NEW YORK -- ReFED and Closed Loop Partners are excited to partner on a new $100M Circular Food Solutions Funding Platform, a first-of-its-kind, blended finance investment and innovation platform to scale food waste reduction solutions by mobilizing critical capital into the sector. With an emphasis on catalytic funding, the platform is designed to provide private and philanthropic financing and other support for organizations, municipalities, and innovators that are developing solutions to help reduce the 35% of food that goes unsold or uneaten each year in the United States.
The $100M Circular Food Solutions Funding Platform consists of three cross-cutting verticals – an $80M investment fund, a $10M grant fund [the ReFED Catalytic Grant Fund], and a $10M innovation program. The Platform has already attracted seed funders including Google and The Betsy and Jesse Fink Family Foundation.
"Uneaten food is a major driver of greenhouse gas emissions, generating 4% of U.S. and 8% of global emissions annually, so the announcement of this new systems-inspired funding vehicle is an exciting milestone in the fight against climate change," said Alexandria Coari, Vice President, Capital, Innovation & Engagement at ReFED. "Together with our partners, we've designed this Funding Platform to have a real impact on the amount of food going to waste, which in turn will drive reductions in greenhouse gasses. We're inspired and humbled by the opportunity to help drive critical capital where it is needed most."
"It's amazing to see two high impact organizations such as ReFED and Closed Loop Partners working together to pioneer a new investment vehicle, particularly one that provides catalytic capital from a mix of philanthropic funders, impact investors, and corporations," said Jesse Fink, Trustee of the Betsy and Jesse Fink Family Foundation and a ReFED Board member. "While there has been an exciting amount of growth in the sector in recent years, it needs to happen faster, and catalytic capital deployed at scale will unlock multiples of traditional capital. This groundbreaking funding vehicle was designed with that in mind, and we are proud to be a seed investor."
Over the life of the Funding Platform, ReFED and Closed Loop Partners estimate that 10M tons of food waste could be diverted, which would result in 15M mtCO2e avoided – the equivalent of taking 300k cars off the road every year for ten years – and water savings of nearly 800B gallons.
In addition to this quantified impact, ReFED and Closed Loop Partners expect the Platform to accelerate the flow of additional funding to food waste solutions by:
- Demonstrating the breadth and impact potential of food waste funding opportunities;
- Sharing market intelligence about how scalable, feasible, and viable specific solutions to food waste are; and
- De-risking investments in order to unlock traditional, more risk-averse types of funding.
At the recent 2022 Food Waste Solutions Summit presented by ReFED, the first grantees in the ReFED Catalytic Grant Fund were announced. This component of the Funding Platform is designed to provide nonprofit and for-profit organizations with a total of $10 million in non-recoverable and recoverable grants to de-risk and scale high-impact solutions to food waste. The first round of grantees included the following organizations:
- Upcycled Food Association (UFA), a nonprofit focused on convening, connecting, and growing awareness of the power of upcycling to fight food waste;
- Food Recovery Network, a nonprofit growing their proven model of donation coordination and matching with a DEIJ lens; and
- Hidden Gems, a for-profit business which offers a solution to recycle the 800M pounds per year of nutrient-rich avocado pits that currently go into landfill.
"With Google's anchor funding in the Catalytic Grant Fund portion of the Funding Platform in March, we're already seeing momentum," said Emily Ma, Head of Food for Good at Google. "Working together with ReFED and Closed Loop Partners in this manner significantly accelerates our ability to achieve our circularity commitment of maximizing resources in our own operations and our supply chains, and enable others to do the same."
Leveraging ReFED's expertise on food waste data and solutions in the food waste space and Closed Loop Partners's experience as a circular economy-focused investment and innovation firm, the Funding Platform will drive much needed capital to develop and scale food waste solutions. New data from ReFED show that private investment into food waste solutions topped $7.8 billion since 2011 – including a record $2 billion in 2021 alone – but much more is needed to reach national and international goals to reduce food waste by 50% by the year 2030.
"There is a significant gap in what is needed for catalytic capital in the sector, and we feel the time is right to deploy this Funding Platform," said Bridget Croke, Managing Director, Closed Loop Partners. "We've had a lot of great encouragement from a variety of stakeholders that are eager to participate, and we encourage anyone who is interested to join us."
If you are a capital provider of any type or a solution provider who is interested in learning more about the $100M Circular Food Solutions Funding Platform, please contact Alexandria Coari at [email protected].
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. For more information, visit www.refed.org.
About Closed Loop Partners
Closed Loop Partners is a New York-based investment firm comprised of venture capital, growth equity, private equity and catalytic capital, as well as an innovation center focused on building the circular economy. Investments align capitalism with positive social and environmental impact by reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions via materials innovation, advanced recycling technologies, supply chain optimization and landfill diversion. For more information, visit closedlooppartners.com. Learn more about our investments in the food & agriculture sector here.