A Discussion With Procter & Gamble’s Chief Sustainability Officer: How Global Corporations Are Evolving Their Roles To Help Solve The Plastic Waste Crisis

July 13, 2023

For this Forbes article, Circulate Capital Founder and CEO Rob Kaplan interviewed Virginie Helias, Chief Sustainability Officer at Procter & Gamble, to discuss the evolution of partnerships to help solve the plastic waste crisis and how corporates can accelerate their impact through innovation, new commitments and greater cross-collaboration.

Read the full interview on Forbes


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Advance Market Commitments: Applying Climate Change Lessons To Fighting Plastic Pollution

May 23, 2023

In this column, Rob Kaplan discusses the concept of Advance Market Commitments (AMCs) and  how they could be a great innovation for the development of a circular economy for plastic waste.

Drawing on the Frontier initiative, an AMC (funded by big multinational corporates) that aims to accelerate the development of carbon removal technologies by guaranteeing future demand for them, Rob delves into how we might be able to accelerate our efforts to curb plastic pollution.

Just like in the carbon removal sector, there’s lots of uncertainty about long-term demand and unproven technologies when it comes to plastic waste. AMCs can send a strong and immediate demand signal without picking winning technologies at the start. In this column, you can learn more about Rob’s perspective on the challenges we are facing today to realize the vision of an AMC for plastics and why taking a key risk like ‘offtake’ off the table through an AMC could help bring in new capital commitments at scale to drive real systems change.
Continue reading the article on Forbes.com


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The Three L’s Of Setting Up An Impact Fund: Location, Location, Location

April 10, 2023

In this column,  Rob Kaplan delves into the importance of location when setting up an impact fund. Looking back at Circulate Capital’s decision to plant its roots in Singapore, he underscores the importance of a supportive impact ecosystem to encourage engagement and support business growth.

Rob specifically calls out how Temasek, the Singaporean state-owned investment company has played a central role in developing the narrative that there does not need to be a trade-off between impact and financial returns. Also, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has set ambitious green finance goals and is seeking to engage family offices on the urgency of climate change and the role they can play to catalyze private sector funding.

Continue reading the article on Forbes.com to learn more about how choosing the right location can help set up an impact fund for success


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Recycling works, and investors are waking up to its potential in high-growth Asian markets

March 17, 2023

This week, our non-profit partner The Circulate Initiative launched the world’s first tool to track the scale of investment into plastic circularity in emerging markets. This is a huge milestone for our industry; as access to data on plastic circularity deals grows, so too will confidence about investing in the sector.

And the data behind this tool is revealing:

  • From 2018 to 2022, 88% of private investments were allocated to downstream solutions such as recycling and recovery.
  • All of the top 10 deals in plastics circularity involved waste management or recycling companies, indicating a change of perception of the recycling industry. Investors are now recognizing the opportunity related to this well established and tested business model.
  • Asia is leading the charge in this trend, with 87% of cumulative investments since 2018 going towards Asian-based companies.

Of course, reducing the amount of plastic produced and disposed of requires a systemic shift. So beyond recycling, we must continue in parallel to drive capital towards more disruptive upstream solutions such as innovative materials and advanced recycling technologies.

As we celebrate Global Recycling Day, let’s recognize the significant progress we’ve made in the recycling industry and the potential for even more growth and innovation in the future. The tailwinds behind the circular economy are blowing stronger than ever, and investors who recognize the opportunities presented by recycling are well-positioned to capitalize on this trend.

Find this article on Rob Kaplan’s LinkedIn

Global plastics treaty will be empty words without policy to spur investment

January 17, 2023

The first meeting to commence negotiations on the Global Plastics Treaty ended in early December, with clear battle lines drawn between those advocating for a focus on global mandates versus country-specific voluntary commitments and not enough progress on important procedural issues.

But member states need not wait for consensus to begin tackling an even greater challenge: raising the capital needed to stop plastic pollution.

As negotiations continue, policymakers and all stakeholders need to urgently step up and ensure the stage is set for significantly more capital to flow into circular economy solutions.

Addressing the $1.2 trillion question

According to the recently released report by the World Economic Forum’s Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP) and our mission-aligned partner, The Circulate InitiativeUnlocking the Plastics Circular Economy: Case Studies on Investment, the transition to a circular economy will require an investment of $1.2 trillion and a significant shift away from business-as-usual.

