There are good returns to be made from plastics recycling in emerging markets One of the greatest impediments to our ability to transition to a circular economy for plastics in emerging markets is a dearth of private investment capital. While investment in the recycling and circular economy space is occurring, particularly in the South and Southeast Asia regions, the flows of capital are neither large enough nor sufficiently consistent to scale solutions. Meanwhile the plastic pollution crisis persists. Despite progress on several fronts, only 9% of all plastic waste ever generated has been recycled , and the flow of plastics into rivers, oceans and other natural ecosystems is expected to triple by 2040 without drastic action. To-date, much of the capital behind solutions is strategic (it’s put up by plastics supply chain actors, for example), concessionary in nature (from international development institutions), or from highly focused impact investors and philanthropic funders. Conspicuously absent are mainstream financial institutions— broadly comprising financial intermediaries, asset managers and trading venues— seeking a commercial rate of return. This is despite solid evidence that emerging markets offer a significant opportunity for achieving (a) the largest impact on plastic waste mismanagement and (b) an attractive risk-adjusted […]

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