Circulate Capital Launches New Initiative with US$65M to Combat Plastic Pollution in Latin America and the Caribbean

May 23, 2023

IDB Lab, Builders Vision, Chevron Phillips Chemical, Danone, Dow, Mondelēz International, and Unilever Join Forces to Scale the Recycling Supply Chain Across Latin America and the Caribbean, Address Climate Change, and Improve Livelihoods

Mexico City – May 23, 2023 — Circulate Capital, a leading environmental impact investor advancing the circular economy for plastics in high-growth markets, announced today the launch of a new initiative to combat plastic pollution in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). IDB Lab, the innovation laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank Group,  Builders Vision, the impact platform founded by Lukas Walton, Chevron Phillips Chemical, Danone, Dow, Mondelēz International, and Unilever have joined forces to pledge a total of US$65M to help scale solutions and support best-in-class recycling businesses across the LAC region. The new LAC initiative will focus initially on Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico and soon expand across the region.

 As highlighted by the United Nations, growing economies across Latin America and the Caribbean have advanced faster than their waste management and recycling infrastructures. As a result, there is an opportunity to strengthen and scale the recycling value chain across the region. This joint initiative between Circulate Capital and its partners aims to:

  1. Scale companies with systemic solutions that rethink recycling supply chains, from collecting and sorting to processing and manufacturing;
  2. Mitigate climate change and environmental risks;
  3. Advance the circular economy for plastic; and
  4. Benefit local communities and create jobs.

Circulate Capital’s unique model leverages the networks and expertise of IDB Lab as well as CP Chem, Danone, Dow, Mondelēz International, and Unilever, who seek new solutions to help them meet their global sustainability commitments. Beyond financing, Circulate Capital and its partners provide mentoring and technical support to recycling companies to help them reach global quality standards and gain access to global supply chains.

“We have identified promising opportunities across Latin America that, if scaled, could turn the tide on the plastic waste crisis in the region,” said Rob Kaplan, CEO and Founder, Circulate Capital. “By applying the lessons and best practices from our years of work in South and Southeast Asia, we are confident that we can support solutions in Latin America’s high-growth markets to create circularity at scale. Our corporate partners will also play a critical, strategic role in helping best-in-class recyclers to connect with global supply chains, and we look forward to their collaboration.”

The new initiative is the culmination of more than two years of research by Circulate Capital’s team and partners to understand the potential solutions in the LAC region. Circulate Capital published the findings of this research in its recent report, ‘Reducing plastic pollution in Latin America: A Handbook for Action,’ which revealed that the LAC region is primed for businesses and the private sector to transform the plastic waste value chain.

The LAC initiative will leverage Circulate Capital’s experience operating in South and Southeast Asia (SSEA), where it built the largest recycling portfolio of the region, which includes 10 companies transforming the supply chains from collection to upcycling and digitization. 

“I’ve seen firsthand here on the ground in Latin America the cost of inaction to mitigate the plastic waste crisis in the region – but the problem is far from insurmountable. What’s driving our optimism for recovery and success in advancing the circular economy is that we have esteemed partners who acknowledge the critical situation and have committed to develop the local and regional solutions we need to reform our plastic waste value chain,” said Ernesto Hanhausen, Circulate Capital’s Partner for Latin America and the Caribbean. “Scaling the recycling supply chain across the LAC region will be an important way to fight climate change as well as enable the creation of safe and dignified jobs across the value chain.”

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Circulate Capital announces follow-on investment into Lucro as company closes the loop on flexible plastic packaging in India

July 27, 2022

Singapore, July 27, 2022 – Circulate Capital, the Singapore-based investment management firm financing high-growth opportunities at the nexus of climate-tech and plastics, recycling and the circular economy, today announced a follow-on investment in current portfolio company, Lucro Plastecycle Private Limited (Lucro). The additional capital is expected to allow the company to triple its capacity in order to meet the growing demand for its products.

Created in partnership with leading global corporations including PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Dow, Danone, Chanel, Unilever, The Coca-Cola Company, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC and Mondēlez International, Circulate Capital has committed to investing half of its US$112 million Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF I) into India, and today has the largest portfolio dedicated to fighting plastic pollution and advancing the circular economy in the country. The fund’s activities are complemented by the US$53 million Circulate Capital Ocean Fund I-B (CCOF I-B), which acts as a companion venture and private equity fund to CCOF I.

A homegrown Indian company, Lucro specializes in recycling difficult-to-manage post-consumer flexible plastic packaging and converting it into granules and high-value end products. The company’s trademark Plast-E-Cycle™ process sets new standards for the industry and helps to close the loop in plastic usage. It buys back and recycles end-of-life flexible plastic and films, which are then washed and converted into granules sold to converters or made into end products such as shrink wraps, polybags and other primary, secondary and tertiary packaging for various industrial applications.

Rapidly evolving into an innovative material sciences company, Lucro is as of today the first and only Indian company able to make customized single compounded granules and end products from this waste. Since Circulate Capital’s initial investment in March 2020, Lucro has made strides towards advancing the circular economy in India, increasing its capacity to process waste by more than tenfold with the opening of eight new collection centres across the country. The company is also working with municipalities on ground to collect post-consumer waste from direct sources, alongside waste pickers, helping to improve supply while enabling the informal sector to earn more. Additional funding from Circulate Capital will enable Lucro to triple its capacity, with the company projecting that it will recycle more than 315,000 tonnes of flexibles and rigid plastic waste by 2031 and expand employment and contract opportunities to over 1,000 individuals.

