Business Accomplishments for a Better Community

Thursday, October 1, 2015

RER – A Peatland Restoration Initiative That Sets an Example and Inspires

RER – A Peatland Restoration Initiative That Sets an Example and Inspires

The APRIL Group is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of pulp and paper products, but they are also much more than that. They are a company that has become famous for its intensive involvement in protecting the natural environment, for being permanently involved in implementing new sustainable production technologies, as well as for actively supporting the education of local communities. 

In 2013, they launched what can be considered one of the milestones of their service to the world: a conservation project aiming to preserve and restore the peatland in Kampar, Riau, Indonesia.

The Kampar peninsula is an area of special importance for the integrity of our natural environment not only because the area is one of the richest on Earth in terms of biodiversity, but also because peatlands are the most efficient carbon sinks. However efficient and important this peat ecosystem may be, it is a very fragile territory and its preservation requires not only great effort and energy, but proper education as well.

The project launched by APRIL in 2013 is called RER, Restorasi Ekosistem Riau, and is a long-term collaborative project with partners such as Bidara, a local non-governmental organization, and Flora and Fauna International (FFI), a conservationist innovator that carries out activities to protect threatened ecosystems and endangered species across the globe, with the aim of protecting and restoring 70,000 hectares of decaying forest. 

The project has been presented at numerous forums and international conferences to set example, inspire and inform environment protection agencies. The latest such event was the World Forestry Congress held in Durban, South Africa. The objective of the presentation was to emphasize the importance of joining forces to protect these sensitive ecosystems of vital importance to the existence of nature as well as to underline how valuable the engagement of local communities in the conservation of these areas can be.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Relief Efforts for Mount Sinabung Eruption Evacuees – Tanoto Scholars Lend a Hand

The Mount Sinabung eruptions have affected the entire country of Indonesia, with many people still being displaced as a result of the natural catastrophe that has hit the poorest of the population in a country where proper education, healthcare and food rations are still very much in lack.

However, there is still hope for the thousands of evacuees, as initiatives such as those set forth by the recipients of Tanoto scholarships (Tanoto Scholars) have brought food, educational resources and even enjoyment to the children whose families have suffered as a result of the eruption.

Being an Evacuee

Being evacuated from your home is bad enough, but knowing you may never see the house you grew up in again is even worse. As a child or a young student, an event like the eruption of Mount Sinabung can have lasting psychological effects, and for parents, it can be the last blow to strike someone who has struggled for so long to provide for their family.

The conditions that the evacuees have to live in are far from adequate. They usually spend their nights in temporary tents without proper heating and a limited supply of resources that usually has to be rationed as wisely as possible. Also, children's education in the area had to suffer, and now many of the children are left without the opportunity to learn and secure a brighter future.

Assistance from Tanoto Scholars

Tanoto Scholars have come to the aid of the community with educational resources, books, food and toys for the children, as well as many activities and games they have organized to help improve spirits after the catastrophic event.

Many of the children welcomed them with smiles on their faces, and they have gladly engaged in the various games and activities, while their parents were overjoyed to see the attention and effort invested by Tanoto Scholars.

These initiatives have certainly had the desired effect of at least temporarily improving on the young evacuees' condition until such time as they may be able to return to their homes and villages.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

APRIL Group Leads the Way in Kerinci to Create Fire-Free Villages

With the help of NGOs, governmental agencies and the local populations of villages in the Kerinci area, APRIL Group – the largest producer of pulp and paper in Indonesia – set out to create fire-free villages in an initiative to prevent forest fires in the area and train local villagers to use responsible means of fire prevention.

Multi-Stakeholder Fire Prevention Project

The project set forth by APRIL Group aims to prevent uncontrolled fires and stop them before they even happen. It has been praised by many non-governmental entities, some of which have been against APRIL's initiatives in the past.

