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Plastic producers pool US$90m to tackle ocean pollution

Updated: Mar 4, 2019

Companies including Coca-Cola, Unilever, P&G, Danone and Dow have started a fund to find solutions to combat marine plastic pollution in Asia.


By Hannah Koh

A handful of the world’s biggest consumer goods and chemical companies have pooled US$90 million into a fund to find solutions to plastic pollution in South and Southeast Asia.

Beverage makers PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, consumer goods manufacturers Procter & Gamble and Unilever, food producer Danone, and chemical firm Dow will back the initiative led by investment management firm Circulate Capital, which made the announcement yesterday.

With the exception of chemical giant Dow, all of these investors were highlighted as the world’s biggest plastic polluters in a report released by the Break Free from Plastic campaign at the beginning of the month.

The aim of the fund is to remove capital as a “barrier to critical waste and recycling infrastructure development” and demonstrate that waste management is a rewarding sector for investment, said Rob Kaplan, founder and chief executive officer of Singapore-headquartered impact investment firm Circulate Capital, which will manage the funds.

Kaplan said in a statement: “Institutional investors are unwilling to allocate [funds] to this sector because of a “missing middle”—proven entities that demonstrate a track record of profitability and offer a robust pipeline of investment products.”

The US$90 million pot will go towards financing the riskier stages of development for waste management solutions, which has led some to regard Circulate Capital as a form of blended finance, Kaplan told Eco-Business. “We aim to co-invest as much as possible, and part of our success will be determined by our ability to enable other institutional investors to participate in the sector.” ...

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