Rob Kaplan, Founder and CEO, Circulate Capital said, “We are proud of Lucro’s amazing growth over the past two years. They have demonstrated tremendous resilience through the pandemic and their success proves that the creation of financial and environmental value can go hand in hand. We are excited to support them as they expand their world-class operations to meet the growing demand for sustainable packaging solutions.”

“Circulate Capital’s additional investment is a strong endorsement that we are delivering on our vision of closing the loop on plastic packaging and becoming a leader in advanced recycled materials to support the global shift towards circularity. Their ongoing support will enable us to strengthen our capacity to meet the growing demand for post-consumer recycled (PCR) packaging and accelerate our impact across India’s waste management and recycling industry” said Ujwal Desai, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Lucro.

Over the past two years, Lucro has also cemented its position as a leading innovator in India’s recycling industry, implementing waste traceability software, “SATMA CE”, to bring transparency into the supply chain and increasing the market demand for new post-consumer recycled (PCR) packaging products through long-term agreements with top international brand names. In February 2021, Lucro and Circulate Capital’s founding investor, Dow, entered a memorandum of understanding to co-develop a PCR polyethylene film solution. This partnership embodies Circulate Capital’s vision of being a value-added investor by bringing the power of relationships to support product development and market access.

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Circulate Capital Achieves Third Close for Circulate Capital Ocean Fund I-B, Led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Proparco

July 27, 2022

Singapore, July 27, 2022 – Circulate Capital, the Singapore-based investment-management firm financing high-growth opportunities at the nexus of climate technology, plastic recycling, and the circular economy, announced today a third close for Circulate Capital Ocean Fund I-B (CCOF I-B), bringing the fund’s total commitments to US$53 million.

CCOF I-B’s latest close brings Circulate Capital’s total assets under management to US$165 million, making it the largest impact investment firm dedicated to fighting plastic pollution and advancing the circular economy in South and Southeast Asia. Alongside the firm’s US$112 million Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF I), the fund invests in companies across the plastic-recycling and waste-management value chains, as well as startups focused on early-stage disruptive innovation and technology aligned with Circulate Capital Disrupt, the firm’s climate tech strategy, such as new delivery models, advanced recycling technologies, and new alternatives to single-use plastic.

CCOF I-B’s support includes US$10 million from IFC, a member of the World Bank Group and the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets, and US$5.6 million from Proparco, a subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement (AFD) devoted to private-sector financing. IFC’s investment includes an equity commitment of US$5 million from the Finland-IFC Blended Finance for Climate Change Program.

We’re delighted to support Circulate Capital in its efforts to tackle the plastic-waste crisis in Asia,” said William Sonneborn, IFC’s Senior Director of Disruptive Technologies and Funds. “The fund will help address plastic pollution and climate change through critical investments in recycling, waste management, and innovations in alternate materials and advanced recycling technologies. It will also increase access to much-needed capital for the small and medium-sized enterprises delivering these important solutions.

Waste management and sustainable-plastic recycling have proven to be top priorities to invest in to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions,” said Diane Jegam, Proparco’s Regional Director for South Asia. “Proparco is proud to partner with Circulate Capital, whose significant track record and expertise on reduction of plastic waste leakage into the environment prepare them to maximize the impact of this fund.”

CCOF I-B is backed by a number of distinguished international private investors, including Align Impact, Builders Vision, Benjamin Duncan Group, DF Impact Capital, Eden Impact, Huang Chen Foundation, Jebsen & Jessen, Minderoo Foundation, Rumah Group, North-East Family Office, SK2 Fund, Twynam Investments, the Woodcock Foundation, and Neil Yeoh of OnePointFive. In April 2022, Circulate Capital announced an expected commitment to be made later this year by the European Investment Bank (EIB), which will invest up to US$20 million in CCOF I-B. In December 2021, Circulate Capital announced the US$25 million second close of CCOF I-B, which was followed by the June 2021 announcement of the CCOF I-B fund launch.

The firm has also recently achieved key milestones across its portfolio, including:

  • A follow-on co-investment by CCOF I-B and CCOF I in current Asia Recycling Supply Chain portfolio company Lucro Plastecycle Private Limited (Lucro), a homegrown Indian manufacturer that specializes in recycling difficult-to-manage flexible plastic packaging and is rapidly evolving into a material-sciences company.
  • Circ, the circular fashion company whose revolutionary technology returns clothes to the raw materials from which they were made, raised over US$30 million in Series B funding backed by some of the largest international apparel companies and venture capital firms, including Inditex, Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) and Circulate Capital.

The race to unlock the investment potential of the circular economy is heating up,” said Rob Kaplan, CEO and Founder, Circulate Capital. “With institutional investors like IFC and Proparco jumping in alongside global corporations, foundations, and family offices, and several of our portfolio companies achieving significant milestones, it’s clear that the time to invest in the circular economy is now. Taken together, these developments make the case that our blended finance approach has successfully created new market opportunities that generate significant impact and competitive financial returns, bringing us closer to our ambition to unlock one billion dollars to prevent 150 million tons of ocean plastic pollution by 2030.”