This new sustainable approach by the RGE giant has become a multi-stakeholder fire prevention program that links the government, the community and the private sector in the same common goals associated with creating community incentives to appoint fire crew leaders, establish more sustainable agricultural practices, improve air monitoring and launch a full-scale community awareness campaign geared toward communicating information about fires that could potentially grow out of control.

The Importance of a Strong Partnership

APRIL has mobilized nine villages in the area to take part in the program, and the numbers that the company has invested are quite impressive – more than $6 million spent on fire prevention equipment and about $3-4 million in fire suppression expenses.

The local government and law enforcement, as well as the military and several organizations, such as the Provincial Disaster Mitigation Agency, have shown their support as well, and the villagers are being trained by APRIL Group experts in good management practices and using land clearing equipment more responsibly.

NGOs such as Blue Green and Rumah Pohon have also showed great interest in the project and have already started in helping to identify several reliable alternatives to fire clearing, to help support land management without the needless and dangerous burning practices that have been utilized in the past.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Remarkable Accomplishments of Indonesia's Young Leaders of Industry

With Indonesia experiencing unprecedented growth and development in a number of industries, the world has turned its eyes on the country's accomplishments, as three young industry leaders go above and beyond to create a true industrial revolution in the region. 

John Riady, Anderson Tanoto and Fuganto Widajaja form an elite of young entrepreneurs whose family wealth totals at about $11 billion, working hard for promoting the most sustainable, practical and responsible goals the country had ever seen.

At only 30 years of age, John Riady is the executive director of Lippo Group and has already achieved remarkable success hosting events such as the World Economic Forum and organizing multi-million dollar investments like the purchase by Lippo of the world renowned e-commerce website MatahariMall.

A Georgetown University graduate, Riady has advanced plans for accelerating and expanding business initiatives throughout Indonesia and worldwide, being highly optimistic that the new generation of business leaders can actively improve the country's economy.

Anderson Tanoto has already implemented numerous changes in the manner in which Asia Pacific Resources International handles its policies in the pulp and paper industry, having pushed for sustainable solutions that have pleased environmental organizations worldwide, helped accelerate production, and provided numerous new opportunities for local Indonesians to improve their quality of life and obtain new jobs.

Mr. Tanoto has brought a fresh new perspective in the responsible use of technology and training practices across Indonesian plantations, prioritizing transparency through his leading edge business approach.
President director of Golden Energy and Resources, Fuganto Widjaja has taken the lead role to restore confidence in the troubled coal venture that has suffered after British financier Nathaniel Rothschild has pulled out his investment from supporting the company.

With newfound Indonesian investments already available, Mr. Widjaja claims he is confident that the new deal will boost energy supply in Indonesia to 35,000 MW within the next five years. The company's long term goal is also to create new jobs, investment opportunities and products that can ultimately benefit the country and the world.

Asian Agri and Apical Join TFT to Increase Their Sustainability Efforts

Asian Agri and Apical have proven that they are not afraid to up the game and increase their efforts towards sustainability and responsibility in the palm oil industry. 

Their new achievement of teaming up with TFT (The Forest Trust) – a world renowned environmental non-profit that helps companies put together responsible supply chains.

A Successful Sustainability Journey

This new endeavor is in line with the two companies' past achievements in 2014, such as signing the New York Declaration of Forests and participating in the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto. Indonesia's Palm Oil Pledge is also on the list, and Asian Agri in particular is also on target for becoming RSPO and ISPO certified. 

Both Apical and Asian Agri are very eager to work together with TFT in order to create a more sustainable approach toward improving their supply chains, but their sustainability efforts don't stop there.

Asian Agri has been working together with more than 30,000 smallholders, and has recently been engaging in an effort to help them advance on their sustainability journey. At the same time, Apical already has a detailed plan for creating a fully sustainable supply chain by 2016. 

A Symbolic and Practical New Partnership

With both companies part of Sukanto Tanoto's RGE Group of companies, their efforts in involving an organization like TFT into their industrial activities is no surprise, and it has already gained notable favor from NGOs and the Indonesian government.

