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An investment firm called Closed Loop Ventures (they’re the folks behind the NextGen Cup challenge for Starbucks and McDonalds) has raised $100m USD for a fund to make early-stage equity investments into sustainable consumer goods companies, advanced recycling technologies, and services related to eliminating ocean plastic pollution, Bloomberg News reports. Rob Kaplan, the Fund’s Founder who used to be the Director of Sustainability at Walmart, believes that the fund’s investments are not only good for the environment but also will someday yield double-digit returns, and if they do, then big bucks from institutional investors will follow and that will be transformative.
Why This Matters: Yet another whale washed up this week dead from ingesting plastic — this one in Scotland and it had 220 pounds of trash in its belly. We desperately need solutions to the plastic epidemic. This fund has enough money to test the hypothesis that impact-investing can change the world and make the circular economy not only possible but also profitable. Finding a way to stop the flow of the 8 million tons of plastic trash that streams into the world’s oceans annually will not be easy or cheap but these “investors” should be responsible for doing it.
To Go Deeper: A House hearing yesterday examined how innovative finance mechanisms have already been a game-changer. For example, Connecticut’s innovative Green Bank launched in 2011 moved the state from a public funding model to an investment model that leveraged private funding at a nearly 7:1 ratio, resulting in $1.7 billion of high-impact new clean energy investments in Connecticut in the past eight years.
Hurricane Isaias, while only a category 1 (low strength) storm, caused great damage along the coast of the Carolinas and inland up the I-95 corridor, with several people killed, leaving nearly 3 million people without power, and causing widespread flooding necessitating water rescues up the Eastern seaboard all the way from Myrtle Beach, SC to Philadelphia, CNN reported last night.
Why This Matters: Sea level rise and coastal flooding are some of today’s toughest climate challenges. While the gut instinct may be to “build that wall,” in the case of the ocean, walls and other “hardened” structures only make matters worse.
Using satellite monitoring technology and intelligence capabilities, an investigation by NBC News and Ian Urbina an author and former NY Times journalist, has uncovered massive fishing by a “dark” fleet in North Korean waters with deadly results for North Korean fishermen.
Why This Matters: China is a member of the UN Security Council that in 2017 banned fishing in North Korean waters (which China used to pay to access) as part of sanctions it imposed after North Korea’s nuclear missile tests. If it’s true (and the UN has an anonymous report corroborating China’s violations with evidence to back it up) it would be a serious breach of the UN’s security rules
We have excerpted portions of his interview below. Thank you, Eric, for speaking with ODP! ODP: There have been many studies documenting the impact that climate change is having on fish stocks. Is EDF seeing this actually play out in its fisheries work here in the U.S. and worldwide? ES: Yes. Ten years ago we […]
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