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The European Investment Bank Commits up to $20 million to Circulate Capital Ocean Fund I-B

April 26, 2022

Singapore, April 26, 2022 – Circulate Capital, the Singapore-based investment management firm financing high-growth opportunities at the nexus of climate-tech and plastics, recycling and the circular economy, announced today that the European Investment Bank (EIB) has committed up to $20 million to the Circulate Capital Ocean Fund I-B (CCOF I-B), which invests both into disruptive innovations aligned with Circulate Capital Disrupt (CCD), the firm’s climate-tech strategy, and into the South and Southeast Asia recycling value chain, alongside the firm’s $112m Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF I). CCOF I-B is targeting a total raise of USD$80 million and is therefore in consideration with other investors, as recently disclosed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

European Investment Bank’s Vice-President Ricardo Mourinho Félix, said: “Preserving the health of our oceans is key to tackle the climate challenges and preserve our economic prosperity. Through the EIB’s Climate Bank Roadmap and Clean and Sustainable Ocean Programme, we are committed to investing in climate action and environmental sustainability around the World. In particular, we want to support projects aiming at reducing pollution, by recycling and re-using plastics, so that we can ensure a better future for all. I am therefore very pleased to back initiatives that make this financially viable, such as the Circulate Capital Ocean Fund I-B.

The fund’s inaugural investments are innovators that implement solutions in the biotechnologies, sustainable fashion, and smart materials sectors as well as digitization of the recycling value chain to combat plastic waste and climate change. These enterprises include Arzeda, Circ, Phase Change Solutions, and Recykal – they represent some of today’s most cutting-edge innovations that are disrupting a cross-section of supply chains and have proven technologies and ambitions to expand in Asia where there is strong potential for financial, environmental, and social returns.

In order to advance the circular economy and mitigate the negative effects of plastic pollution on climate change, we need to scale investment dollars into this sector immediately. The European Investment Bank’s commitment to CCOF I-B is a key indicator that the sector is ready for institutional capital,” said Rob Kaplan, CEO and Founder, Circulate Capital. “We are grateful that our investors, including global corporations, family offices, foundations, and now institutions like the EIB who are working together to bring investible solutions that foster and advance climate resilience to market standards.”

In December 2021, Circulate Capital announced the $25m second close of CCOF I-B, which followed on the June 2021 announcement of the CCD strategy and CCOF I-B fund launch. CCOF I-B is backed by international private investors including Builders Vision; Benjamin Duncan Group; Circocean Ltd; DF Impact Capital; Eden Impact; Huang Chen Foundation; Minderoo Foundation; Rumah Group; North-East Family Office and Twynam Investments Ltd.

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Circulate Capital Invests in India’s Deluxe to Scale Recycling of Sachets and Multilayer Plastic Waste

April 5, 2022

Singapore, 5 April 2022 – Circulate Capital, the Singapore-based investment management firm that finances innovations, companies, and infrastructure to prevent ocean plastic and climate change by advancing the circular economy, today announced that the Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF I) is investing in Deluxe Recycling Private Limited (Deluxe). Deluxe is a leading Indian plastic recycling company that recycles challenging multilayer plastics (MLP), like sachets and Used-Beverage-Cartons (UBC) into new, valuable products, such as pallets and rickshaw seats. By creating a market for MLP waste, the company expects to divert 34,000 tons per annum of waste from incineration or landfills by 2025, helping pave the way to a circular economy in India.

Typically considered of no value and very difficult to recycle, MLP waste is one of the most polluting forms of plastic packaging and, if it is collected at all, is used for fuel, incineration, or co-processing at cement plants. Deluxe has developed a scalable ecosystem for the collection of MLP by working with and paying a network of aggregators and small material recovery facilities (MRF) to collect and sort MLP waste. The company then uses proprietary, in-house developed technology to manufacture a variety of heavy, rigid products. In 2020, the company recycled 7,100 tons of MLP, making it one of the largest organized MLP recyclers in India.

Investment from the Circulate Capital Ocean Fund will allow Deluxe to expand to three new facilities across western and southern India, increasing its capacity three-fold. The Circulate Capital Ocean Fund is the world’s first investment fund focused on ocean plastics in South and Southeast Asia, created in partnership with leading global corporations, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Dow, Danone, Chanel, Unilever, The Coca-Cola Company, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC and Mondēlez International. As Deluxe expands, its infrastructure can be leveraged to build a circular multilayer plastics market and accelerate the development of the sector as new technology is deployed.

Rob Kaplan, Founder and CEO of Circulate Capital, said, “Difficult-to-recycle plastics like sachets, food packing and plastic wrap have remained a global challenge in the waste management and recycling sector. Deluxe’s game-changing technology and entrepreneurial know-how has enabled the company to transform these multilayer plastics into valuable products at a scale not seen before in India. Deluxe currently supplies 90% of the recycled seat board market, which means nearly every rickshaw driver sits on a Deluxe-recycled seat. The dynamism and size of the Indian market present a huge opportunity for investment in the transition to a circular economy for plastics. Deluxe is firmly positioned at the forefront of this transformation and we’re proud to be supporting their growth.

