Growing Crops, Growing the Community: Sukanto Tanoto Empowers Locals with Community Programmes

Sukanto Tanoto, the 68 year old entrepreneur, is self-assured and masterful in his ways. It is a manner he has had to have; 50 years in the business dictated so. Starting out as a 17 year-old when he first took over his father’s spare parts business, Sukanto Tanoto’s grit, decisiveness, and confidence have been integral to his success. Today Sukanto Tanoto is chairman of the global resources giant that is RGE, a company that he founded, which manages various other resource-based businesses such as APRIL, Sateri, and Pacific Oil and Gas. Very much a self-made man, the business veteran has built in 50 years an awe-inspiring empire, a name, and a legacy for the Tanoto family.

More than a businessman: Sukanto Tanoto, the man with a heart

Growing Crops, Growing the Community: Sukanto Tanoto empowers locals with Community Programmes

Like most people, Sukanto Tanoto is very much a product of his circumstances. Moulded by the years of success, failures, and hurdles, he had to be adapatable, yet firm in his own beliefs. Belying the magisterial demeanour that Sukanto Tanoto exudes, is a genteelness and warmth often disassociated; therein lies the core of his person and work. He has conducted the entire spectrum of businesses according to his principle of the 5Cs, to create good for the Community, Country, Climate, Customers, and Company. Sukanto Tanoto is unyielding in his belief that it is possible, and right, for companies to profit by putting the communities first. Most recently, APRIL was again lauded for its community development programmes.

APRIL keeps up the good work

For the longest time, 32 year-old Indra Irawan was a small-time farmer who depended upon seven hectares of land for his palm oil business. With palm oil prices fluctuating at an increasingly regular pace, the father-of-two was increasingly worried about his income flow. After attending the Integrated Farming System programme organised by Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL however, things have undoubted taken a turn for the better. The programme taught Indra and his friends on the most cost, and waste-efficient methods of agriculture and horticulture.

As a result of specialised training and support provided by PT RAPP, APRIL’s Indonesian subsidiary, Indra is consistently bringing home a monthly salary of Rp 4 to 5 million – almost double what he used to make as an employee at Futong Port. Sukanto Tanoto may never meet many of people he has helped, but for people like Indra and many others, they will surely remain very grateful for the gentle resource giant that is Mr. Tanoto.

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Investing in Tomorrow: Sukanto Tanoto’s Tanoto Foundation Grooms Future Leaders

Sukanto Tanoto is a business giant often known for his natural resource empire. As chairman of RGE, he manages companies such as APRIL, Sateri, and Pacific Oil and Gas – all industry giants in their own rights. With over 60,000 employees under his charge and assets worth 18 billion dollars, Sukanto Tanoto is an oft-cited success story who inspires with his grit, determination, and spirit. While many have heard of his success in business, much less has been mentioned of his philanthropy.

How Tanoto Foundation started

Investing in Tomorrow: Sukanto Tanoto’s Tanoto Foundation Grooms Future  Leaders

The 68 year-old, often characterised by success and all its trappings, wasn’t born into all that he has today. As a seventeen year-old, Sukanto Tanoto had his education cut short – it left him with little choice but to strike it out on his own as he started his own business. While that has arguably turned out well for him, Sukanto Tanoto has always counted his unfinished education amongst his greatest regrets.

Sukanto Tanoto’s belief that everyone should have an equal right to do better in life ultimately laid the foundations for his philanthropy. Together with his wife, Tinah Bingei Tanoto, they started building kindergartens and schools in Besitang, Sumatra, back in 1981. As life-long learners themselves, the power couple deeply believed in the power of education, and have geared their philanthropy as such. Today, Tanoto Foundation (TF) prides itself on being a leading philanthropic organisation that has done much good for society.

An eye on tomorrow

Lestari Boediono, TF’s Head of Corporate Communications, most recently affirmed this, as she revealed the foundation’s plans to focus on grooming the next generation of Indonesian leaders. Through TF’s multitude of programmes, over 6,700 scholarships at 35 different universities have already been given, said Lestari at the fast breaking event in Medan.

The scholars of TF’s programmes are not just paid to study either; scholars are often provided with supplementary capacity-building training workshops, and often participate in networking sessions through the annual Tanoto Scholars Gathering. The scholars are also encouraged to pay it forward to spread the good to more people. The aim ultimately, said Lestari, is to fulfil the vision and mission thought of by Sukanto Tanoto and Tinah Bingei Tanoto – to educate, empower, and enhance the quality of lives.

