Sukanto Tanoto is often synonymous with his business empire RGE, which manages companies such as APRIL, Sateri, and Pacific Oil and Gas. It is a success story that rivals any, a story of hard work, determination, and an undying desire to succeed. More than that, Sukanto Tanoto is now widely known for his philanthropy via the Tanoto Foundation, which he founded with his wife Tinah Bingei Tanoto. While most would focus on his impressive record of success, perhaps one of Sukanto Tanoto’s less-recounted feats is his empire’s contributions towards fostering local entrepreneurship.
How Everyone Benefits via the Tanoto Way
Sukanto Tanoto’s management philosophy is distilled to the 4Cs principle: creating good for the Community, Country, Climate, and Company. It is one which takes a stakeholder-centric view of an organisation’s operations, an acknowledgement of the responsibility his companies have as agents of social change. In that regard, APRIL, the Indonesian pulp and paper giant founded by Sukanto Tanoto, has worked tirelessly to achieve this via its community development (CD) programme.
Closing the Circle: How the CD breeds success
The CD programme is committed to supporting local entrepreneurs, providing budding entrepreneurs a shot at building their own success, much as Sukanto Tanoto did in his time – and the CD programme has been hugely successful. Zamhur, a 72 year-old ex-civil servant, supplies wooden pallets to APRIL, and is thankful to the programme –without which he wouldn’t have been able to undertake the Haj Pilgrimage or send his children to college. Sulaiman, an ex-government contractor, now provides cocopeat to APRIL. Today, he employs 30 staff, many of whom earn a living wage far beyond what they were used to. Yet another success story is of Husni Thamrin, who started out with only his father’s old truck to provide waste transportation services. Today, his business is worth Rp 100 billion (USD 7.5 million). These examples, inspiring as they are, are testament to the success of Sukanto Tanoto’s vision.
Under this partnership with APRIL, entrepreneurs are provided with recommendations to banks – providing them with the capital needed for the purchase of resources, machinery, and labour. An entrepreneur who had his own break, today Sukanto Tanoto is paying it forward by helping others to source for the land, labour, and capital, while the next generation of success stories provide the enterprise. Adam Smith would be proud.