Fighting Fire with Film: Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL Uses Innovative Approach to Cultivating a Fire Free Community

Sukanto Tanoto is one of Indonesia’s most famous and well-regarded businessmen. The Founder and Chairman of RGE, the global resource-manufacturing giant that manages companies such as APRIL, Sateri, and Pacific Oil and Gas, his companies collectively employ 60,000 people and own assets worth over US $18 billion. Growing from a small business by the busy streets of Medan to the global behemoth operating in Indonesia, China, Spain, Canada and Singapore, Sukanto Tanoto’s story is one of going from rags to riches.

Sukanto Tanoto’s 5Cs Philosophy Does Good

Fighting Fire with Film: Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL Uses Innovative Approach to Cultivating a Fire Free Community

His success is not the only thing Sukanto Tanoto is known for, however. Sukanto Tanoto is well-known for his corporate philosophy of the 5Cs, to create good for the Community, Country, Climate, Customer, and Company in whatever he does. It is a philosophy focusing on the creation of shared value, and is one his companies have imbibed. Today, his companies are known for their insistence on doing good for those around them. Palm Oil giant Asian Agri, for example, is known for its strong support of government initiatives. Pulp and Paper behemoth APRIL, on other hand, is well-regarded for its community-based initiatives.

APRIL Uses an Innovative Approach to Promote Fire Prevention

Most recently PT RAPP, APRIL’s Indonesia subsidiary, kept up this tradition when it carried out one of its community outreach programmes to inculcate in villagers the importance of fire safety and prevention. Notwithstanding the immense threats of health hazards and economic loss, using fire to clear land is an unsustainable practice that APRIL has consistently tried to stop. Through programmes such as the Fire Free Village Programme and the Fire Free Alliance, APRIL has committed itself to preventing and stopping forest and land fires.

To further promote the idea of only using sustainable production methods, APRIL recently engaged local villagers and farmers of Tumang Village, Siak through the movies. The innovative idea, which successfully captured the attention of both the young and elderly, managed to impress upon locals the many drawbacks of using fire as a production method. It seems to have worked, too. Head of Tumang village, Muhammad Tahir, described how his villagers are now much more alert and aware of the need to keep the lands free from fire.

The use of innovative methods such as films to inculcate the importance of fire protection and prevention is part of APRIL’s commitment to sustainability and shared value creation. Sailal Arimi, APRIL’s Fire Free Village Programme Manager, said that such methods of fire prevention are an important avenue for APRIL, given the ease of understanding that films provide and the high level of enthusiasm they manage to create.

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A Fresh Start: Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL helps Illegal Logger Go Straight

Sukanto Tanoto is an entrepreneur who came good despite the odds. Taking over his family’s spare parts business as a seventeen year-old, he was thrown into deep end. Yet the tenacious Sukanto Tanoto succeeded, cutting his business teeth in Medan, Indonesia and eventually starting the first of his many companies. Today, Sukanto Tanoto is chairman of RGE, a natural resource giant that manages companies such as APRIL, Sateri, and Pacific Oil and Gas. With his companies collectively employing 60,000 people and owning assets worth 18 billion dollars, Sukanto Tanoto has indubitably made a name for himself.

Doing good and doing well

More impressively,Sukanto Tanoto is also an entrepreneur with a heart. Throughout 50 years of business, he has advocated the creation of shared value for the Community, Country, Climate, Customers, and Company – a philosophy that has come to be known as the 5Cs. It is something he has always insisted upon, and all of Sukanto Tanoto’s companies have similarly followed suit. There exist many inspiring stories of his companies existing with the community in a symbiotic relationship. One such example is that of APRIL and former illegal logger Tengku Effendi.

A Fresh Start: Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL helps Illegal Logger Go Straight

Sukanto Tanoto helps illegal logger come good

47 year-old Tengku Effendi, used to be an illegal logger. Under the Community Development (CD) Programme ran by PT RAPP, APRIL’s Indonesian subsidiary, Tengku finally went straight. Joining the programme in 2006, today the father of three has truly become a role model for all as an award-winning entrepreneur.

Under the CD programme, Tengku received from Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL, in terms of business and management training. APRIL didn’t just stop there, and even helped Tengku secure the loans required for his business. With a supportive framework in place, Tengku’s new transportation business took off, and has never looked back since. Today, Tengku’s business is thriving, and one of their biggest customer is APRIL, for whom Tengku transports fertilisers. In 2014, his company won a PT RAPP award for implementing workplace health and safety principles.

Learning Discipline and Hygiene at an Early Age – The Key to a Better Life

The Tanoto Foundation has been promoting the improvement of living standards, sustainable lifestyle and lifelong education successfully since 1981. One of the main premises of the Foundation is that one’s mentality and general attitude toward the environment and toward life starts at a very early age, which also means that education on the fundamental values of life must also start at an early age.

The Foundation has been engaged in providing effective support to educational institutions of all levels across the country, its activity being primarily oriented toward improving the quality of education in rural Indonesia and facilitating the access to education in underprivileged areas, thus proposing to alleviate poverty as well.

The Tanoto Foundation currently works with more than three hundred schools in Riau, Jambi and North Sumatra. The Foundation has launched programs not only for the children, but for the teachers who work in these schools, too, training them to use modern methodologies that improve the effectiveness of the learning process. One of the proposed aims is to educate children about the importance of disciplined behavior when in nature, as well as about the importance of hygiene. The participants of the program are taught how to maintain their surroundings and their school clean and how to act in an environmentally safe and responsible manner at all times.

The Foundation’s School Improvement Program has helped local educational institutions not only with training, but also by actually financing the upgrades necessary in these schools. The participant schools benefit from facility upgrading, such as the construction of laboratories and libraries, and they also receive help in the form of books and other teaching and learning materials.

Access to proper education is the key to having a better life in a better environment, and the Tanoto Foundation has made it their mission to help local communities achieve these goals.