A Fund Manager Is Using Big Plastic’s Money to Stop Ocean Trash


For some money managers, closing a $100 million fund would be akin to reeling in a big fish. For Rob Kaplan, it’s just the bait. Kaplan, a former Walmart Inc. executive, plans to invest the $106 million he’s raised from some of the world’s biggest plastics makers in companies that promise to prevent trash from ending up in the oceans.

Targets include waste and chemicals recycling firms, and Kaplan hopes the private equity-style investments will one day yield double-digit returns -- the sort that could entice heavyweight institutional investors and pension funds to plow in money of their own.

“The impact we need to create takes many billions of dollars, not just the $100 million we’ve been able to raise,” Kaplan said in an interview in Singapore, where his Circulate Capital fund is based. “The only way we’re going to be able to do that is if we can prove an investment strategy that’s successful from a returns perspective.”

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