The problem of plastic waste, especially MLP, is increasing in India, with the country generating 9.4 million tons of plastic waste annually. Only 60% of plastic waste is being collected, with 3.8 million tons leaking into the environment every year. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the circular economy development path in India could create an annual value of ₹14 lakh crore (US$218 billion) in 2030 and ₹40 lakh crore (US$624 billion) in 2050 in comparison to the current development scenario. It could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 44% along with significant reduction in air pollution, thus contributing to health and economic benefits for society.

Jignesh Shah, Co-founder of Deluxe said: “Our ultimate mission is to create value from waste, diverting it from incineration and landfill. We are proud to partner with Circulate Capital to scale our operations and our impact. At Deluxe, we see the potential to transform India’s MLP waste into a valuable mainstream raw material, incentivizing its collection and replacing the need to use virgin plastics.”

Since establishment, Deluxe has worked with external vendors and aggregators to provide training and development in effective waste segregation as well as offtake agreements, price premiums and better standard of living for formal and informal waste pickers. Deluxe currently employs 150 full-time employees and up to 140 contract laborers, ensuring appropriate employment arrangements and contributions to pension funds. Expansion is expected to provide employment opportunities for over 100 new recycling and waste management workers

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Srichakra Becomes the First Indian Recycling Company to Receive a Positive Safety Assessment from European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

March 10, 2022

Mumbai, March 10, 2022: Srichakra Polyplast (Srichakra), India’s first food-grade quality plastic recycling company announced today that its recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) has received a positive safety assessment from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The announcement comes as the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is set to approve the use of rPET for food packaging, reducing the need for virgin plastics and paving the way for a circular economy for plastics in India.

EFSA evaluates the safety of substances used in food contact materials (FCM) including active and intelligent materials. The verdict from EFSA is predicated on an in-depth assessment of processes, with a focus on the suitability of the finished polymer product for packaging purposes.

The use of rPET in FCM has been heavily restricted in several Asian regions including India until recently. The move by Indian authorities signals a policy shift that will enable bottle-to-bottle recycling and will help build local circular supply chains.

With the aim of reducing, reusing, and recycling plastic waste, the India Plastics Pact was launched in September 2021 to bring together businesses, governments and NGOs and accelerate the transformation of the plastic value chain. Srichakra’s certification is a part of this ongoing movement, showcasing the company’s commitment to turn plastic waste from a scourge into a valuable resource. Srichakra’s EFSA approval comes just months after the company announced an investment of more than US$10 million into its world-class technology to upgrade and expand recycling capabilities.

Ravindra Venkata, CEO and Co-founder of Srichakra, said, “As an organization, Srichakra is committed to offering the highest grade of recycled plastic to customers in India and international markets such as Europe and the United States. We are thrilled to receive EFSA’s positive scientific opinion which is considered as a global benchmark. We are well on our path to be the first facility in India to offer premium food-grade rPET to domestic and global markets. Moreover, FSSAI’s release of guidelines for acceptance of rPET for food applications in India is an exciting development and we are looking forward to contributing to building circular supply chains in India.”

Rob Kaplan, CEO and Founder of Circulate Capital which invested in Srichakra in December 2020, commented, “This is a tremendous achievement for Srichakra that underscores its leadership in accelerating the circular economy for plastics in India. Thanks to its technology-driven approach, the company is setting new benchmarks in the recycling and waste management industry nationwide. As a strategic investor in Srichakra through the Circulate Capital Ocean Fund, we are excited to support their growth journey.”

The Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF) is the world’s first investment fund dedicated to scaling organizations and SMEs transforming the waste management and recycling industry across South and Southeast Asia. The Fund was created in partnership with leading global corporations, including PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Dow, Danone, Chanel, Unilever, The Coca-Cola Company, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC and Mondēlez International. Srichakra is currently in conversations with multiple global fast-moving consumer goods companies regarding offtake agreements and expects to further increase capacity across its operations.

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Circulate Capital Commits to the 2X Challenge, Setting a New Standard for Gender Smart Investment in the Circular Economy for Plastics

March 3, 2022

Singapore, 3 March 2022: Circulate Capital, the emerging market investment management firm that finances innovations, companies and infrastructure that scale solutions to the plastic pollution and climate change crises, announced today it has qualified for the 2X Challenge, in recognition of its significant commitment to women’s economic empowerment. Circulate Capital’s nomination was sponsored by US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).

Founded by the development finance institutions (DFIs) of the G7 nations to shift more capital towards investments that empower women in developing countries, the 2X Challenge aims to deploy US$15 billion for gender-lens investment by the end of 2022, an ambitious new target set in 2021 after securing more than double its initial goal of US$3 billion.

Circulate Capital and CCOF qualified as a 2X Investment across three areas:

  • Leadership: Women represent 60% of Circulate Capital’s senior management, as well as 40% of the Investment Committee for CCOF.
  • Employment: More than 50% of the company’s workforce are women, and the company has implemented policies and programs to address barriers to women’s quality employment across recruitment, retention and career progression.
  • Investments: CCOF commits that, by the end of its investment period, at least 30% of its portfolio companies will be 2X Eligible Enterprises or 30% of its invested capital will be in 2X Eligible Enterprises.

Qualification as a 2X Eligible Enterprise requires organizations to be either women-owned or founded; have a minimum of 30% representation of women in board or senior management positions; or comprise a minimum of 30% of the workforce and institute policies to address barriers to employment.