Country Roads, Take Me Home: Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL Repairs Road for Local Community

Sukanto Tanoto is the founder and chairman of RGE, a resource-based company started in Indonesia that has since gone global. Providing management services to companies such as APRIL, Sateri, and Pacific Oil and Gas, Sukanto Tanoto’s companies collectively employ 60,000 people and own assets of over USD$18 billion. It is a meteoric rise to success for the billionaire entrepreneur; he was forced to take over his family business at the tender age of seventeen.

5Cs, the Tanoto Way

Country Roads, Take Me Home: Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL Repairs Road for Local Community

His success, while staggering, is made even more impressive by its foundation in a corporate philosophy known as the 5Cs. Aiming to create good for the Community, Country, Climate, Customer, and Company in everything they do, it aims to create shared value for everyone. The 5Cs are testament to Sukanto Tanoto’s foresight and vision; many of his companies are now known for both their success and responsible practices.

APRIL Helps the Community

APRIL, in particular, has readily answered Sukanto Tanoto’s call. The pulp and paper giant has set in place a host of initiatives under their Community Development (CD) programme, run by its Indonesian subsidiary PT RAPP. As a result of these programmes, communities around the area of PT RAPP’s operations who benefit have had a traditionally positive relationship with RAPP.

Most recently, APRIL helped rebuild a road in Sentajo Raya sub-district of Kuansing, Riau, Indonesia. Mobilising two units of heavy equipment from RAPP, an excavator and motor grader were used rebuild the road that had fallen into disrepair. Village head Koto Tuo, Sumanhijar, was especially thankful, for the poor conditions of the road had previously made the area difficult to access. A spokesperson for the company said that the company remained supportive of communities around it, and that helping them was only in accordance of their 5Cs principle.

APRIL Impresses: Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL Praised by Delegation from National Resilience Institute

Sukanto Tanoto is one of Indonesia’s more famous businessmen. The 68 year-old is chairman and founder of RGE, a global resource giant that manages companies such as APRIL, Sateri, and Pacific Oil and Gas. With over 60,000 employees and 18 billion dollars in assets owned collectively, Sukanto Tanoto’s resource empire is one that often draws looks of amazement – and rightly so; his rise to the top of the game, from a seventeen year-old taking over a family business, to the success he is today, is inspiring in itself.

Philanthropy as a passion

While the billionaire entrepreneur’s success is widely-acclaimed, he has kept his feet firmly planted on the ground throughout. It was in part a result of his involvements in philanthropy, a passion nurtured over the years. Through Tanoto Foundation, which he started with his wife Tinah Bingei Tanoto, Sukanto Tanoto has managed to help the lives of many through his passion. The resource king has also transferred the same sense of duty to the community into his businesses. Sukanto Tanoto is a firm believer of the 5Cs, to create good for the Community, Country, Climate, Customer, and Company. It is a philosophy espousing the creation of shared value, and is one that all his companies have adopted.

APRIL praised for good work done

This same philosophy was recently praised, when Maj. Gen. Nunu Nugraha led a team from the National Resilience Institute to visit APRIL’s operations. During the visit to PT RAPP, APRIL’s Indonesian subsidiary, Maj. Gen. Nugraha and his team learned about the advanced paper making processes employed by the company. The team also learned about APRIL’s many community-centred programmes, signs of APRIL’s commitment to the community around it. In particular the visitors, hosted by RAPP President Director Rudi Fajar, were introduced to the Fire Free Village Programme (FFVP). The crown jewel of APRIL’s fire-prevention and protection arsenal, the hugely successful programme will see 18 participants this year, up from nine.

APRIL Impresses: Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL Praised by Delegation from National Resilience Institute

APRIL’s highly successful Fire Free Village Programme

Maj. Gen. Nugraha and his team were noticeably impressed by the entire visit. The general was quick to comment, and said, “The paper we use, PaperOne, is of good quality and doesn’t damage easily. We are also amazed by the company’s programmes for the people and the surrounding region.”

Business with a Heart: Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL focuses on Community Development

Sukanto Tanoto is the chairman and founder of RGE, one of Indonesia’s most successful companies. It manages other leading lights such as APRIL and Pacific Oil and Gas, and has operations across the globe. Needless to say, RGE is one of global industry’s largest players. Its companies collectively employ over 60,000 people and own assets exceeding 18 billion dollars. It is an empire he painstakingly built over 50 years in business, starting out as a 17 year-old who took over his father’s spare parts supply business. Never in his wildest dreams would he have envisioned the amount of success he would go on to have.

