Circulate Capital, the industry-backed investment group that aims to raise money to improve plastic waste management in Asia, unveiled its initial fund Dec. 4, a $106 million round of financing.
The Singapore-based fund, which is backed by Dow Inc., Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LLC and large consumer product companies, wants to provide seed capital to bring in other investors and try to show that the projects can provide attractive financial returns.
The fund kicked off with a Dec. 4 news conference in Singapore, and said it plans to announce specific investments in coming weeks.
It said it has identified more than 200 potential investment opportunities across Asia, which it said accounts for about 60 percent of the plastic leaking into oceans.
"The good news is that we are able to reduce nearly 50 percent of the world's plastic leakage by investing in the waste and recycling sector in Asia, and even more if we invest in innovative materials and technologies," said Circulate Capital CEO Rob Kaplan.
Circulate had previously said it was targeting an initial investment fund in the range of $100 million. Its founding investors also include Procter & Gamble Co., Group Danone, Unilever plc and the Coca-Cola Co.
Bambang Candra, Asia Pacific vice president for Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics, said in a statement that the group sees the investment as leveraging other resources: "Supporting companies and infrastructure that are addressing plastic waste will catalyze the development of systems designed to advance a circular economy for plastics."
"For the beverage sector, the more recycled content used in any type of packaging such as 100 percent recyclable plastics, the lower the carbon footprint," said Matt Echols, vice president of communications, public affairs and sustainability for Coca-Cola Asia Pacific, in a statement.
In the statement, Circulate said that the environmental Ocean Conservancy estimates a financing gap of between $28 and $40 per ton for plastic waste collection in the five top ocean polluting countries – China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
The $106 million pledged by Circulate is a fraction of what Ocean Conservancy estimates is needed. A senior executive with OC, which partners with Circulate in various programs, said earlier this year that the group's research estimates it would take $5 billion a year to build effective waste management systems in the five countries.