The 2X qualification is the first milestone in Circulate Capital’s Gender Smart Investing Strategy, which has been developed with USAID via its INVEST mechanism – an initiative that mobilizes private capital for better, more sustainable development results. The Gender Smart Investing Strategy will drive performance of CCOF’s portfolio and aims to set the standard for gender-smart climate investing in emerging markets.

Circulate Capital is working with global impact investment advisory firms Sagana and Catalyst at Large to support CCOF’s portfolio companies in developing action plans to support gender awareness and inclusivity across their operations, including leadership and career progression, quality employment, and products and services that enhance women’s economic participation.

In addition, Circulate Capital will develop a guide to gender-responsive investing for the waste management and recycling sector. The guide will build on insights from Circulate Capital’s efforts to empower its portfolio companies to employ gender smart practices in their business operations and strategies, and will feature toolkits, case studies, and benchmarks for the wider sector.

Ellen Martin, Chief Impact Officer, Circulate Capital, said, “We know that inclusive investing is smart investing. Not only does having more women in decision-making positions result in better climate outcomes, but there is also a clear business case for making the waste management and recycling industry more inclusive. Circulate Capital is focused as much on improving livelihoods as it is on generating returns and solving the ocean plastic pollution issue.”

We’re proud to be recognized by the 2X Challenge for our efforts to date and excited to launch our Gender Smart Investment Strategy, a natural evolution of our investment philosophy. With CCOF poised to deploy at least $50 million in the next two years, the Gender Smart Investing Strategy aims to strengthen the performance of our portfolio while ensuring portfolio companies are attractive and safe places for all, including women, to work and thrive. Our goal is to shift gender smart investing practices to mainstream use among institutional and commercial investors.

There is an ever-growing body of evidence that identifies the benefits gender equality offers for economic development and addressing climate change. According to a McKinsey study, closing the gender labor gap could add $28 trillion, or 26%, to annual global GDP in 2025. In addition, research by BIS found that a 1 percentage point increase in the share of female managers has led to a 0.5 percent decrease in CO2 emissions across 2,000 listed companies in 24 industrialized economies over a 10-year period.

Suzanne Biegel, founder of Catalyst at Large and global leader in gender-smart investing, said, “Women have a critical role to play in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Women are innovators, leaders, entrepreneurs, workers and customers in climate-related fields, but they remain underrepresented in key decision-making positions and as users of capital. The 2X Challenge allows more capital to be directed to the organizations that are leading the charge in women’s empowerment in developing countries, which encompass those most at-risk from the effects of climate change. I’m pleased that Circulate Capital has been recognized as one of these leading organizations and look forward to working together to demonstrate how gender diversity supports business performance in partnership with its portfolio companies.

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Circulate Capital Invests in “Prevented Ocean Plastic Southeast Asia” to Expand Recycling Infrastructure and Prevent Plastic Pollution in Indonesia

January 11, 2022

Singapore, 11 January 2022: Circulate Capital, the Singapore-based investment management firm that finances innovations, companies, and infrastructure to prevent the flow of plastic waste into the world’s oceans and advance a carbon neutral circular economy, today announced that the Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF) is investing in Prevented Ocean Plastic Southeast Asia. This plastic waste collection and recycling company is pioneering and testing an innovative supply chain model for the management of plastic waste.

A unique partnership between PT Polindo Utama (Polindo), Bantam Materials Ltd (Bantam Materials) and Circulate Capital, Prevented Ocean Plastic Southeast Asia commits to strategically expand recycling infrastructure to underserved communities across Indonesia to prevent plastic leakage and support local livelihoods.

The company’s ambition is to develop a scalable and sustainable model that sets the standard for industry best practice in Southeast Asia by leveraging:

  • Polindo’s 20 years of experience on the ground in establishing and managing plastic collection and aggregation infrastructure;
  • Bantam Materials’ access to premium markets and expertise in governance and traceability via its proven Prevented Ocean Plastic program; and

Circulate Capital’s strategic investment and expertise in scaling innovation and driving growth. With more than 124 million people – 45 percent of Indonesia’s population – living outside of the country’s economic centre in Java, and with more than 17,000 islands, it’s generally too expensive and difficult to collect waste from islands outside of the main population centers. The investment from CCOF will fund a network of 12 new high-volume collection centres and three new aggregation centres to be established in select coastal communities in need across Indonesia, with a particular emphasis on Kalimantan and Sulawesi islands.

Prevented Ocean Plastic Southeast Asia will combine the unique strengths of each partner to deliver localized infrastructure providing certified and traceable premium quality recycled plastic to global markets, driving environmental, social and economic value from the bottle collector to the end consumer. Its model aims at streamlining logistics processes and enabling the pooling of collection volumes to maximize efficiency and reduce costs. Furthermore, the centres will be underpinned by the Prevented Ocean Plastic program’s market-leading collection and recycling process. Prevented Ocean Plastic Southeast Asia will produce traceable recycled PET (rPET) that complies with international standards and is trusted by global brands.

Over a 10-year period, the venture estimates it will help prevent 400,000 tonnes of plastic from entering the ocean, avoiding 800 000 tonnes of GHG emissions while also creating 1,000 direct jobs and supporting new income opportunities for thousands of bottle collectors.

