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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

UK’s BII commits to three Asia-focused climate finance funds

UK-based British International Investment ↗ (BII) announced on Tuesday that it has made investments in three separate Asia-focused climate finance funds. The development finance institution (DFI) has backed vehicles of Singapore’s Circulate Capital, Global Environment Fund (GEF) Capital Partners, and Wavemaker Impact.

BII approved a $7-million investment commitment in Circulate Capital Ocean Fund I-B ↗, the Asia-focused circular economy vehicle of Singapore’s Circulate Capital ↗.

BII’s commitment brings the climate tech fund’s total amount raised in its final close to $76 million and Circulate Capital’s total assets under management to $255 million.

Aside from BII, other DFIs that have committed to the fund include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the European Investment Bank (EIB), and Proparco, a subsidiary of the French AFD Group.

Circulate Capital Ocean Fund I-B, along with the $112 million Circulate Capital Ocean Fund I, invests in companies across the plastic-recycling and waste-management value chains, as well as startups focused on early-stage disruptive innovation and technology.

The fund estimates that by 2030, its current portfolio in India will prevent 5 million metric tonnes of plastic pollution from entering the environment, which is almost half of the annual plastic waste generated in India.

Additionally, this will help avoid 6.9m tonne greenhouse gas emissions, which is equal to the emissions from 1.5 million cars a year.

Circulate Capital’s CEO and founder Rob Kaplan said the firm’s climate tech strategy has already invested in four enterprises in the climate tech and circular innovation sectors.

“We will continue to identify and add innovators in this space to our portfolio as well as for our flagship strategy of investing in recycling infrastructure in the South and Southeast Asia region,” Kaplan said.

The commitment will inject investment to help solve an issue that is particularly pressing in the region – plastic waste management, said British High Commissioner to Singapore Kara Owen.

“This UK Government funding is indicative of the strength of the UK commitment to the Indo-Pacific and our innovative approach to tackling global challenges and development,” Owen added.

BII director and head of Asia Srini Nagarajan said Circulate Capital, through funding innovative circulate economy solutions, has already prevented about 150,000-tonne plastic pollution leakage, reduced or avoided GHG emissions of about 227,000 tonne, and managed or recycled a total waste of about 1.2 million tonne.

Circulate Capital is an investment management firm dedicated to the development of a circular economy to combat plastic pollution through investments in high-growth opportunities at the nexus of climate-tech and plastics recycling infrastructure.

In 2019, Circulate launched its debut fund, the world’s first investment fund dedicated to preventing ocean plastic waste in South and Southeast Asia.

BII commits $25m to India-focused GEF’s climate fund

BII also announced a $25-million commitment to the latest climate-focused private equity vehicle of Global Environment Fund (GEF) Capital Partners, GEF South Asia Growth Fund III.

The fund, GEF South Asia Growth Fund III (SAGF III), will mainly invest in Indian businesses across various sectors that offer solutions for a green and resilient economy, according to the announcement.

GEF is looking at raising $300-400 million for the PE vehicle.

SAGF III also secured up to $30 million in commitment from World Bank Group member International Finance Corporation (IFC) in June.

With BII’s investment, the fund will tap into multiple sectors, ranging from renewable energy value chain, energy efficiency, food and water security solutions, to low-carbon transition, waste recovery, and mobility solutions, as well as smart city innovations.

“The fund will support our goal of enabling sustainable practices, with a focus on renewable energy, efficient resource management, and cutting-edge environmental solutions,” Nagarajan said.

SAGF II, the predecessor fund, closed in March last year at $200 million. It was anchored by a large commercial asset management firm headquartered in Europe and builds on a $125 million first fund that was led by key GEF team members.

GEF Capital was founded in 2018 and is led by Raj Pai, Sridhar Narayan, and four other partners.

On its website, GEC Capital Partners said it focuses on investments that promote resource efficiency and contribute to building a more sustainable future. These include operating companies that enable clean energy or improve energy efficiency.

Wavemaker Impact secures $6m from BII for debut fund

BII also announced its $6 million commitment ↗ to support the debut fund of Wavemaker Impact, a climate tech venture builder in Southeast Asia.

The fund, which closed at $60 million, surpassing the vehicle’s initial target of $25 million, will focus on key sectors such as agriculture, energy, and enabling technologies, with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 3-4% by 2035.

Launched in October 2021, Wavemaker Impact is the first VC-backed climate tech venture builder in Southeast Asia. The team co-founded startups with experienced entrepreneurs, aiming to reduce 10% of the global carbon budget by 2035.

Michael Maren
Michael Maren
Former marine biologist who likes to spend as much time in the tropics as possible, due to a horrible time I once had in Alaska. Brrrr.

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