Asia Symbol Promotes Cutting-Edge Products

Asia Symbol’s recent showcase of its paperboard product innovations earned praise from industry attendees.

A recent exhibition event held by Asia Symbol Pulp & Paper Co., Ltd., offered fellow industry professionals a close-up look at the company’s innovative packaging and containers. The 2014 Asia Symbol Showcase on Paperboard Products for Food Packaging demonstrated the company’s ingenuity and technological skill in building its liquid packaging board production line, as well as other initiatives.

One of the companies that makes up Indonesian businessman Sukanto Tanoto’s RGE Group of natural resources-based manufacturing firms, Asia Symbol has served as a leader in the pulp and paper industry in the Shandong and Guangdong provinces in China for close to a decade. Its plant in the city of Rizhao represents the largest single pulp production line in the world. Asia Symbol’s annual production capacity is set at more than one million tons of pulp product each year, and at hundreds of thousands of tons of paperboard and fine paper annually, with distribution in more than 20 countries.

At Asia Symbol’s exhibition, which took place at Rizhao’s Landbridge Jinjiang Hotel, corporate representatives from across China were able not only to admire new products, but to learn more about the company’s operations as well. Attendees took a trip to the site of Asia Symbol’s centralized control room servicing its mill, and visited its wastewater recycling location, wood chip dock, and the production line for its liquid packaging board. Company representatives provided additional insights through a question-and-answer session.

Event participants remarked on the cleanliness of Asia Symbol’s facility, and on the technologically advanced production methods in use at the plant. Additional comments focused on the company’s attention to maintaining high standards of environmental responsibility, which attendees believed could be used as benchmarks for the entire industry.

Asia Symbol’s liquid packaging board line, launched only three months before the showcase event, operates with a 300,000-ton yearly capacity. Its innovative, German-made processing machinery utilizes self-generated wet pulp, which increases efficiency, reduces waste, and results in a high-quality product made at a lower cost.

 

 

 

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New RAPP Program Works to Minimize Forest Fires

PT Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper, or RAPP, has initiated a new fire management program in the Pelalawan Regency of Riau Province, in cooperation with local government agencies that manage forest lands, enforce environmental protections, and deliver disaster response. RAPP selected four villages to participate in a pilot program to curb forest and land fires. Through this “Fire Care Village” program, a village that managed to avoid fires completely from July to September would be awarded a special bonus of 100 million Indonesian rupiah in assistance, the equivalent of more than $8,000 USD. Villages in which fires affected less than 1 hectare of land, and in which residents controlled the blaze within 24 hours, would receive 50 million rupiah.

RAPP, a subsidiary of APRIL (Asia Pacific Resources International Limited), is among the constituent companies of the RGE Group, the $15 billion corporation established by Indonesian entrepreneur Sukanto Tanoto. As such, RAPP takes its responsibilities as a corporate citizen seriously. Following Mr. Tanoto’s business philosophy based on keeping the needs of company, community, and the planet equally in mind, the APRIL concessions in Riau practice a zero-burn policy and strive to maintain compliance with all applicable regulations and environmental best practices. Innovating to find new ways of crisis management (in this way is forest fire) is also part of the important criteria of a successful entrepreneur.

RAPP’s Fire Care Village program came in response to extensive forest and land fires that occurred in Riau in the spring of 2014. The situation became so dire that the Indonesian government declared a state of emergency. RAPP executives noted local village residents might need added incentives to take an active role in fire management.

Forest Fire Management

International environmental organizations viewed the spring fires with concern. One group listed more than 3,000 verified fire alerts on Sumatra for the period from late February to mid-March. June through September is typically Indonesia’s dry season, and the country saw very few fires during the early spring of 2013. The spring 2014 figures are far higher than those during a June 2013 fire and haze crisis on the island. Experts believe that unusual drought conditions in Sumatra in the early part of 2014 contributed to the problem, with the majority of the fires occurring in Riau.

Environmental organizations admit difficulties in gathering accurate data on exactly which concession boundaries any particular fire has affected. The situation is a complex one, and the solutions will require better communication between government agencies and companies, as well as better monitoring systems on the ground. RAPP continues to look for ways to take a leading role in fighting this shared problem.

Doing Well While Doing Good

Apical’s Commitment to Forests Apical Group Ltd., one of Indonesia’s chief processors and exporters of palm oil, is part of the RGE Group established by entrepreneur Sukanto Tanoto. Under Mr. Tanoto’s leadership, Apical has worked to show the industry that ensuring the greater social good also benefits bottom-line profits. Every entrepreneur should also be aware of the interconnectedness between social good and bottom-line profits. In today’s context, doing well in the business is not enough – every company should strive towards both doing well and doing good.

In September 2014, Apical announced its support for the provisions of the New York Declaration on Forests, a document signed during the United Nations Climate Summit held that month. Among other means of engagement, the summit offered an opportunity for the international private sector to discuss and promote business-based strategies for combating climate change. The New York Declaration includes a goal of cutting deforestation in half by the year 2020 and completely eradicating it by 2030.