The reality of trying to collect plastic waste across 17,000 islands has compounded the plastic pollution crisis in Indonesia — there are just too many logistical challenges and complexities within the recycling value chain,” explained Rob Kaplan, Founder and CEO, Circulate Capital. “We are excited to invest with Prevented Ocean Plastic Southeast Asia to build a unique network of collection and value-addition to efficiently address those challenges and meet the ready offtake market for high quality and traceable recycled plastic. This project has the potential to be a blueprint for best-in-class recycling and circular economy infrastructure across Southeast Asia.

Indonesia’s rapid population growth and economic development is contributing to an exponential increase in plastic consumption. While the plastic waste management and recycling systems in the major wastesheds of Jakarta and Surabaya on Java Island are relatively established, smaller cities in Java and other islands across Indonesia lack efficient collection and recycling infrastructure, resulting in high levels of plastic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. 72 percent of Indonesia’s total plastic pollution originates in rural regions and small-to medium-sized cities, yet collection rates in rural and remote regions are only 20 percent or less .

Commenting on the announcement, Daniel Law, CEO, Polindo, said, “We are proud to take our long-term partnership with Bantam Materials to the next level thanks to Circulate Capital’s support. This partnership will enable us to develop waste collection infrastructure to meet the growing demand for traceable plastic while also supporting in need communities outside of Java. We believe there is an opportunity to overcome and optimize the complex collection and sorting logistics in remote areas of Indonesia, and in doing so, deliver better income opportunities and incentive models that help mobilize informal waste collection and reduce the plastic that enters the ocean.”

Raffi Schieir, Director of Bantam Materials UK, said, “Prevented Ocean Plastic Southeast Asia has the opportunity to deliver substantial impact for in need communities across Indonesia who have never had access to recycling infrastructure. There is already an increasing global demand for high-quality, traceable plastic as governments in Europe and international markets mandate the use of recycled plastic in packaging and products. By developing this infrastructure in line with the international quality and governance standards and following the fully traceable and trusted Prevented Ocean Plastic programme, we can lead the charge to transform Indonesia’s plastic waste management industry, prevent ocean plastic at scale and foster greater social and financial inclusion.”

Prior to receiving funding, the Prevented Ocean Plastic program established a flagship collection centre in Bali to trial the business model. To date, the centre has delivered benefits through job creation, plastic collection at scale and improved livelihoods of the waste workers and their community.

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Circulate Capital Increases its Commitment to Indonesia Plastic Pollution Prevention with New Investment into Reciki

December 14, 2021

Singapore, 14 December 2021: Circulate Capital, the Singapore-based investment management firm that finances innovations, companies, and infrastructure to prevent ocean plastic and climate change by advancing the circular economy, today announced that the Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF) is investing in Reciki Solusi Indonesia (Reciki), one of Indonesia’s leading privately-owned waste management companies.

Established in 2019 as a home-grown solution to waste management that meets specific needs of Indonesian cities, Reciki’s vision is to achieve a zero-waste-to-landfill ambition through its industry-leading material recovery facilities (MRFs). Reciki sorts waste collected from household and commercial businesses, and recovers recyclable materials, including plastic, for the recycling value chain. Reciki’s success is based on its ability to tailor to the needs of local municipalities and enable higher levels of recovery. Thanks to the support of its pioneer partner, Danone AQUA, the company currently operates two MRFs, one in Lamongan (East Java) and another one in Badung (Bali).

Addressing the inefficiencies and capacity constraints of local landfills, Reciki’s model offers the potential for significantly increasing the volumes of waste recycled. Moreover, Reciki’s model is uniquely scalable for Indonesia, where a templated model cannot adequately address the specificities of individual cities. Reciki fully tailors its approach in individual cities to develop targeted sorting and distribution solutions that take into account details such as waste characterization, existing infrastructure and household profiles.

Through the investment made by CCOF, Reciki plans to set up several more facilities across Indonesia, with the ambition to process more than 1,000 tonnes of waste per day. This will replicate Reciki’s highly efficient system that processes at least six times more waste than similar services on the market in 2020. Furthermore, Reciki’s expansion is expected to support the creation of over 400 safe, stable, and dignified jobs within the formal sector, paving the way for the formalization of informal sector workers.

Rob Kaplan, Founder and CEO from Circulate Capital, said, “We believe Reciki will drive real impact and help Indonesia achieve its leadership ambition in plastic pollution prevention. Reciki’s fit-for-purpose model, which allows for greater and faster processing of waste, has the potential to significantly scale the recovery and recycling of plastics nationally. In partnership with the Reciki team and Danone AQUA, our co-investor, we believe Reciki can put our capital to work and accelerate becoming a best-in-class solution provider for many cities across Indonesia.

And, we look forward to opportunities for our network of investors in CCOF, which include PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Dow, Danone, Chanel, Unilever, The Coca-Cola Company, Chevron Phillips Chemical and Mondelēz International, to provide Reciki with technical and procurement expertise, as well as access to a global supply chain for even greater impact on the circular economy for plastics.”