A commitment to helping others

According to the billionaire entrepreneur, his success would have been impossible without his forward-looking business philosophy. Sukanto  Tanoto firmly believes in creating shared value. It is something he calls the 5Cs: doing good for the Community, Country, Climate,  Customer, and Company. It is a nod to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) even before CSR became fashionable, testament to Sukanto Tanoto’s vision.

Business with a Heart: Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL focuses on Community Development

APRIL commits to community development

Even today, his companies continue to portray the values he espouses. Pulp and paper giant APRIL is well-known in Indonesia for its Community Development programmes. Through the programme, the company has built homes, kick started entrepreneurial journeys, and even donated blood. Sukanto Tanoto’s philosophy has paid off many times over; both the communities around and the company have benefitted greatly through mutual cooperation and concession. Unsurprisingly, APRIL is well-loved by many locals in the areas they operate in.

Most recently, APRIL, through its Indonesian subsidiary PT RAPP, carried out one of its many Community Development Programmes for the less economically-developed communities in the region. A mass circumcision programme, held in Kuntu Darussalam Village of the Kampar regency, was attended by dozens of children. Entirely supported by APRIL, the programme was one initiative to help alleviate the economic problems many in the village faced.

The help is something greatly appreciated. Head of Kuntu Darussalam Village, Maldanis, said, “We are grateful to RAPP for conducting Mass Circumcision program in this village. We hope other companies also imitate what is done by RAPP because the benefits are very much.”

 

Hand in Hand: Under Sukanto Tanoto, Asian Agri works hand-in-hand with smallholders

Sukanto Tanoto is a billionaire entrepreneur renowned for his principles. Notably, he stands by the 5Cs philosophy: creating good for the Community, Country, Climate, Customer, and Company. He is unapologetically loyal to his philosophy too, to the point of insisting that the 5Cs be the compass for all his businesses. It is a decision that has, fortunately, worked out. Today Sukanto Tanoto is chairman of RGE, a resource industry behemoth that manages companies such as APRIL, Sateri, and Pacific Oil and Gas. With 60,000 people working under him and assets totalling 18 billion dollars, sticking to his philosophical guns has undoubtedly paid off.

Sukanto Tanoto’s philosophy, strategy, and way of life

Hand in Hand: Under Sukanto Tanoto, Asian Agri works hand-in-hand with smallholders

An important aspect of Sukanto Tanoto’s philosophy dictates that his companies do good for the community. To that end, he has continually worked towards ensuring his businesses continue to have good relations with local communities. More than that, Sukanto Tanoto has advocated a mindset that working for the community makes business sense as well. These efforts have, ultimately, resulted in a mutually-beneficial partnership with tangible results. Most recently, Asian Agri was hailed for its remarkable partnership with smallholders in Indonesia.

Asian Agri’s push to perfect harmony

To date Asian Agri, one of Indonesia’s largest palm oil producers, is working with self-employed farmers who have a total land area of almost 24,000 hectares. It is the result of a massive expansion of the partnership between Asian Agri and smallholders; five years ago, smallholders only accounted for 2,700 hectares of Asian Agri’s plantations. It is a phenomenal increase, driven in part by Sukanto Tanoto’s interest in doing good for the community.

The company’s partnership with self-employed farmers, including Indonesia’s plasma programme, currently stands at 60,000 hectares. Asian Agri hopes to bring that figure up to 100,000 hectares, which including its own core plantation of 100,000 hectares, would mean the company hits its 1:1 goal.

A Promise is a Promise: Under Sukanto Tanoto, PT RAPP Honours its Word

Sukanto Tanoto is a man of his word, who understands the power and significance of a promise. The way he sees it, trust is a trait that no amount of money can buy; it is –as clichéd as it sounds – earned. It is for this reason the chairman of RGE –which manages companies such as APRIL, Sateri, and Pacific Oil and Gas – always strives to honour his word.

A heart for the community, an attitude to match

A Promise is a Promise: Under Sukanto Tanoto, PT RAPP Honours its Word

It is an attitude that Sukanto Tanoto brings across through all his dealings, and a mindset that he has sought to instil within all his businesses. Together with his philosophy of the 4Cs –creating Good for the Community, Country, Climate, and Company –it makes for a winning combination; the billionaire entrepreneur has built an empire with over USD 18 billion dollars worth of assets, and a 60,000 strong workforce. It is little surprise then, that Sukanto Tanoto’s companies are often known for their trustworthiness, commitment, and community-centric initiatives. Recently, these same values were on show as PT RAPP, APRIL’s Indonesian subsidiary, was evaluated and found to have kept its promises to the local communities in the Meranti Islands.

