peatland ecosystems to thrive.
  • Managing – An advisory panel consisting of international and local experts has worked together with RER to design a comprehensive long-term management plan to safeguard the sustainability of the areas that have been restored.

RER is a project which will take decades to complete, however with the support of the government, the engagement of the communities, the resources from the collaborative companies and the advice from experts, everyone involved is confident the project will make a huge positive influence on the deforested and degraded peatlands.

For more information about RER and Mr Sukanto Tanoto visit:


Asian Agri’s Training Course for New Generation of Palm Oil Planters

Asian Agri

The production of palm oil makes up a large part of the Indonesian economy. Its many different uses make it an essential ingredient in a vast variety of everyday consumer products ranging from lipstick, to hold the colour, keep it from melting easily and to give its smooth appearance, to ice cream, which helps to make it smooth and creamy, to biodiesel, a renewable source of energy. Currently Indonesia is the world’s largest supplier of palm oil.

Asian Agri, founded by Indonesian businessman and entrepreneur Sukanto Tanoto, was established in 1979 as the palm oil branch of the global business group Royal Golden Eagle (RGE), founded by Sukanto Tanoto in 1972.

Asian Agri is one of Indonesia’s leading crude palm oil producers, with an annual production capacity of one million tons per annum. It manages 27 palm oil plantations and 20 palm oil mills, employing 25 000 workers throughout its operations.

The hard work and success of the company has led to it receiving ISO 14001 certification for each of its operations. The certification proves to stakeholders, consumers and staff that the company is aware of its environmental obligations and is constantly trying to reduce its environmental impact.

The Asian Agri Learning Centre and its training programme

Asian Agri Learning CentreIn 2002 Asian Agri launched the Asian Agri Learning Centre (AALI) to train new generations of palm oil planters in environmentally friendly practices and sustainable cultivation and operations.

These trainees come from various parts of the Riau, Jambi and North Sumatra provinces, and are put through a six month informative and systematic training programme which introduces them to the basics of palm oil cultivation. All trainees receive a salary from Asian Agri during the training programme.

The programme teaches those wanting to create a future in the thriving Indonesian palm oil business the skills and knowledge needed to do so in a sustainable and environmentally responsible way.

AALI takes in around 100 trainees on an annual basis, and has successfully trained 2200 graduates up until now.

For more information about Sukanto Tanoto and Asian Agri please visit:




APRIL group, founded by entrepreneur, Sukanto Tanoto, is recognised as a valuable donor to the Global Compact Network

Asia Pacific International Holdings Ltd – also known as APRIL, is one the largest and most technologically advanced producers of pulp and paper products across the globe. Established and mentored by leading entrepreneur, Sukanto Tanoto, the company implements the vision of the Tanoto Foundation in every aspect of its business, as well as the 4Cs business approach of founder Mr. Tanoto to do good for country, climate, community and company.

Hand-in-hand with APRIL’s success are its many corporate social responsibility initiatives that have established the group as a leading contributor to the upliftment of local society – a hard driven passion of the company’s founder, Sukanto Tanoto.

Recently the APRIL group was recognized by the Global Compact Network of Singapore (GCNS) for their significant contributions to GCNS’s success in deepening and widening the understanding and implementation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives to local companies throughout Singapore. As such, APRIL has been awarded Gold Member status of the GCNS for its commitment to assisting in spreading and implementing best sustainability and CSR practice in Singapore.

APRIL receives token of appreciation

The recent Singapore Apex Corporate Sustainability Awards gala dinner saw APRIL receive an official token of recognition for their important contributions to the GCN. Chairman of APRIL, Mr. Bey Soo Khiang, was on-hand to accept the prestigious award on behalf of the company founder, Mr. Sukanto Tanoto.

Follow the founder of the APRIL group, part of the RGE group of companies, Mr. Sukanto Tanoto, via social media on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or LinkedIn for more updates.

Global Compact Network

Winners at the Apex Corporate Sustainability Awards dinner and Mr. Bey Soo Khiang accepting an award on behalf of APRIL and founder, Mr Sukanto Tanoto.

Image credit: Inside-RGE

Image URL: http://www.inside-rge.com/corporate/april-recognised-valued-donor-global-compact-network-singapore/