Policymakers are needed more than ever to create the conditions for significantly more funding to be directed towards circular innovations and business models. From voluntary corporate commitments to supportive regulatory frameworks, there are powerful examples of how this can work in action:

  • Policies like Extended Producer Responsibility support a cohesive system for plastic circularity. Bolstered by the government’s Swaach Bharat (Clean India) mission, Recykal – India’s first waste-commerce platform – was able to secure $26 million in funding from domestic and international investors in just three years. Its digital marketplace further supports the investment case for the sector by allowing for greater standardization and reliability of plastic waste management transactions.
  • New financial instruments, such as blue loans, incentivize investment. Mechanisms such as tax credits and sustainability-linked corporate bonds can help to stimulate market development. For example, Indorama Ventures Ltd (IVL), the world’s largest producer of PET bottles, secured a $300 million blue loan financing package from three development finance institutions to support its plans to double its recycling capacity. This innovative financial instrument, marking the world’s first independently verified, non-sovereign blue loan,  fostered the development and acceptance of issuance guidelines for the emerging blue bond market.
  • Development of domestic capital markets to reduce or share risk. In Indonesia, this has already been demonstrated with the government’s green sukuk – which are compliant with Sharia or Islamic religious law – and Sustainable Development Goal-linked bonds that raise capital for infrastructure. By investing in waste management, national governments signal to the market that they recognize the breadth and urgency of the plastics problem and provide a model for further development of capital markets domestically and beyond.

The sector’s financing needs are immense, but they are attainable as more investors take notice of the opportunity for competitive returns. Further bolstered by commitments and action from the private sector, effective policy can help to drive capital to local enterprises that are advancing the circular supply chains needed to address plastic pollution and climate change.

Find the article on LinkedIn


Views From The Battlefield: Four Years Of Lessons On Investing To Build A Circular Economy For Plastic

January 17, 2023

With a climate crisis that is only more dire, we are evolving to meet the moment. Today we are laser focused on investing at the nexus of climate-tech and plastic waste.

Continue reading article by Rob Kaplan on Forbes.com


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A Region Of Extremes: Why Latin America And The Caribbean Is Primed For Solutions In The Plastic Circular Economy

December 7, 2022

Plastic pollution is a unique environmental crisis in that it is a global problem with local solutions. That means if we want to solve it, then we have to implement a multi-regional, multifaceted approach that accounts for the different challenges faced by different parts of the world. We have to drive capital to those local enterprises that can help build the local, regional and ultimately global recycling supply chains needed.

Continue reading article by Rob Kaplan on Forbes.com


Photograph of plastic and other waste in the sand of a beach

Why The Plastics Circular Economy Is The Next Greenfield For Climate Investors

November 30, 2022

The conclusion from COP27 is inescapable: it is “all hands-on deck” to fight climate change. Despite our best efforts, the United Nations says we are still careening towards disaster. The financial sector needs to step up.

Until now, investors have, understandably, focused on directing capital towards climate strategies focused largely on renewables. But a singular focus on energy transition alone won’t solve our climate crisis.

Continue reading article by Rob Kaplan on Forbes.com


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Time for us to move the needle on climate finance

November 23, 2022

After spending two days at the B20 and O20, it’s clear this year’s Group of 20 Summit came at a difficult time, in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, increased nationalism and heightened political tensions. Appropriately themed “Recover Together, Recover Stronger”, the underlying message is clear: We must mend our economies, planet and societies at the same time.

Continue reading Regula Schegg’s Op-Ed on The Jakarta Post

The Jakarta Post

If We Want A Global Treaty To Actually Prevent Plastic Pollution Give Companies And Investors Seats At The Table

September 22, 2022

I get it. If industry has caused so much of the plastic problem, how can we expect them – or even trust them – to be part of the solution? But I believe that if we finally want to achieve a global agreement on plastic pollution that actually ends plastic pollution, we have to give companies and investors seats at the table because public policy is most effective when designed with all stakeholders.

Continue reading article by Rob Kaplan on Forbes.com

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Asia’s shift to plastic recycling needs more capital

September 9, 2022

Region’s investors have opportunity to impact shift to sustainable economy

Calls for action to tackle the consequences of plastic pollution are growing rapidly, yet the amount of capital mobilized to address the issue has not been sufficient to make a significant dent.

Article by Rob Kaplan continued on NIKKEI Asia here.

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Latin America Investing: The Sleeping Giant For Turning The Plastic Waste Crisis Into An Opportunity To Fight Climate Change

September 1, 2022

Last month’s blistering new report by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was a sobering wake-up call for every human being. Climate change isn’t just real, the challenges are manifest and accelerating faster than most of us could have imagined. I recently wrote about how the issue that I focus on – investing in solutions that combat our global plastic waste crisis – is thoroughly intertwined with the climate crisis. And, just like the climate crisis, the tragedy of the plastic waste crisis is being felt in every corner of the globe.

Continue reading article by Rob Kaplan on Forbes.com

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