Doing good for Meranti

Under the Hutan Tanaman Industri (HTI) programme, companies operating in the Meranti Islands are tasked with being a force for good – to improve the local community through the economy and CSR initiatives. One major part of their task is to ensure part of the plantations they manage is reserved for the growing of crops important to the local community, a promise to ensure the community would not be neglected.

At a recent evaluation by the Parliament of the Meranti Islands, Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL was the only operator to have kept its promise. While PT RAPP had already fulfilled their commitments in 10 villages, it was the only major operator to do so. With over 1,100 hectares of land already used for the plantation of crops required by the community, and IDR 25 billion in grants disbursed out to residents, APRIL is definitely taking its commitment seriously. Sukanto Tanoto simply wouldn’t have it any other way.

Anderson Tanoto’s Views on WEF East Asia and Future Progress in Indonesia

RGE Director Anderson Tanoto has recently been interviewed by CNBC to talk about the improving perspectives on future progress in Indonesia, as outlined at the recent World Economic Forum.

Taking a positive approach towards the current state of the country’s infrastructure, economy and efforts for attracting foreign continuously expanding local communities, Mr. Tanoto has emphasized the goals the country has already achieved, while talking about future plans for industry expansion.

 

Improved Infrastructure

One of the most important aspects that relate to both the well-being of the people in the area and the smooth operation of potential investors has to do with infrastructural growth.

The local government has been successful in putting into motion certain elements of growth, culminating with their vision of 35,000MW in terms of electricity production in the next few years. Mr. Tanoto has also pointed out that the RGE Group and their partners in the industry sector have already managed to build more than 3,000 km of roads in rural areas, where new and improved roads are extremely important.

He also stated that, while the prospect of building thousands of kilometers of roads and improving the electric grid can seem difficult at first, only the first steps are actually a problem. Sustainable infrastructural progress, however, backed by both industry and government leaders, have the possibility to turn these visions into reality within the next 3-7 years.

 

The Political Agenda in Indonesia

When it comes to politics, the WEF has proven that the Indonesian government and President Jokowi have the best intention for the country’s future growth, both in terms of building better infrastructure and addressing all the other challenges that people are facing today.

According to Anderson Tanoto, the situation is actually much more promising than most people would admit; as he has stated during the interview, “the politics in Indonesia have to be seen from the ground up.” Despite challenges related to the economy and infrastructure, confidence in the area is quite high and strong changes are expected, as many of the political figures currently in the government are younger individuals in their 30s and 40s.

The first concrete proof of the remarkable potential of the country is expected to be realized in just a few years, as the Indonesian economy holds strong and the government is willing to set changes in place that will set in motion the initiative for reaching the necessary sustainable goals.

 

Commodities and the Economy

Mr. Tanoto has emphasized the fact that any temporary setbacks when it comes to commodities and the local economy need to be viewed as cyclical and that potential investors will gain far more by looking at the overall picture for the next 3 years.

Also, while the currency is fluctuating, risk management plans are in place, as groups like RGE have a powerful strategy for managing loans in both domestic and foreign currencies; the company also has strong treasury teams operating in Jakarta, Singapore and Hong Kong.

As Anderson Tanoto finally pointed out, the demographics and macro-economic environment in Indonesia show a promising future and prospects are quite high for the next few years.

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

The Remarkable Benefits of Healthcare Initiatives Facilitated by the Tanoto Foundation

Through its most recent philanthropic endeavor, the Tanoto Foundation has partnered up with RAPP (Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper) – one of the foundation’s corporate partners also linked to well-known entrepreneur and philanthropist, Sukanto Tanoto – to create new opportunities for improved healthcare in the Gunung Sari village in Riau.

The program sought to train medical cadres in the area, and achieved great success throughout the community, reflecting once more on the RGE Group and the Tanoto Foundation’s concern for the community.

 

Training for Healthcare Personnel

The main goal of the program was to provide quality, professional training for local medical staff, while also providing the community with assistance geared toward facilitating simple, routine activities for helping people living around the operational areas of PT. RAPP.