The partnership reflects the companies' initiative in protecting High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) peatlands and regions. Moreover, the collaboration is expected to trace supply chains more efficiently, and have a quite positive impact on local communities, in terms of sustainability at a socio-economic level.

Apical and Asian Agri continue to set new standards for the palm oil industry in Indonesia and even worldwide, their efforts towards sustainable and responsible industrial growth paving the way for the application of a more responsible ideology when it comes to balancing business with environmental actions.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

APRIL's New Policy on Deforestation – Environmental and Corporate Social Responsibility

Sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) have been at the heart of the RGE Group led by Sukanto Tanoto - which APRIL Group is a part of - for many years. 

Recently, APRIL has announced a halt in their operations for harvesting natural forests in Indonesia for the production of pulp and paper in the area, while also having gained PEFC certification for about 300,000 hectares of their concession areas thus far. 

A Halt in Deforestation

Both of APRIL's subsidiaries in Indonesia – RAPP (Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper) and RAK (Riau Andalan Kertas) have been targets of various NGOs that have gained significant ground against pulp and paper companies. However, the newest announcements regarding changes in the group's sustainability policies have received the approval of both NGOs and local government groups, outlining the company's drive towards responsible and sustainable business.

The announcements have provided a clear description of the company's plans in the area, including the halting of all new developments in forests and on forested peatland and the adding of High Carbon Stock (HCS) assessments to existing HCVF assessments.

APRIL has also talked about reinforcing their landscape conservation practices. This means ensuring that at least 480,000 hectares (the equivalent of the amount of land their plantations take up) will be placed under protection. Already that goal has been achieved in proportion of more than 70%.

Finally, the group has also promised to stay in closer cooperation with NGOs, create and enhance programs associated with education and poverty alleviation, and ensure the improvement of their peatland management initiatives.

CSR and APRIL Group

Corporate social responsibility runs right through the heart of APRIL and the RGE Group which the company is part of. It all originated in the philosophy adopted and implemented by the Group's founder, Sukanto Tanoto, whose drive toward obtaining the best results for the company, community and country are now legendary.

APRIL's roots in Indonesia are in the small Kerinci township, an area that has been completely transformed when the RGE began its operations there, from a poor town where most people earned a living from fishing, to the focal point of the group's initiatives, which also included the improvement of poverty alleviation, education, infrastructure and healthcare.

The list of achievements in the Kerinci area that reflect APRIL's commitment to CSR are quite remarkable, the group having been able to create almost 100,000 jobs (both directly and indirectly), train more than 1,000 households, as part of the group's Integrated Farming System, provide more than 120 businesses with start-up capital, and ensure scholarships for more than 17,000 students.

All these achievements and many other show just how vital APRIL's growth was for the development of one of Indonesia's poorest communities, and outlines the potential role the group can have as part of the country's future development.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

RGE's Remarkable Commitment towards Halting Deforestation and Building a Sustainable Business Model

RGE is a powerful player in the local fiber, pulp and paper industry in Indonesia. As part of their policy, however, the Group has also announced its commitment for the implementation of some of the safest, as well most environmentally and economically responsible practices, as part of their RGE Sustainability Framework.

RGE Group's Commitment to the 3 Cs

The 3 Cs are the cornerstones of RGE Chairman, Sukanto Tanoto's main philosophy, as adopted by all members corporations of the RGE Group. These include employing the right efforts in order to improve the company, community and country to the same extent.

This is essentially the key concept behind RGE's sustainability framework. Among other benefits of global importance, it upholds and promotes a commitment to eliminaing deforestation from the supply chain, adopting operational practices that both help the business and protect the peatland. The Group also makes sure the rights of the indigenous inhabitants of the areas where RGE operates are being respected and ensures the provision of a safe and adequate work environment for employees.

Several key members of the RGE Group have also adopted various resolutions and commitments to ensure deforestation can be avoided and that only the most efficient and environmentally friendly practices are used, in line with the Sustainability Framework.

