Business Accomplishments for a Better Community

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Recipient of Dean’s Medal from Wharton

Every year, Wharton School in Pennsylvania gives Dean’s Medal, an exceptional award for its graduates that have created amazing achievements around the world. Among the recipients, there are Felipe de Borbon y Grecia (Prince of Asturias), Alvaro Uribe Velez (President of Colombia), Leonard A. Lauder (Estee Lauder’s chairman), and Sukanto Tanoto. The latter earned this award in year 2012, and he is among few Indonesians such as Sudono Salim that earned the prestigious award. There are many reasons that make Sukanto Tanoto deserved the prestigious award, and here are some.

Sukanto Tanoto is a Successful International Businessman

Asian Agri is among the biggest palm oil companies in Indonesia, and Sukanto Tanoto is his founder and owner. The company has worked together with thousands of farmers in Sumatra, and has helped supplying palm oil products to various companies and industries, both in Indonesia and abroad. Asian Agri has become a main supplier of palm oil for various industries in other countries such as China, Singapore, India and several European and American countries. 

His business is also a clear example of amazing business innovation in both Indonesia and China, and he has made Singapore as his main operational base for his worldwide business.

Sukanto Tanoto and Social Projects

Sukanto Tanoto has amazing achievements as a philanthropist; he set up Tanoto Foundation, which has helped many schools and provided scholarships for students from poor families, including for children of the company’s oil palm farmers. Also, the foundation that he established provides grants and funds for various academic or academic related projects, including funds for research and study for lecturers, teachers and professors.

Finally, Asian Agri is also responsible for educating, training and supporting oil palm farmers, so they can have independent farms and plasma farms, without having to depend all the time to the palm oil companies. The projects include trainings and education for plasma farmers and smallholders in various aspects for plantation and cultivation techniques to business related matters.

Monday, July 28, 2014

How Small Palm Farmers Gained Sustainability Certificate

Palm oil industry in Indonesia is often viewed in negative light, but not all stories are bad from this industry. Amanah, a palm farmer association, is the first smallholders group that gained the sustainability certificate in Indonesia. This group has accepted support from Sukanto Tanoto, owner of Asian Agri, as well as environmental organization such as WWF to gain the certification in year 2013. This is a great achievement in the world of palm oil plantation and industry in Indonesia.

Asian Agri Roles in Amanah Sustainability Certification

Amanah is an oil palm independent smallholder association based in Pelalawan area in Riau Province, which is also among the biggest locations for oil palm plantations in Indonesia. This smallholder association now houses as many as 350 small, independent farmers, with total plantation area of 765 hectares. This association is independent, which means the farmers in it have no association at all with palm oil industry companies, but Asian Agri has big roles in helping and supporting the association to earn the certificate.

The certificate itself is official, based on Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil scheme, in which the association would not be able to earn the certificate unless the farmers in it actually practice high quality and proper methods in planting and cultivating oil palms in their plantations. According to Sunarno, the head of the association who also received the certificate from Vice Minister, the farmers spent about 1.5 years before they were able to get the certificate. 4 months were spent for educating the farmers, and 1 year for going through audit process, while implementing the principles of sustainable farming.

Amanah got a lot of help especially from Asian Agri, Sukanto Tanoto’s palm oil company. The company was responsible in helping the farmers to get the right guidance of sustainable farming methods, so they can keep implementing the methods in the future.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sukanto Tanoto Supports Programs for Early Education

As one of the richest Indonesians in recent Forbes list, SukantoTanoto does not drown in euphoria of being a rich person. Through his social organization Tanoto Foundation, Sukanto and his other family members such as his wife and two children take great parts in supporting social aspects in Indonesia especially in education. As a Chinese descendant, Sukanto experienced lack of education during his youth in the 60’s because his Chinese public school was closed by the government due to communism fear.

Now, Tanoto Foundation has had several educational programs, and one of the newest programs is educational support for early education such as pre schools and kindergartens.

