Business Accomplishments for a Better Community

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.

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