The measure drew expressions of agreement from a broad spectrum of business and government leaders, as well as from indigenous communities, who are affected the most by the problem. Some experts noted that the document attempts to encourage businesses to build environmental sustainability into their existing value chains, and to realize that doing so can increase profits as well. Some corporations, such as Sukanto Tanoto’s Apical, have already demonstrated their understanding of these principles. Mr. Tanoto’s three-fold philosophy of doing good for the company, communities, and the planet is the guiding principle of Apical and the other natural resources manufacturing firms within RGE Group.

Apical maintains a membership in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, and it is a founding member of the Business Council for Sustainable Development Singapore. The company’s history reflects its long-term focus on contributing to the social infrastructure of the communities in which it does business, and to pioneering solutions for food security and forest conservation. In addition, the company has pledged to monitor sustainability practices along its entire production and distribution chain.

RAPP Shows Off New Surveillance Quadricopter at Riau Expo 2014

At the 2014 Riau Expo trade and industry show, representatives of Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper demonstrated a safety-focused innovation. True entrepreneurship never runs away from constant innovation. RAPP always strive to innovate to create better products or processes that benefit the community, the country and the company.

Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP), part of APRIL, or Asia Pacific Resources International Limited, recently participated with a demonstration booth at the Riau Expo 2014. RAPP and APRIL, part of the $15 billion RGE Group under the direction of founder and CEO Sukanto Tanoto, are among Indonesia’s most well-known natural resources manufacturing companies.

At the expo, RAPP representatives demonstrated the capabilities of the quadricopter, a new remote-controlled, helicopter-like aircraft that the company aims to use to monitor remote plantation lands. This is an especially important mission in the more isolated parts of Riau, where fires can break out and spread if unchecked, increasing haze conditions in the broader region. RAPP and APRIL have made significant progress in addressing safety concerns from environmental groups and local communities through their careful monitoring of fires and haze formation throughout their concessions.

RAPP organizers also provided information to visiting high school students and other expo attendees about its other recent initiatives, its community involvement programs, and current trends in the wood pulp and paper industries.

The Riau Expo, an annual event held in the provincial capital of Pekanbaru, promotes trade, tourism, and industry throughout the province, and also showcases the arts and cultural expressions of the people of Riau. This year, every available booth space was purchased, making the event a rich display of local knowledge and entrepreneurship. The networking opportunities at the expo additionally served to further new business connections and innovations.

Deputy provincial governor H. Arsyadjuliandi Rahman officially opened the expo, which took place from September 21st to 27th and commemorated the 57th anniversary of the creation of Riau Province. Organizers invited not only companies from the private sector, but provincial, district, and city government agencies to participate.

RAPP Booth at Riau Expo 2014
RAPP Booth at Riau Expo 2014
RAPP Booth at Riau Expo 2014
RAPP Booth at Riau Expo 2014

Woodfibre LNG Agreement Answers Clean Energy Needs and Drives Jobs

According to Energy Information Administration (EIA), China is attempting to use more natural gas to reduce air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions, which are largely caused by coal and oil usage for energy. Underpinned by large investments in domestic gas production and infrastructure, along with growing imports, the Chinese government anticipates increasing its gas share of total energy consumption to around 8% by year end 2015 and to 10% by 2020. In 2012, natural gas accounted for only 4.9% of China’s total energy consumption.

In fact, besides China, it has become a global awareness to support the consumption and production of clean energy in order to ensure sustainability of resources. New entrepreneurs these days are also looking into clean energy innovations or coming up with business ideas that do good for the environment and profitable at the same time. Woodfibre LNG, a subsidiary of Pacific Oil & Gas, which is in turn part of the RGE Group of companies headed by Sukanto Tanoto, has recently signed an agreement with Chinese province of Guangdong, to support their demand for LNG for the next 25 years.

Near the end of September 2014, the Chinese province of Guangdong announced the opening of a trade office in Vancouver, Canada, that will serve as the first of its kind in that country. This move also coincides with the signing of a preliminary offtake agreement between Guangzhou Gas Group Co Ltd and Woodfibre LNG, a Singapore-based firm that plans to export liquefied natural gas from western Canada. Guangzhou is the capital and largest city in Guangdong Province.

Woodfibre LNG and Guangzhou Signing of MOU
Guangzhou Gas Group Co. Ltd. and Woodfibre LNG have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), outlining a long-term stable supply of natural gas to meet Guangzhou City’s gas demands starting in 2017 (targeted date).

British Columbia’s premier, Christy Clark (2nd row, 3rd from right), has supported both the increased Chinese trade presence in her province and her government’s developing relationship with Woodfibre. The Woodfibre-Guangzhou agreement highlights the growing strength of the Tanotos’ plans to establish an LNG export hub in the town of Squamish, near Vancouver.

The Woodfibre agreement with Guangzhou will cover close to one-half of the Singapore company’s planned yearly output of liquefied natural gas. The terms state that Woodfibre, currently working with the goal of starting operations in 2017, will provide Guangzhou with 1 million tonnes of natural gas per year for 25 years. China is the world’s third-largest importer of natural gas, and its urban areas along the coast account for much of its demand Click here for more information.

