A Letter to The Tanoto Professor of Diabetes Research

Prof. Karl Tryggvason, The Tanoto Professor of Diabetes Research, 

Prof. Patrick Casey, Vice Dean

Prof. Ranga Krishnan, Dean


Dear Sirs,

My deep sympathy with the haze and smog that covered across Singapore last week

As you know, the smoke comes from deliberate burning of forests and oil palm plantations in Sumatra.

One of the main company responsible for the fire is Royal Golden Eagle (RGE) and Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL)

You can read about the analysis from the World Research Institute website


The chairman of both companies is Mr. Sukanto Tanoto, your main donator.


I have noted with concern that you are accepting donation from Sukanto Tanoto with the Tanoto Professor of Diabetes Research at Duke-NUS.

As you know, Sukanto Tanoto is the chairman of APRIL (Asia Pacific Resources International Limited). APRIL is also a company which is known to be responsible for clearing massive areas of rainforest in the Indonesian province of Riau to create acacia plantations.APRIL is also draining large areas of peat bog. APRIL’s production methods are an ecological, social, and climatic catastrophe.


Every year Singapore received smoke from forest fires in Indonesia with  the worst level of air pollution and triggering a health warning. These fires came from the clearing and destruction of rain forests in Sumatra and Kalimantan. Part of these are caused by the plantation operations by Sukanto Tanoto’s companies.

The rainforest on Sumatra is a highly diverse ecosystem – if the forest dies, the native animals and plants will have no chance to survive. This development especially threatens the critically endangered Sumatran Tiger – the greatest threat to this animal is listed as “the loss of habitat through palm oil and acacia plantations.” In 2010, APRIL was banned from the FSC certification system as a consequence of its production methods.

Furthermore, the rainforest is home to agricultural communities that process products traditionally and sustainably. The plantations are threatening to drive these farmers from their land and destroy their livelihoods.

The peat bogs in particular are important natural carbon sinks. In destroying the bogs, massive quantities of stored greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. Due to the destruction of its rainforests, Indonesia is the third-largest CO2 emitter in the world. The acacia plantations created to manufacture PaperOne paper exacerbate the negative impact on our climate.

As a respected university, you should share responsibility for ensuring that the donation you accept does not come from operation that destroy the environment, causing global warming, and destruct the habitat of human and animals.

I emphatically request that you consider the donation, consequently setting a positive example of how universities can embody corporate responsibility, respect for human rights, and environmental protection.





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