Notable Efforts from Asian Agri, Apical and APRIL Group

Asian Agri, Apical and APRIL are three of the major companies working towards a responsible and sustainable management of industry efforts and technologies in Indonesia.

Some of their most significant efforts in this direction have been Apical and Asian Agri's signing of the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto – essentially committing the companies to avoiding deforestation entirely in HCS (High Carbon Stock) areas – and APRIL's remarkable approach to landscape conservation through their SFMP 2.0 (Sustainability Foreign Management Policy). The policy ensures a strict balance between conservation, sustainable production and the protection of the local landscape. 

Asian Agri has also recently signed the IPOP (the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil Pledge), an agreement to improve relationships with stakeholders and involve the government in a sustained effort to make at least 60% of the palm oil supply free of deforestation.

Other key efforts, such as Apical's signing of the New York Declaration of Forests in 2014 and the sustained commitment APRIL has promoted for the past 15 years to ensure that no illegal wood would enter their mills, have already seen a lasting positive impact on the environment. 

RGE's commitment toward sustainability has allowed the group to continue to expand, while also ensuring lasting positive results for the community, the country and the environment.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

RGE Chairman Sukanto Tanoto Meets with Students from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

RGE chairman and well-known philanthropist, Sukanto Tanoto, has recently addressed students from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania on the importance of sustainable growth in Indonesia and the ASEAN countries. 

Mr. Tanoto has made a compelling and highly educational presentation of his own struggles and achievements in becoming a successful entrepreneur, as well as an outline of his current initiatives and plans for the pulp and paper and palm oil industry, as well as his philanthropic work.

Sukanto Tanoto on His Success as an Entrepreneur

Mr. Tanoto has presented the students with his story on how he became an experienced, highly skilled and respected entrepreneur with operations spanning throughout the ASEAN region and even globally.

He talked about the challenges he faced as he gradually scaled and diversified his business practices and approaches, particularly after the Asian Financial Crisis that took place in the 1990s. He also presented the vital role that the three “Cs” played – and continue to play – in managing all his business endeavors, emphasizing the fact that companies that make an effort to improve the communities and countries they are part of will also thrive themselves.

Development in the ASEAN Regions

The RGE Group is the perfect example of Sukanto Tanoto's policy on implementing the three Cs as effectively as possible. The group of corporation has had a lasting impact in ASEAN, and particularly Indonesia, providing local communities with better opportunities to improve their infrastructures and business growth rate.

Some of the most significant breakthroughs were in the palm oil business, with RGE successfully managing to train and provide new business opportunities to local smallholder farmers. Also, they have been significantly active in helping the community with direct and indirect employment, as well as implementing improved sustainable technologies.

Education and Philanthropic Work

Sukanto Tanoto has also emphasized the importance of philanthropic work when implementing his philosophy on the three Cs. Since he founded the Tanoto Foundation in 2001, he has been tirelessly working towards the goal of promoting educational assistance and the creation of various programs for assisting local communities and businesses.

Mr. Tanoto's initiative with the students from Wharton School and undergraduates from the Singapore Management University is also a part of these efforts, the course having been a remarkable educational experience for all those involved, ending with the students' experience of spending two days in Pangkalan Kerinci in Riau, the center of operation for RGE's activities in the palm oil and pulp & paper industries.

The course on sustainable growth in ASEAN is considered to be a major step forward for RGE and the Tanoto Foundation, in the effort of raising awareness about the vital importance of sustainable business growth in the region.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Lifesaving Initiative by RAPP – Efforts to Provide Better Treatment for a Young Girl

Nurul Aisyah was only 7 months old when her mother discovered that something was very wrong with her little girl. Later, it was discovered that she had a rare heart disorder that caused frequent seizures, high fever and severe pain, predicting a grim future for the young girl, unless expensive treatments could be provided as soon as possible.

As news of the little girl's story has rippled throughout the community, representatives from RAPP (Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper) – one of the largest provider of paper and pulp in the Sumatra area – have responded by initiating a fund raiser that has brought new hope to the girl's troubled parents.