Woodfibre’s planned site, at the location of a defunct pulp mill, has optimal access to existing infrastructure such as industrial zoning, a deep-water port, a gas pipeline, and a functioning power grid. Company executives also point to the environmental benefits of the construction of a FortisBC gas pipeline partly through a pre-existing route. Clark, in turn, has extolled the LNG industry’s capacity to create new jobs in the province and Woodfibre estimates that its project in Squamish will create 500 jobs in construction and 100 full-time staff positions.

APRIL Responds to Opportunities and Challenges

One of the most important ability of an entrepreneur is adaptability – how do you react to opportunities and challenges? In today’s business world, there are factors that are changing all the time – from political changes, product changes, environmental changes and even changes in customers’ wants and needs. Being able to adapt alone is no longer enough because the time taken for a company to react tends to determine if the company is able to compete in the market. Thus, one needs to adapt and react FAST in order to remain as market leader. It is even better if there can be preventive measures taken to proactively address potential problems before they turn into a crisis.

Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), headquartered in Singapore, operates as a fiber, pulp, and paper manufacturer under the RGE Group of companies directed by founder Sukanto Tanoto. APRIL recently noted that if newly elected Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s administration is able to meet expectations for an expansion of the country’s infrastructure, he could assist in growing the capacity of the paper industry by as much as 20 percent by 2016. The boom coincides with an increased demand for pulp and paper products from China and other rapidly industrializing countries in Asia. By 2015 alone, many experts believe, the pulp and paper industry could grow as much as 5 percent.

While demand for paper products has been on the decline in North America and European nations, largely due to an increased use of online resources to store and disseminate information, the push from the Asian market is expected to swell total global demand by about 2.6 percent annually in the coming years.

Industry experts based in Indonesia have noted an oversupply in that country’s pulp and paper market, and have commented on the need for government assistance to keep the sector competitive. In 2013, the total amount of paper products manufactured reached 6 million tons, nearly half of which came from facilities owned by Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP), a subsidiary of APRIL.

In another recent development, non-governmental organizations have challenged APRIL and other pulp and fiber companies doing business in Indonesia’s Riau Province by claiming that fires set on company land had brought a smoky haze as far as Malaysia and Singapore. APRIL, which recently set up its APRIL Dialog website to provide greater operational transparency for the public, provided a detailed response.

Pointing to satellite images offered by the NGOs that purported to show the locations of numerous fires on APRIL concession lands, company executives noted that they found evidence for only a single fire detected in the specified time period. And that fire appeared to have originated within APRIL lands set aside for community use and not within the zones used for production.

A company spokesman also noted that APRIL, which maintains a strict “zero-burn” policy throughout its concessions, would have no logical reason to destroy the very natural resources essential to its operations. With a finite amount of land available for expansion, RAPP and APRIL understand that optimizing existing resources is key to corporate survival in a competitive market. And as a leader in its sector, RAPP has developed an understanding of its role in serving as a model of sustainable practices going forward.

And these, are just some of the ongoing changes in the industry that keep APRIL on their toes all the time.

Asian Agri Refuses to Source Illegal Palm Oil

As a successful entrepreneur owning large corporations, it is important to receive certifications from trustworthy third parties to ensure your credibility in quality and practices. It may not be an easy or fast process but it is a required step to ensure your accountability to the stakeholders. Asian Agri, one of the natural resources production companies under the direction of the RGE Group and its founder, Indonesian businessman Sukanto Tanoto, operates with a production capacity of 1 million tons of palm oil annually. Asian Agri, which is among the world’s largest manufacturers in its market sector, has committed its efforts to sourcing only legally obtained palm oil product. The company has recently placed an emphasis on requiring legal certification regarding the provenance of all freshly harvest fruit product from each third-party supplier and wholly independent farmer with whom it conducts transactions.

As part of its partnership with the local communities with whom it does business, Asian Agri has provided close to 29,000 smallholder families who farm its lands on Sumatra with a wide range of social and economic benefits. Of the company’s 160,000 hectares of total land area, some 60,000 are developed in cooperation with smallholding families who participate in its Plasma/KKPA programs. Mr. Tanoto remains highly engaged with the day-to-day operations of his companies and has charged each of them with maintaining a high level of transparency and responsiveness to their smallholders and to the public.

Legally harvested palm oil

Asian Agri has stepped up its focus on environmental good stewardship through increased attention to the problem of illegal palm oil entering the market. Through stringent attention to documenting that the produce it acquires is completely legal, the company hopes to build increased sustainability into the supply chain. Asian Agri also advocates for the closure of illegal palm oil plantations and for added efforts to protect forest land in the regions where it operates.

Illegal palm oil production and sales in Indonesia have created an economic system that will not be easy to eradicate. Several non-governmental organizations have expressed concern about the fact that some illegal palm oil continues to seep into the products of a number of high-profile manufacturers. Yet Asian Agri and several of its fellow palm oil producers plan to dedicate continued efforts to prevent deforestation, illicit land use, and environmental degradation.