All assistance was provided through a health clinic located in Gunung Sahilan, and one of the major activities had to do with assisting mothers in receiving health support – as part of a larger initiative towards helping to decrease the numbers of child, infant and childbirth deaths in rural areas like the Gunung Sari village.

As an additional bonus, the program also brought numerous benefits geared toward improving the community’s well-being. Food packages were provided for families in need, and services such as free circumcision were also on the agenda, ensuring that disadvantaged families could still benefit from them.

 

Community Response

The community responded in an extremely positive manner to this remarkable gesture made by the two organizations that helped them realize there are still people out there who actually care about making a difference and fighting poverty. Local members of the community have expressed gratitude and great admiration for both RAPP and the Tanoto Foundation, while also pointing out many of the other advantages that these institutions have brought over time.

Aside from this health program, others have also been facilitated in the past. What’s more, the area has enjoyed quite a lot of attention from the Tanoto Foundation and from PT. RAPP, through projects for improving education and granting scholarships to local children, as well as support for infrastructural development.

The head of the clinic at Gunung Sahilan was also extremely supportive of the endeavor and voiced her hope that further assistance can be given in the long run through continual support and clinical training, so that the children in the area can receive better treatment in the following weeks, months and years.

 

Long Term Goals and Plans

This type of training program is part of a constant initiative that Sukanto Tanoto and the Tanoto Foundation are hoping to increase over the next few years. Although the mortality rates and health risks in Indonesian rural areas have subsided over the past few decades, they are still alarmingly high, and the fact that a large portion of the country’s inhabitants are still living below the national poverty line is definitely not an encouraging fact.

Nevertheless, due to efforts such as these growing in number, there is quite a lot of hope that the situation in areas like the Gunung Sari village can drastically improve in the next few years.

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

Sukanto Tanoto’s Initial Rise Towards Success: A Young New Business Leader

Sukanto Tanoto was still quite young when he was forced to spend less time at school and focus more on helping his family with their business. Prior to his father’s health problems, young Sukanto’s parents continued to encourage his education, despite the local political unrest in the country that caused road blocks and sparked danger for many of the local inhabitants.

Sukanto Tanoto

Taking Over the Family Business

When his father suffered a minor stroke, Sukanto Tanoto stepped up to take a leadership role in the family business, working hard to do the management work that his father previously carried out, handling invoices, receipts and various other types of documents.

By typing, he was able to continue learning Bahasa Indonesian, and he soon realized just how vital your education can be when you’re trying to become successful in the business world. Amidst constantly-growing unrest, however, Chinese schools were forced to close, and the young business leader soon had to decide to dedicate all his efforts towards managing and improving the family business.

The Start of a Successful Business

In 1966, Sukanto Tanoto’s father closed the shop and provided young Sukanto with the remaining stock of parts, so that, soon after, he would be able to open his very own spare parts business. In January of 1967, this dream became reality, as the aspiring entrepreneur used the knowledge and resources he gained by managing his family business to begin his own endeavors in Medan.

At the age of only 17, young Mr. Tanoto started working full time on managing his business with only 4 employees and about $30,000, mainly gained through spare parts inventory.

It was incredibly hard work. Together, the team worked very closely and coordinated each action with precision. For 15 hours a day, they dedicated their entire time to managing all the tasks that needed to be performed at the spare parts store and, despite all the hard work, spirits remained high, since they basically worked together as a family.

Nevertheless, with more and more foreigners arriving in Indonesia, all that work paid off and business was better than ever. Just three years after beginning his first business, Sukanto Tanoto was clearly on the path to success, managing to secure 3 million Singapore dollars in the bank; what with Chinese schools in Indonesia still closed, he provided his brothers with the means to continue their education in Singapore.

New Business Opportunities in Indonesia

As foreigners continued to arrive at the shores of Indonesia, Mr. Tanoto knew that he had to profit from this positive development, and, while continuing to learn the secrets of successfully managing his business, he also started learning English one word at a time, using a simple Chinese-English dictionary.

Again, the young entrepreneur’s foresight paid off, and again he proved that through his continuing drive to learn as much as possible, he could aspire to higher and higher goals. By 1970, he was able to start a new business using solely his own funds, becoming a contractor and supplier for a company known as Pertamina – operating in the petroleum and natural gas industry.

Two years later, Sukanto Tanoto became the proud owner of CV Karya (later renamed KARPEL), and, through his determination and constant study, he managed to make all the right choices to become one of the most competitive suppliers on the market.