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Impact Investment For The Circular Economy

Updated: Jun 5, 2019

By Rob Kaplan,

Rob Kaplan is Founder and CEO of Circulate Capital, an impact-focused 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. 

How do you define a circular economy? 

I think a circular economy is one where commodities and resources are managed in perpetuity. So that there is no waste, but instead it's a resource for future innovation and product manufacturing.

In transitioning from a linear system to a circular one – who becomes responsible for the end of life? Especially in a time where goods are globally dispersed.

Well, I think the answer is that everybody's responsible. There's no single entity that is responsible for how it's managed at the end of its life, in my opinion. That's why this is a systems challenge that requires a systems solution.

Part of the challenge you're noting is the aspiration of a circular economy with the reality of where waste exists today. Because, circular economy in many ways is an aspirational concept. Especially within consumable products. It doesn't really exist. As we look to invest in companies that can prevent plastic pollution and instead drive towards more circular opportunities, it is a matter of degree. It's not, we'll get there tomorrow in that perfect ideal. It's more about, we've got a lot of waste that's not being managed appropriately. How do we improve that in a way that can create value for those communities? And also prevent the pollution at the same time.


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