Currently, 36% of all plastic waste is managed by open burning, which contributes to 91% of the country’s total carbon footprint of plastic waste. The funding will help Reciki to expand its current 1 capacity and achieve strong environmental impact, which could result in the prevention of 400,000 tonnes of plastic pollution leakage, avoiding over 700,000 tonnes CO2e greenhouse gas emissions and managing almost 3 million tonnes of waste over a 10-year period.

Reciki’s model maximizes resources by working closely with local collection partners, resulting in cost reduction and retention of local players and jobs. It recovers and distributes almost all materials: high-value plastics, low-value plastics, organic waste and other recyclables, to achieve effective management of waste streams that advance plastics circularity.

Bhima Aries Diyanto, CEO and Founder, Reciki, said, “We look forward to partnering with Circulate Capital to grow and scale our operations to meet the urgent demand for effective, environmentally-friendly waste management. We believe our bespoke solution can transform Indonesia’s waste management industry, alleviate the country’s plastic pollution crisis, and deliver greater value from used materials — in a way that empowers local communities to be part of the solution.

The loan made to Reciki is partially backed by the United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), further de-risking the investment and demonstrating blended finance in action.

According to DFC Vice President of Development Credit, Jim Polan, “Circulate Capital Ocean Fund’s investment in Reciki is precisely the type of private investment that the DFC is interested in catalyzing. Our partnership with the Ocean Fund allows Reciki to demonstrate the profitability of a scalable business model that benefits both the environment and the economy in Indonesia and beyond. This investment will create almost 400 safe and stable jobs while at the same time preventing plastic waste from reaching the ocean and avoiding carbon emissions into the atmosphere.”

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Circulate Capital Invests in ACE Green Recycling to Leverage Clean Battery Recycling Technology and Build Circular Plastic Market

December 8, 2021

Singapore, December 8, 2021: Circulate Capital, the Singapore-based investment management firm that finances innovations, companies, and infrastructure to prevent ocean plastic and climate change and advance the circular economy, today announced that the Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF) has invested in ACE Green Recycling, a pioneering clean tech firm specializing in battery recycling.

ACE Green Recycling is a global battery recycling technology company that has built the world’s only commercialized recycling process for used lead acid batteries (ULAB) that releases no greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Batteries are found in all automobiles, renewable energy storage and telecom applications and are one of the most recycled items globally.

ACE’s proprietary technology can recycle ULAB at room temperature in place of very high temperature conventional smelting, is more cost efficient, releases zero GHG emissions, reduces solid waste by 80%, and mitigates toxic lead pollution.

As all ULABs are contained in polypropylene (PP) cases, ACE’s world-class solution prevents plastic leakage by formalizing the closed-loop recycling process and fully recovering the PP casings to produce new batteries. ACE expects to collect and recycle more than 36,000 tonnes of PP by 2026, thus advancing plastics circularity.

The investment by CCOF will accelerate the development of PP recycling markets by leveraging ACE’s infrastructure and expanding PP recycling beyond battery sources to target packaging and post-consumer waste streams.

Rob Kaplan, Founder and CEO of Circulate Capital, said, “Car batteries are a hidden contributor to plastic pollution as so many are recycled in ways where the plastic cases are burned, dumped or informally recycled, posing serious environmental and health costs to local communities. With this investment, we hope to accelerate the deployment of ACE’s technology and strong supply chain expertise across Southeast Asia to advance the polypropylene recycling market and disrupt the soon-to-be US$ 40 billion battery recycling industry while creating financial, environmental and social value”.

For Circulate Capital, we are excited to work with ACE to expand its recycling capabilities to tackle non-battery, post-consumer sources of PP waste, a massively underdeveloped opportunity in Southeast Asia. ACE will explore leveraging its infrastructure to process around 1,500 tonnes of post-consumer PP packaging a year from third parties and increase this gradually to 6,000 tonnes a year over the next three to four years.”

The company is looking to rapidly scale its business by setting up 10-15 new recycling facilities, licensing improved technology to existing players, and partnering with them worldwide, including in Southeast Asia. This expansion is expected to increase ACE’s total battery processing capacity to 0.5 million tonnes in five years.

Over a 10-year period, the venture aims to prevent around 300,000 tonnes of plastic from entering the ocean, while also creating 1000 new jobs and reducing pollution from conventional smelting processes.

Looking into the future, where global electrification initiatives are ramping up demand and usage of batteries, ACE aims to be at the forefront of making this drive climate positive. The company is also setting up a commercial-pilot facility to recycle lithium-ion batteries utilizing a low temperature hydrometallurgy technology.

Nishchay Chadha, CEO and Founder, ACE Green Recycling, said, “We are proud to partner with Circulate Capital to bring our best-in-class battery recycling and supply chain solutions to commercial scale, and establish ourselves as a global battery recycling player. As our battery recycling infrastructure enables complementary plastic recycling, we are confident that, with Circulate Capital’s help, we can optimize our process, and expand our networks and expertise to further advance the recycling plastics market. We aim to substantially contribute to making battery recycling sustainable and preventing dangerous pollution to local communities.

Vipin Tyagi, CTO and Co-Founder, ACE Green Recycling said, “ACE has disrupted the lead recycling industry via electrification of lead metal extraction from ULABs and is rapidly progressing to solve the lithium-ion battery recycling issues. Our technology is a game changer which presents an incredible opportunity for the recycling industry to economically recycle batteries without causing environmental damage – with Circulate Capital’s support we are poised to capture this opportunity.”

