Circulate Capital Launches US$106M Ocean Fund To Fight Asia Plastic Pollution

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A US$ 106 million Singapore-based venture fund, The Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF) has just been launched by Circulate Capital to become the world’s first investment fund dedicated to address the plastic crisis in Asia. In addition, the fund makes the list for the top 10 largest ASEAN-based VCs in the market. The launch marks a major step forward to draw in capital investments towards much needed solutions for our plastic pollution crisis. 

The Circulate Capital Ocean Fund, which launched yesterday, is the world’s first investment fund committed to combating plastic ocean waste in Asia. The fund, created by VC-management company Circulate Capital which was created in collaboration with Closed Loop Partners and Ocean Conservancy, will help alleviate the net financing gap of between US$ 28 – 40 for each ton of plastic waste to be collected and recycled across the five biggest ocean polluters in the world: China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. This effort is hugely important for global efforts to fight plastic ocean waste, as over 60% of the ocean’s waste originates from Asia, which makes the region the largest source of plastic leakage in our seas. 

“This is why we’re here in Singapore, a strategic hub of Southeast Asia, to prove that investing in this sector is scalable for the region and can generate competitive returns, while moving closer to solving the ocean plastic crisis,” said CEO of Circulate Capital Rob Kaplan. 

READ: Race For Water Zero Emissions Sustainably-Powered Vessel Lands in Hong Kong As Part of Global Fight Against Plastic  

With CCOF, Circulate Capital not only provides debt and equity financing to the waste and recycling sector, but also attract investment for startups and other small and medium enterprises (SMEs) within Southeast Asia working on innovation in materials and technologies to fight back against plastic leakage.

Since Circulate Capital began, the company has identified over 200 potential investment opportunities across a range of industries, and hope to attract the first investments within the coming weeks. Some of their key founding investors include PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Dow Chemical, Danone, and Coca-Cola

“Circulate Capital plays a critical role in solving the issue of plastic waste in our environment. Supporting companies and infrastructure that are addressing plastic waste will catalyse the development of systems designed to advance a circular economy for plastics,” commented APAC VP for Dow Chemical Bambag Candra. 

READ: The Global Plastic Crisis In Numbers – 10 Shocking Facts You Need To Know  

The launch of CCOF reflects a broader shift in business leaders and investors, who are increasingly pricing in the environment when it comes to strategies, and adopting a long-termism approach. This explains the growing pool of socially responsible funds appearing on the market, such as the world’s first vegan climate ETF that was launched by Beyond Advisors on the New York Stock Exchange in September.

It also comes at a time when the Singaporean government is more openly embracing sustainability programmes, from committing US$2 billion of green investment into sustainable projects to the citywide Zero Waste Masterplan and ushering in the Resource Sustainability Bill.

While the fund is promising, it is clear that financing and investment in the green sector alone will not be sufficient enough to combat the ocean plastic crisis. In addition to funding, policy and corporate commitments across Asia and around the world need to be made, and fast.

A landmark report recently released by Singaporean environmental consultancy GA Circular shines a light on the desperate need for governments, businesses and individuals to collectively amp up efforts to create a circular economy for post-consumer PET bottles – which is currently a staggering source of mismanaged waste in the region.


Lead image courtesy of Circulate Capital.


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