Closed Loop launches fund to back firms trying to keep the ocean plastic free

Plastic strewn on a beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Photo: Unsplash

Impact investor Closed Loop Partners has announced the launch of a new investment fund, Circulate Capital, to invest in companies, projects, and innovations that seek to prevent ocean plastic in South and Southeast Asia.

In a press release, Closed Loop said it has partnered with Ocean Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental advocacy organisation working to protect the world’s ocean, to launch the fund that aims to stop plastic from leaking into the ocean.

Circulate Capital is also supported by intergovernmental organizations, associations and many of the world’s largest consumer product goods and chemical companies, including 3M, American Chemistry Council, The Coca-Cola Company, Kimberly-Clark, Dow, PepsiCo, Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), Procter & Gamble, and the World Plastics Council.

The new fund was set up out of the “Closed Loop Ocean” project, following commitments made by Closed Loop Partners, Ocean Conservancy, and a number of corporate partners at the Our Ocean Summit in Malta in October 2017 to create financing vehicles focused on preventing plastic from flowing into the ocean.

Scientists estimate that more than half of the 8 million metric tons of plastic that flow into the ocean every year comes from developing countries in the region, where waste management has lagged behind rapid economic growth.

“Circulate Capital seeks to fill capital gaps and prove the investment market by financing opportunities that collect, sort, process, and manufacture using waste in areas known to contribute to the ocean plastic crisis,” said Rob Kaplan, founder and CEO of Circulate Capital.

“Our goal is to remove capital as a barrier”.

Immediately after the launch, Circulate Capital announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) process to solicit applications for financing for companies and projects from qualifying entrepreneurs from South and Southeast Asia, with the goal of selecting the first recipients by early 2019.

“South and Southeast Asian countries produce the most plastic waste, but largely because they lack the necessary waste infrastructure to manage the problem. Financing innovative, local companies that are working to address the challenge is a critical step to reducing the flow of ocean plastics and also key to improving economic development and public health outcomes,” Kaplan said.

Closed Loop Partners invests in sustainable consumer goods, advanced recycling technologies and the development of the circular economy.

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