Learn more about our impact achievements to date
Circulate Capital's 2030 Impact Projections
Projections based on extending current CCOF portfolio to full fund, as of January 2021.
Our Impact in One Year
Founder & CEO
When Circulate Capital launched in October 2018, the problem of ocean plastics had skyrocketed from a blip on the radar to a top priority for CEOs, prime ministers, and consumers around the world. Today, just a few short years later, the global COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the world and society’s collective priorities. Nevertheless, underlying issues like plastic pollution and climate change have not disappeared, and in many cases have become worse.
In South and Southeast Asia, for example, the circular plastics value chain has been disrupted while plastic pollution has likely soared. We will need many, many billions of dollars to solve the ocean plastic problem, and it is clear that we will only unlock that scale of capital when we stop thinking about the issue as just an environmental crisis and instead recognize it as a tremendous investment opportunity to drive financial returns, economic development, and recovery as we restart the global economy.
At the outset, Circulate Capital committed to invest in companies, innovations, and projects that would prevent plastic from leaking into the environment. We aimed to demonstrate the power of catalytic capital to turn plastic waste from a scourge into a resource by bringing infrastructure and corporate supply chains together to advance a circular economy, which research suggests could reduce plastic leakage by 45 percent.
To turn that commitment into action, we launched the Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF) to invest in solutions in South and Southeast Asia with more than US$100M committed by our corporate partners blended with a US$35M loan guarantee by the U.S International Development Finance Corporation in collaboration with USAID.
Our Story to Date
Vision for Impact
By investing in soutions, we can set a course for a more inclusive, circular economy and stop the flow of plastic into the ocean.
Generating returns on investment, as well as creating positive impact on sustainable development, climate, and livelihoods, are at the core of Circulate Capital’s founding ethos.
These values guide our investment decisions, providing the framework to embed environmental, social and governance principles in our investments and inform how we interact with co-investors and other stakeholders. It is our belief that creating impact at scale requires a holistic strategy that addresses the value chain and broader ecosystem.
The Circulate Capital Ocean Fund achieves positive financial, environmental, and social impact while catalyzing capital through:
Reducing plastic leakage in the environment and the ocean;
Proving circular business models which help shift us away from a linear economy;
Improving livelihoods by creating and formalizing local jobs; and,
Building climate resilience and sustainably managing our limited natural resources.
We recognized early on that we could not wait for the formalization of generally accepted principles for investors to measure impact in this space and that our investments might be some of the first attempting to trial such ideas.
We believe our approach to measuring impact is some of the leading practical applications of thinking in this space and aim to share our approach as widely as possible so others can learn alongside us and help us improve.
CCOF’s impact framework has been informed by our participation in GIIN IRIS+ Navigating Impact Project (especially Climate Change Mitigation and Quality Jobs impact themes) and The Circulate Initiative’s Impact Metrics Working Group.
Through the Impact Metrics Working Group, we share insights and perspectives with more than 20 representatives from leading organizations, including the Asian Development Bank, Danone Ecosystem Fund, Encourage Capital, IUCN, MorganStanley, Ocean Conservancy, SecondMuse, Arizona State University, University of Georgia, University of Toronto, USAID Clean Cities Blue Ocean, WIEGO, WWF, Alliance to End Plastic Waste, McKinsey.org, as well as individual contributors.
Our Objectives and Key Indicators
Plastic pollution leakage prevented
GHG emissions reduced or avoided
All waste avoided, reduced, recycled or managed
Viable Business Models
World-class operations in portfolio
New infrastructure capacity created
Value-added end markets created for plastics
Tangible, direct benefit to cities
Creation of safe, stable and dignified work in the waste and recycling sector
Equitable opportunities for workers in the waste and recycling sector
Stories from the Portfolio
By the end of 2021, we expect our portfolio to expand with a greater balance of investments in Indonesia and Southeast Asia.
We also anticipate new opportunities to deepen our footprint in India, integrate innovative advanced technologies into infrastructure, and explore scale and replication in other emerging markets.
As the world recovers from COVID-19, we expect consumption to increase. Innovative materials and business models that could counter this trend are still woefully undercapitalized and sub-scale, which means the amount of waste generated will increase as well. Without sufficient infrastructure to manage materials in more sustainable patterns of consumption and production, we see an even greater need for circular business models.
Demand for post-consumer recycled plastics is at an all time high, yet logistical challenges and lack of access to capital threaten to prevent us from taking advantage of this opportunity
Since Circulate Capital’s launch in 2019, we have seen interest from corporations, institutional investors, development finance institutions, multilateral development banks, and private philanthropy increase. But a gap in financing circular infrastructure in emerging markets remains.
In the coming year, we hope to see continued momentum by a range of actors to invest in South and Southeast Asia.
In 2020, Circulate Capital commissioned a study on the climate benefits of investing in recycling, focused on PET, PE and PP in India and Indonesia. This research highlighted the significant relationship between preventing ocean plastics and mitigating climate change.
As climate finance becomes more mainstream globally, we expect to see greater recognition of the role that plastic leakage prevention plays in contributing to climate goals.