Research will quantify capital landscape for recycling, circular economy

The goal of the Closed Loop Foundation study is to provide stakeholders with practical guidance on investable opportunities across a wide spectrum of types and sources of capital.

Closed Loop Foundation, an independent 501c3 supported by investment platform Closed Loop Partners, has launched a research initiative to uncover existing and necessary capital investments in recycling infrastructure and the development of the circular economy.

Closed Loop Foundation anticipates that as a result of this analysis, investors interested in strong financial and environmental returns will have actionable insights for deploying capital in this space.The study, which is supported by grants from Goldman Sachs Center for Environmental Markets and Wells Fargo Foundation, is seeking perspectives from capital providers and seekers working across the system—from residential curbside collection to advanced technologies and materials sciences.

“No one has yet been able to capture the capital investment available or needed to truly close the loop on post-consumer waste. A lack of data is a significant barrier for investors,” says foundation Board Chair Ron Gonen.

Says Kevin Smith, of the Goldman Sachs Center for Environmental Markets and a member of the study’s advisory group, “Better understanding the capital requirements and opportunities that can drive greater resource efficiency and closed loop systems is incredibly important. We hope this study helps to inform investors and capital users in this regard.”

The study will produce insights in three key areas:

1.Where has capital been deployed? Recent trends in capital investments, with a focus on activity within the past three years

2.Where is capital going? Near-term forecasts for expansion, future investment, and associated impact

3.Where are gaps, and what could we achieve if we fill those gaps? Needed long-term investment and capacity to support stronger end-market demand for PCR and significantly stronger infrastructure and innovation by 2030

The goal of the study is to provide stakeholders with practical guidance on investable opportunities across a wide spectrum of types and sources of capital. It will highlight deals across all aspects of circular infrastructure—from design and manufacturing, to collection, sorting, and processing. A public report will be available later this year. Closed Loop Partners also plans to host events to help interested parties act on the report’s findings.

Investors, private companies, entrepreneurs, and municipal solid waste managers are encouraged to participate in the study by visiting Closed Loop Foundation’s website, where they can access an online survey and sign up to be interviewed.

“We need to better understand the risks and opportunities related to closed loop and circular economy investments that have significant opportunities to help our customers and communities be more resilient, while protecting natural resources,” says Puon Penn, of Wells Fargo Tech Capital and also a member of the study’s advisory group.

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