The Circulate Initiative launches Plastics Circularity Investment Tracker to tackle ocean pollution
17 Mar 2023 --- The Circulate Initiative, a non-profit organization, has released the Plastics Circularity Investment Tracker, enabling decision-makers to understand investments into plastics circularity better. The tracker is dedicated to solving ocean plastic pollution.
Despite the potential of a circular economy to curb the plastic pollution crisis, The Circulate Initiative notes gaps in financing and action remain. It launched the tracker to address this financing knowledge gap by consolidating, analyzing and reporting on investment trends in plastics circularity across emerging markets.
“Investment of private capital into plastics circularity is critically needed to tackle the global plastic pollution challenge and to build inclusive, circular economies,” Umesh Madhavan, research director at The Circulate Initiative, tells PackagingInsights.
“In the absence of consistent and reliable information on investments or a track record of deals, investors are unaware of the size of the opportunity and businesses across the plastics value chain miss out on potential capital to drive solutions forward.”
Tracker for reducing plastic
The investment tracker leverages deal-level information on private investments in emerging markets between 2018 and 2022. It provides insights into the types of solutions and regions receiving funding and the scale of investments into plastics circularity.
Madhavan says that The Plastics Circularity Investment Tracker offers insights into solutions across the whole plastic value chain, including for plastic packaging.
“For example, the Investment Tracker demonstrates capital flow to material alternatives, the redesign of packaging through lightweighting or a shift from multi-material to monomaterial packaging as well as refill and reuse models.”
“As the packaging industry looks for more sustainable alternatives, particularly as momentum to eliminate single-use plastics grows, we expect the tracker to be a catalyst for more capital into solutions which can eliminate, reduce or substitute the use of avoidable plastic packaging and create a circular economy for other types of packaging,” he adds.
Insights to drive investment
The Investment Tracker reveals that approximately US$850 million was invested annually in plastics circularity solutions across emerging economies – significantly lower than the estimated US$27.5 billion a year needed to fund basic waste management infrastructure in these markets. The total investments made across the analyzed period were estimated at US$4.1 billion.
The tracker accompanies the insights report titled, “The Plastics Circularity Investment Tracker: Monitoring Capital Flows to Tackle the Ocean Plastic Pollution Challenge.” The report exposes the disproportionate capital distribution across the plastics value chain, with 88% of investments allocated to downstream solutions such as recycling and recovery.
“We believe that providing more and transparent data and insights on the state of financing in plastics circularity is critical to uptick overall investment activity and support the scale-up of innovative solutions across the value chain,” Madhavan continues.
The Circulate Initiative believes continued investment in plastic waste management is necessary to prevent further leakage. The findings highlight the need for a more equitable distribution of funding for reducing and avoiding plastics to achieve system change.
“By making the Plastics Circularity Investment Tracker accessible to all, we hope it will serve as a catalyst for capital and enable other stakeholders to identify where resources are needed most to achieve impact,” concludes Madhavan.
By Sabine Waldeck
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