This was originally published in the Food Waste Funder Circle monthly Member Spotlight email. Learn more about becoming a member of ReFED's Food Waste Funder Circle here.
Food Waste Funder Circle Member Spotlight: Closed Loop Partners
Food Waste Funder Circle Member Spotlight: Closed Loop Partners
Each month, ReFED's Food Waste Funder Circle (FWFC) spotlights a different member. The goal of the Member Spotlight Series is to give FWFC members a glimpse into the inspiring work that others in their community are doing and to connect members who could potentially benefit from collaboration. This past month, we sat down with Anne-Marie Kaluz and Jennifer Louie from Closed Loop Partners to discuss the work that CLP does in the food waste space and to highlight any asks or offers that they have for the rest of the FWFC.
If you would like to connect with someone from the Closed Loop Partners team, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for an introduction.
Closed Loop Partners is comprised of three key business segments dedicated to accelerating the transition to the circular economy:
- We own and operate the largest privately held recycling company in North America.
- We innovate through our Center for the Circular Economy, which unites competitors and partners to tackle complex material challenges, advance research, and implement systemic change to advance circularity.
- We invest through early-stage venture capital, private equity buyout, and catalytic capital. Through investment, we enable systems change by moving away from the linear economy (take, make, waste model) towards a circular economy. We focus on reducing waste in supply chains, innovating new materials that can be reused or recycled back to their original state, and capturing current waste streams to make new recyclable products.
Part of the reason why the FWFC exists is to connect individuals in the network who are passionate about this work with each other. Could you share a little bit about your journey into the food/food waste/climate world?
I started my journey in climate through my undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering with a focus in environmental engineering. I loved solving the challenges of engineering design to enhance the quality of human life, whether it was through structural design preventing erosion or enhanced filtration systems to protect water quality – but with climate change becoming a more daunting reality, I was eager to figure out how we could create broader systems changes to balance the human relationship with the ecosystem. After some work with the Climate Reality Project during my engineering role, I decided to shift my career into investing with the ultimate goal of influencing the economic shift to a sustainable economy. I started in public markets at Barclays and Bank of America, learning the fundamentals of investing, and then transitioned to Closed Loop Partners, where I am an investor on our early stage venture team.
I have spent the majority of my career living and working abroad in developing countries. Over that 10-year period, I witnessed firsthand the compounding effects of climate change on communities – decimation of crops and agricultural livelihoods, increased frequency of inclement weather – as well as the lack of basic infrastructure to manage the needs of growing migrant populations and urbanization as communities move to city centers seeking alternative livelihoods and sources of income. It was through this experience that I decided to make a more deliberate transition into impact investing with a focus on catalytic capital and environmental impact. For the last three years, I have led Closed Loop Partners' catalytic private investment strategy. Our team provides loans and makes equity investments in projects and organizations that are improving the circularity of packaging materials in North America. Our work contributes to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and less waste generation.
Could you please tell us about Closed Loop Partners' investment thesis and how food waste fits into it?
At Closed Loop, we invest in companies that are enabling the circular economy. Food waste is a challenge that can be mitigated through circular solutions – we have invested in both prevention and recycling to combat food waste. When it comes to prevention, we have historically invested in optimized packaging, novel solutions to extend food like protective food coatings, and more efficient refrigeration. We also see potential for dynamic technologies to optimize food preparation and logistics to prevent food waste. With respect to recycling, we have invested in food waste to energy through anaerobic digestion in addition to composting.
Are there one or two investments from your portfolio that you would like to tell us and the other FWFC members about?
Ansa has developed an onsite coffee roasting solution that eliminates the need for centralized roasting, which reduces spoilage and overproduction in addition to simplified logistics and reduced energy consumption. The onsite coffee roasting process utilizes green coffee beans directly from the producers before any processing, which leads to longer shelf life in addition to an increase in quality control of each brew. The Ansa machine roasts coffee in just a few minutes. The company is based in Israel and currently expanding its rollout in the United States with a newly opened concept store in New York City, showcasing the future of coffee.
To learn more about Ansa please contact: email@example.com
Rebound Technologies was one of Closed Loop Partners’ first investments in circular food solutions. Rebound has developed a 2-in-1 solution, combining agile freezing and unprecedented humidity control for frozen food processors and cold chain logistics companies. The cold chain is responsible for 4% of global GHG emissions, which includes food waste and the energy needed to support cold chain operations. Rebound’s globally patented technology, IcePoint®, meets varying cooling demands while simultaneously optimizing moisture levels equating to improved system performance, productivity and demand response capabilities. The company is based in Denver, CO and recently commissioned its first commercial IcePoint® unit with Lineage Logistics.
To learn more about Rebound Technologies please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
TemperPack has been a Closed Loop Partners’ portfolio company since 2018. Today, TemperPack is the largest producer of sustainable alternatives to styrofoam for cold chain shipments in food and life science. The company’s first core product, ClimaCell, is a curbside recyclable thermal liner that is 90% paper and cornstarch and non-toxic. Since its founding in 2015, the company has continued to expand through acquisitions and organic growth into other packaging solutions with a focus on developing sustainable products that reduce waste. The company is based in Richmond, VA, and operates manufacturing facilities in VA, NV, and MI. Its packaging materials have protected over 75 million last-mile shipments of fresh and frozen food.
To learn more about TemperPack, please contact: Jed.email@example.com
What investment trends in the food/food waste/climate space are you seeing that you think will gain traction in the next five years?
In industry, we expect to see optimization of food waste in addition to wastewater streams from food processing to optimize utility and valuable nutrients. Advances in technology will play a significant role in these operational processes and ability to create new products out of food waste streams.Optimized farming practices, better land utilization, and an increase in plant-based foods will all contribute to reduced food waste in tandem with GHG emissions. We also expect to see a larger dependence on the oceans for food through further developments in industries such as macroalgae farming and processing.Regulatory tailwinds for organic waste processing will also have critical influence on the expansion of anaerobic digestion and commercial composting. The development of new infrastructure and collections systems will take some time, but the investment capital is mobilizing and we expect to see further growth in the next five years.
What excites you about being a member of the FWFC?
We are excited to collaborate with some of the brightest investors and innovators who bring unique perspectives to how we solve the enormous challenges of food waste. Systems changes are hugely complex, and we cannot solve these problems alone. Together with our investors and partners, we use the power of our Closed Loop Partners ecosystem to navigate the levers to influence systematic change – and the FWFC is an important part of that ecosystem. The U.S. consumer has a large part to play in mitigating food waste, and we must enable choices and changes that prevent food waste and are also beneficial, saving the consumer time and money. By working together with other members of the FWFC, we can move the needle on expanding infrastructure, offering consumers better options, and optimizing food systems.
ReFED is a national nonprofit working to end food loss and waste across the food system by advancing data-driven solutions to the problem. ReFED leverages data and insights to highlight supply chain inefficiencies and economic opportunities; mobilizes and connects people to take targeted action; and catalyzes capital to spur innovation and scale high-impact initiatives. ReFED’s goal is a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive food system that optimizes environmental resources, minimizes climate impacts, and makes the best use of the food we grow.