By Justine Irish D. Tabile, Reporter

AJINOMOTO Philippines Corp. said the excise tax on single-use plastics will accelerate companies’ efforts to become more sustainable in their operations.

“Of course, it will have an effect on businesses; however, in order to accelerate the (sustainability) movement, imposing the taxes is one idea to (make) companies act (more sustainably),” Ajinomoto President Koichi Ozaki told BusinessWorld on Wednesday.

Mr. Ozaki said Ajinomoto hopes to replace the plastic packaging of its products in the coming years in favor of mono-material options, including paper packaging.

“We are already trying to replace some of our packaging with mono-material packaging. So, in the next few years, we want to replace all of the packaging material to the mono-material ones and some to be replaced by paper packaging,” said Mr. Ozaki.

“Through these efforts, we would be able to contribute to society,” he said. “We are okay with the excise tax because we have to (take part) this movement.”

At present, the company has paper packaging for the 45-gram variant of its Ajinomoto seasoning, which Mr. Ozaki said is used in more than 80% of Philippine households.

“We just launched the paper packaging last year. But year by year, we would like to also replace the other variants which are the 10 grams and 20 grams, among others,” he said.

At the Eat Well, Live Well Towards A Better Tomorrow event organized by Ajinomoto on Wednesday, it introduced its 2030 sustainability goals in four areas: greenhouse gas reduction, sustainable procurement, food loss and waste reduction, and net zero plastic waste.

The company said that it is aiming to hit net zero on plastic waste by 2030 through reducing the overall weight and volume of its plastic packaging, adopting alternative packaging, reducing secondary packaging materials and engaging in paper collection and disposal of generated plastic waste.

House Bill 4102 or the proposed Single-Use Plastic Bag Tax Act, seeks to impose an excise tax of P100 per kilogram on single-use plastic bags. Its counterpart measure is still pending at the Senate ways and means committee.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ozaki said that the company remains optimistic about the Philippine market because of the steady growth in the economy and population.

“For food companies, what is important is the number of stomachs which is continuously increasing here,” he said.