Closed Loop Ocean, an initiative to raise money to combat plastic marine pollution in Asia, has picked up some new corporate and regional partners, with Dow Chemical Co., KimberlyClark, Coca-Cola Co. and a regional intergovernmental agency joining the organization.
New York-based Closed Loop Partners, which leads the effort, said in a March 7 announcement that the group is working to develop new funding and collection systems to prevent trash from getting into the oceans.
It noted estimates that half of the roughly 8 million tons of plastics that leak into oceans each year come from five rapidly developing countries in Asia: Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and China.
The Closed Loop Ocean effort was unveiled at the Our Ocean conference in Malta in October, and the partners said at the time they hoped to create a $150 million investment fund to target marine litter in Southeast Asia, similar to the $100 million effort Closed Loop project previously formed to boost recycling in North America.
This latest announcement said the intergovernmental group Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia, made up of government officials working in environmental and marine topics from several Asian nations, will be joining the effort.
It is the first time an intergovernmental organization is formally signing on.
The head of Closed Loop Partners suggested that was key as the group plans in coming months to put details to its plans, narrowing its geographic focus, building a network of partners and identifying potential investments.
"Partnership with our coalition of companies who have operations in these markets and with PEMSEA, a regional intergovernmental body with local knowledge and experience in SE Asia will help us bring in additional investors, understand the local market and supply chain dynamics and develop an investment strategy that unlocks the key bottlenecks holding back the recycling system in SE Asia and India," said Managing Director Rob Kaplan.
Other members of the initiative include the American Chemistry Council, the World Plastics Council, the NGO Ocean Conservancy, the Trash Free Seas Alliance, 3M, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble.
Closed Loop Ocean said it will focus on funding waste infrastructure solutions in the region, with an emphasis on improving collection, sorting and recycling markets for plastics.