Nurul Aisyah – The Struggle of Poverty

The young girl is now almost two years of age, kept under close observation and receiving good assistance in a renowned government hospital. All this would not have been possible without the help of active community members who took interest in learning about the story of Nurul Aisyah and her parents.

The young girl was born in a poor family, with her father barely being able to earn enough to put food on the table. When her parents learned of her debilitating disease, however, food was far from being the first thing on their minds, as they strived to save up as much money as possible for consultations and treatments.

Doctors, however, had bad news for the family, stating that Nurul Aisyah would need professional treatments worth tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars, if she was to be given a chance at a normal life. All seemed hopeless for the small family, as the little girl's father could only occasionally earn a little extra by working for construction contractors and there seemed to be no other avenue towards acquiring the necessary funding to pay for the treatments.

As it sometimes happens, luckily, miracles are not that far away, and it seemed that help was just around the corner for the little girl. News spread about her condition, reaching people in her community who could genuinely do something to help her situation – people such as the employees of RAPP, the main subsidiary of a company named APRIL that operates under the leadership of esteemed entrepreneur and philanthropist, Sukanto Tanoto.

RAPP Initiates Funding Efforts

RAPP was the only large corporation in the area to take an interest in the story of Nurul Aisyah and actually try to do something to help. The company's employees quickly mobilized themselves to bring the news of the story to as many people in the community as possible.

At first, the fundraising efforts did not yield many results. Although another philanthropic organization and many people in the local community worked together to spread the word, it wasn't until later that the money really started to flow in. Soon enough, however, Nurul Aisyah's parents could hardly believe their good fortune when members from the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and several other organizations and wealthy individuals in the region submitted donations worth more than 30 million US dollars. 

As fundraising efforts continued, RAPP managed to ensure the entire amount was swiftly delivered to the family, and the little girl's parents thanked them with tears in their eyes for helping their child have renewed hope for a better future.

Now, Nurul Aisyah is one of the few children who, with assistance from RAPP and other people and businesses who truly took an interest and wanted to help, is able to dream about a better life with her parents.

Employees and representatives from RAPP and organizations such as the Tanoto Foundation continue the fight against poverty in Indonesia to this day, in the hope that better opportunities can be provided for the future of children who truly need them - children like Nurul Aisyah.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Tanoto Foundation and Sukanto Tanoto's Commendable Efforts for Poverty Alleviation

Sukanto Tanoto and the renowned Tanoto Foundation have gained global recognition for the intense work put into improving poverty alleviation efforts. Mr. Tanoto and his foundation strive to provide better opportunities for education in areas where poverty is the main reason for illiteracy and the lack of proper resources, as well as bringing a new approach to empowerment. 

The Main Goals and Mission of the Tanoto Foundation

The Tanoto Foundation has been around for well over three decades, and its founder and chairman of the RGE group, Sukanto Tanoto, has spared no efforts in terms of ensuring that the Foundation is able to reach as many communities in need of help as possible.

The main mission of the Tanoto Foundation has always been to help people in need by providing improved educational resources and scholarships for children who may otherwise have great difficulty in obtaining academic success.

The Foundation focuses not only on implementing its own educational programs and empowering the beneficiaries; it also collaborates with powerful partners such as UNICEF, for the purpose of creating new academic opportunities for the children, teenagers and young adults in problem areas. Furthermore, the Foundation aims to document and improve humanitarian practices for the purpose of offering people a better chance to learn how to help themselves and gain access to resources and opportunities that would otherwise be difficult to attain.

Scholarships and Education

The Tanoto Foundation offers numerous scholarships to children in need, and their leader, Mr. Tanoto, constantly meets hundreds of Tanoto “Scholars” to provide them with advice, recommendations and ideas, in order to improve their approach on their life goals and achievements.

According to Mr. Tanoto, proper opportunities for improved education, better support from parents and the community, as well as financial support and resources from institutions such as the Tanoto Foundation can improve the lives of countless people, while giving them hope for a far better future.

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