Safeguarding the Plastic Recycling Value Chain: Insights from COVID-19 Impact in South and Southeast Asia,
a GA Circular study commissioned by Circulate Capital
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges faced by the plastics recycling industry in South and Southeast Asia. Now is the time to act to build a stronger, better industry for the long term and prevent an increase in plastic waste pollution.
Based on more than 100 interviews, this GA Circular study commissioned by Circulate Capital highlights six key COVID-19 impacts to the recycling value chain in India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines, along with a three-phase plan to prevent lasting damage to the sector, protect the environment and local communities’ livelihoods.
Circulate Capital is an investment management firm dedicated to financing innovation, companies, and infrastructure that prevent the flow of plastic waste into the world's ocean while advancing the circular economy.
Waste is an international crisis
There are an estimated 150 million tons of plastic in the ocean today and that number grows by approximately 8 million tons a year -- the equivalent to a garbage truck unloading every minute.
Research has found that most of that plastic enters the ocean from just five countries in South and Southeast Asia and that we could reduce the flow by as much as 50% by investing in waste and recycling management and even more if we invest in alternative materials and technologies.
Investors have a key role to play and it is time to act now. To unlock the capital needed from institutional investors to build circular supply chains and sustainable waste and recycling systems in South and Southeast Asia, catalytic capital needs to prove that investing in this sector is scalable and can generate competitive returns.
Identify, incubate and invest
At Circulate Capital, we identify, incubate, and invest in opportunities designed to intercept ocean plastic at the source by collecting, sorting, processing, and recycling waste in South and Southeast Asian countries. As a result, waste is diverted from the environment into the recycling value chain, furthering the circular economy.
Circulate Capital established the world’s first investment fund dedicated to preventing ocean plastic: Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF). CCOF is a new, blended financing mechanism, bringing together the public and private sectors to invest for maximum impact. It was created in partnership with leading corporations, PepsiCo, the first investor, Coca-Cola, Danone, Dow, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Chevron Phillips Chemical and backed by USAID.
Circulate Capital in the news
Catalyzing investment solutions to stop ocean plastic
On October 29, 2018 at Our Ocean in Bali, we proudly announced significant funding commitment to combat ocean plastic. Our founding investors include PepsiCo, the first investor, and Coca-Cola, Danone, Dow, Procter & Gamble and Unilever.
Circulate Capital evolved from the Closed Loop Ocean project, following the commitment 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 that prevent ocean plastic.
In early 2019, we established Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF) in Singapore to provide investment capital to scale local innovative companies or projects that divert waste from the environment and into the recycling value chain in South and Southeast Asian countries.
In June 2019, we announced a blended finance partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Through this agreement, USAID will provide up to a $35 million, 50% loan-portfolio guarantee through the Development Credit Authority (DCA) to incentivize private capital investment and new business development in the recycling value chain in South and Southeast Asia.
As preventing future ocean plastic requires a comprehensive approach that goes beyond providing investment capital to entrepreneurs, Circulate Capital launched The Circulate Initiative, a mission-aligned nonprofit organization whose goal is to provide the public, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and investors with the knowledge and skills they need to create and sustainably fund and operate plastic waste-reducing, inclusive, circular economies in emerging markets.
We thank our investors for empowering us to leverage their patient capital and technical know-how to build on-ramps for institutional capital at scale. Together, we will create, reimagine and realign the entire ecosystem that generates and remediates ocean plastic pollution, developing a circular economy whereby we can take used plastics and turn them into a new, reusable resource for future materials.
“Our goal is to catalyze the billions of dollars needed to solve the ocean plastic problem. The combined efforts of Circulate Capital, The Circulate Initiative and our partners will increase the quality and quantity of investable opportunities for all investors while also demonstrate that investments in ocean plastic solutions can deliver financial returns.”
- Rob Kaplan, Circulate Capital Founder & CEO