Beyond preventing carbon emissions and advancing the circular economy for plastics and battery metals, ACE Green Recycling’s proprietary battery recycling technology expects to prevent more than 300,000 tonnes of lead-containing slag from entering landfills each year by 2026. Circulate Capital was created in collaboration with Ocean Conservancy, and its founding investors include PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Dow, Danone, Chanel, Unilever, The Coca-Cola Company, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, and Mondelēz International

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Circulate Capital Announces Second Close for Climate Tech Fund and  Inaugural Investments in Three US-based Tech Innovators

December 7, 2021

Singapore, December 7, 2021: Circulate Capital, the Singapore-based investment management firm financing high-growth opportunities at the nexus of climate-tech and plastics, recycling and the circular economy, announced today a second close of its climate tech fund, Circulate Capital Disrupt (CCD), bringing the strategy’s total AUM to $25 million. The firm also announced it has made three inaugural investments for CCD in U.S.-based innovators that implement solutions in the sustainable fashion, biotechnologies and smart materials sectors to combat plastic waste and climate change, while accelerating the transition towards a circular economy.

In June 2021, Circulate Capital announced a first close of CCD, a companion strategy to the $106 million Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF I), to invest in targeted innovations in materials and deep technology solutions to advance the circular economy. CCD also participates in select, high-growth investment opportunities via CCOF I across the recycling value chain in South and Southeast Asia that prevent plastic pollution and have a climate impact. CCD is backed by international private investors including Builders Vision; Benjamin Duncan Group (UHNW Family Office); Circocean Ltd; DF Impact Capital; Eden Impact; Huang Chen Foundation; Minderoo Foundation; Rumah Group and Twynam Investments Ltd.

CCD’s first investments — Arzeda, Circ (pre-B round), and Phase Change Solutions—represent some of today’s most cutting-edge innovations that are disrupting a cross-section of supply chains and have proven technologies and ambitions to expand into Asia where there is strong potential for financial, environmental, and social returns. The companies are:

  • Arzeda – the Washington-based industry-leading Protein Design Company™ that revolutionizes protein engineering through computational biology methods to develop the materials of tomorrow, including sustainable monomers. Arzeda combines physics-based computational protein design, machine learning and lab automation to expand the reach of biotechnology. Its proteins can produce new bio-based chemistry to develop sustainable products for the textiles, food & nutrition, and pharma industries globally. Arzeda for instance recently partnered with Unilever to design new enzymes with superior sustainability and performance benefits for cleaning and laundry products.
  • Circ – a Virginia-based advanced recycling technology innovator with patented technology that returns clothes to the raw materials from which they were made. Circ’s technology is uniquely capable of separating and recovering mixed-textiles, specifically any blend of polyester and cotton, which accounts for most fabrics manufactured. Circ is reducing the need and demand for natural resources and building a truly circular textile economy for the fashion industry.
  • Phase Change Solutions – a North Carolina-based global leader in manufacturing bio-based phase change materials that stabilize temperatures across a wide range of applications. These temperature control and energy-efficient solutions have lower carbon footprints and more circular end-of-use fates than petroleum-based competitors. Customers across transportation of perishables and pharmaceuticals, cold chains, buildings and structures, and data centers – use BioPCM® to maintain optimum temperatures, reduce food and packaging waste, save energy, and reach their sustainability goals.

Our first three investments for Circulate Capital Disrupt are all at the forefront of climate tech and circular innovation. They offer unique, scalable and disruptive technologies transforming the global plastics and recycling supply chain while offering the potential for competitive financial returns,” said Rob Kaplan, CEO and Founder, Circulate Capital. “Ultimately, this will help us accelerate the development of a circular economy for plastic waste globally, with a focus in emerging markets like South and Southeast Asia where most of the plastic waste leaks into the world’s oceans.

COP26 and the most recent United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report underscored the urgency for moving capital towards solutions that can help mitigate the devastating effects from climate change. By catalyzing more capital to scale solutions at the nexus of climate tech and circular plastics, we are seeking to put investment dollars to work to alleviate the ‘code-red status’ of our planet and stem the tide of the global plastic and climate crises,” Kaplan added.

Last month, Circulate Capital added Mondelez International as an LP for their Circulate Capital Ocean Fund. The announcement can be found here.

Circulate Capital Disrupt leverages the power of the Circulate Capital Ocean Fund – including impact measurement and inclusion of a gender lens. RPCK Rastegar Panchal served as legal counsel to the investments announced today by Circulate Capital.

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Mondelez International Invests in Circulate Capital’s Ocean Fund to Advance Global Efforts in Plastic Waste Collection and Recycling

November 11, 2021

Mondelēz International, Inc. (Nasdaq: MDLZ) today advanced its commitment to helping create a circular economy for plastic by joining Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF) as a limited partner and making an investment in CCOF supporting scalable business solutions to help develop infrastructure for the collecting, sorting and recycling of plastic waste, including flexible films. The goal of this investment, which is part of Mondelēz International’s Sustainable Futures impact investing platform, is to enhance focus on the physical collection of flexible films – lightweight, multi-layer plastics used by the snacking industry – that have traditionally been more difficult to collect, sort, recycle and ultimately reuse.

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