Sukanto Tanoto, the Indonesian businessman who built up the RGE Group from a small entrepreneurial endeavor to a $15 billion global corporate presence, now oversees a variety of natural resources-focused manufacturing companies. Asia Symbol Pulp & Paper Co., Ltd., established in 2005 and now operating in Shandong and Guangdong, China, has focused its business model on long-term survival amidst today’s economic challenges, and on increasing both profitability and environmental sustainability.
Asia Symbol’s yearly production capacity encompasses 450,000 tons of fine-grade paper, 170,000 tons of paper board stock, and a total of 1.5 million tons of wood pulp, which places it among the top companies driving economic development in China and Southeast Asia. In addition, Asia Symbol is the recipient of awards based on its environmental stewardship and energy conservation efforts.
China’s recent economic boom is well-illustrated by the International Monetary Fund’s October 2014 ranking showing it in first place among all nations in terms of its purchasing power parity. This marks the first time China has achieved this status. Yet for many other nations in the developing world, the economic gains made in the last decade or two have diminished after the global downturn of 2008. Asia Symbol has set its sights on business practices such as cost-cutting, strategic outsourcing of materials procurement and logistical operations, and intense research and development. With the leadership of Sukanto Tanoto, the company works with the goal of delivering as much profit as possible while at the same time exercising careful stewardship of the natural resources it uses.
Current challenges for Asia Symbol include dealing with a world trade imbalance between supply and demand, with production in its industry over-supplied to a declining market. Pulp and paper companies worldwide also have come to understand that they operate within economic and environmental systems, in which governments and citizens are increasingly demanding that they demonstrate sustainable practices. Asia Symbol is proud to note that the environmental investment throughout its first and second phases of a project encompasses close to one-quarter of the complete investment. The company supports tougher regulations and higher expectations of its industry, and is confident that it will be able to meet them.