Sukanto Tanoto: Why Early Education is Important Program

At Tanoto Foundation, where Sukanto Tanoto’s children are members of Board of Trustee, there is special program to support early education such as building schools or supplying existing schools with educational equipment. This is because early education is the root of higher education. As a man devoted to education and has strived to learn at various international classes for years, Sukanto Tanoto believes that basic education is a good root for someone to reach better education, and finally success.

Early education is a place to mold personality and characteristics of small kids, so they will be more prepared to join higher education levels and study hard to earn success. Several programs have been conducted in Indonesia and others in poor areas in China, in which the foundation gave grants and supplies of school equipment and teaching tools. Meanwhile, grants and funds are also given regularly to teachers and lecturers so they can earn opportunities to study and do research.

Good education is a foundation of success; Sukanto Tanoto prove that education is something people need to have in order to gain success, and his foundation proves that even early education is important to shape lifelong success.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Belinda’s Dedication to Tanoto Foundation

Growing up as a youth denied formal education as Chinese descendant, Sukanto Tanoto established Tanoto Foundation as a mean to help other unfortunate children that cannot continue their educations. Tanoto Foundation has programs to support education by donating to schools, buying them school supplies and teaching equipment, and giving scholarships and research grants for students, teachers and professors. He passed on his foundation to be run by his daughter, Belinda Tanoto, who has the same passion in social causes.

How Belinda and Sukanto Tanoto Run the Foundation

Belinda Tanoto has proven herself as the worthy leader and runner of Tanoto Foundation. She was brought up by her father with lessons about the importance of education, both for self and for the goodness of the country. She is also reminded in daily basis about responsibilities to help the unfortunate in education. Therefore, when Sukanto Tanoto trusted her to run the foundation, she did not refuse and jumped in straight away. Thanks to her father, Belinda also has great concern about 

A graduate from Deerfield College and Wharton, Belinda has resilience, knowledge and instinct to run and develop the foundation, so it can help more people. Under her hands, Tanoto Foundation has become one of scholarship foundations recommended by Indonesian government, and it often works together with the government in various educational and social events. Two exceptional achievements were financial support to build new building for Faculty of Forestry at Gadjah Mada University, and grants to develop organic vegetables and medicinal herbs at Faculty of Science at Universitas Negeri Surakarta.

The foundation is still running several distinctive programs to support education not only in Indonesia, but also in Singapore and China. In fact, Tanoto Foundation has helped building schools and donating school supplies to China, as well as giving scholarships to medical students in Singapore.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Asian Agri Earned Award from Palm Oil Farmer Association

PT Asian Agri, one of Indonesia’s giants in palm oil production, once again proved his contribution to the life of palm oil farmers in Sumatra. Sukanto Tanoto long life commitment to support the life of palm oil farmers made Asian Agri rewarded with award from palm oil farmer association. Asian Agri is considered as very successful in raising the prosperity level and educating palm oil farmers, thanks to its numerous programs such as plasma farm.

Sukanto Tanoto Dedication to Palm Oil Farmers

According to the vice of Minister of Farming, Dr. Rusman Heryawan, Asian Agri is one of palm oil companies that really dedicate to the social and educational programs for palm oil farmers as parts of its corporate social responsibilities. Asian Agri started plasma farming program and initiated PIR TRANS with Indonesian government, which is a program that encourages transmigration and new job opportunities in palm oil farming in remote areas. Also, Asian Agri is considered as the most dedicated company that is always consistent in giving 4 percents of incentive to farmers that give the best quality palm fruits.

Thanks to Asian Agri, palm oil farmers around the facility and company’s plantations get a lot of supports and helps. For example, they manage to increase their life standards, send their children to school, and even get various trainings in plasma farming. Asian Agri also routinely sends farmers to do comparative study program to other successful plantation areas. These programs make farmers feel more confident and experienced, and some have even managed to open their own independent businesses.

Meanwhile, Asian Agris is currently also developing partnership program to start cattle farming. This means that palm oil farmers can even get more means to earn income and increase their experiences in both plants and animal farming. This means that Sukanto Tanoto’s dream of total corporate social responsibilities can happen soon.

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