The Tanoto Foundation, a project of Indonesian-born entrepreneur Sukanto Tanoto and his family, strives to improve the well-being of people in Indonesia and elsewhere by funding scholarships, academic programs, research, and social services.
As part of its collaboration with The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Tanoto Foundation recently hosted a group of more than one dozen executive MBA candidates. In Indonesia, the students learned from Mr. Tanoto’s son, Anderson Tanoto, and others about the sustainable methods employed by his father’s RGE Group of natural resources-based manufacturing companies.
As part of their tour, the Wharton students learned of the ways in which Indonesian industry is becoming increasingly aware of the necessity of a long-term focus on sustainability. They saw firsth and how Sukanto Tanoto’s companies put environmentally sound forestry methods into practice in day-to-day operations. They visited Kerinci Central Nursery to learn about innovative seedling methodologies and leaf-cutting techniques and to see a pulp and paper mill in operation. They toured a plantation, part of Asian Agri’s operations, where they saw the benefits of forest sustainability practices that included integrated pest control and zero burning policies.
On top of the guided educational tour, the American students learned directly from members of local communities as they participated in a conversation that centered on the Tanoto Foundation’s role in infrastructure-building, empowerment efforts and best practices on sustainability. Even though there is language barrier between the participants and the local community, but with the help of a translator, this dialogue session really helps the participants get first hand experience about how the Tanoto Foundation’s works have helped communities. The cultural and language differences did not limit the learning opportunity but instead, increases the authenticity and bridged the gap between the two organisations and the two countries.
Sukanto Tanoto, who is himself an alumnus of The Wharton School, places an extensive emphasis on the value of education, both in his day-to-day business operations and as head of the Tanoto Foundation. Sukanto Tanoto, a self-made entrepreneur who started out in the plywood industry in the 1970s, has achieved success through a combination of hard work, dedication, and a respect for learning. A dedication to passing along knowledge from one generation to the next fuels Mr. Tanoto’s efforts through the foundation, as well as projects such as the partnership with The Wharton School.