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Closed Loop Partners Acquires Majority Stake in Sage Sustainable Electronics

November 2, 2023

5 Min Read
Closed Loop Partners Acquires Majority Stake in Sage Sustainable Electronics

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Today, circular economy-focused investment firm Closed Loop Partners joins forces with leading IT Asset Management and Disposition provider, Sage Sustainable Electronics, as a majority shareholder in the company. The investment from Closed Loop Partners' buyout private equity fund, the Closed Loop Leadership Fund, is taking place at a critical time, amidst the rapid growth of electronic waste, increasing corporate commitments around e-waste management and rising demand for increased transparency and data security in the IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) industry. The strategic partnership aims to accelerate the growth of Sage Sustainable Electronics and strengthen its position as a leading provider of sustainable ITAD services in North America.

Since its founding in 2014 by co-founder Jill Vaské and CEO Bob Houghton, Sage Sustainable Electronics has been at the forefront of advancing a circular economy for electronics, providing reuse and recovery solutions to businesses seeking to sustainably dispose of their IT assets.

Today the company's clients include Fortune 100 companies across various industries, including finance, healthcare and defense. With Closed Loop Partners as a majority shareholder, Sage will have access to additional resources, a deep ecosystem of companies advancing the circular economy, and expertise to further enhance its services and expand its reach.

Houghton, a leading expert in the ITAD industry said of the partnership, "we're absolutely thrilled to join forces with Closed Loop Partners. This marks a significant step towards advancing the circular economy within the ITAD industry. First of all, they truly share our commitment to sustainability and reuse. That, of course, is always first on our list. But secondly, this partnership enables us to further expand our reach and increase our impact."

"Sage Sustainable Electronics' work to safely increase reuse and proper disposition in the ITAD space is critical to ensuring valuable materials, such as IT assets, do not end up wasted in landfills or the natural environment. E-waste represents a massive loss of value that we can recover through more efficient reuse and recycling," said Karine Khatcherian, Managing Director and Co-Head of the Closed Loop Leadership Fund at Closed Loop Partners. "We are proud to partner with the Sage team and support their continued growth as one of the leading IT Asset Disposition providers in North America."

With a differentiated focus on electronics reuse, Sage Sustainable Electronics is committed to achieving the highest possible Reusable Yield® ratio for IT Assets. Coined by Houghton, the ratio determines a company's IT asset carbon reduction impact. On average, Sage Sustainable Electronics securely refurbishes or ethically recycles nearly one million devices per year on behalf of its clients. Extending the lifespan of electronics not only reduces waste, but addresses climate impact and helps provide access to electronics for more people.

"Reusable Yield is the percentage of everything sent to an ITAD provider that is appropriately triaged, tested, refurbished and securely sent to another user. The higher your Reusable Yield, the higher the financial, environmental and social benefit on your retired assets. It's what we live by here at Sage," said Houghton.

In 2022, Sage sent 58% of its total processed devices to a second life, mitigating approximately 300 million pounds of CO2e annually according to the EPA's Electronic Environmental Benefits Calculator. This is a result of greenhouse gas emissions avoided by preventing the creation of a new device. The impact associated with manufacturing a new device is significant––in fact, approximately 80% of the environmental damage can be done by the time a brand-new device is manufactured.

"An overlooked source of climate risk is the emissions associated with creating a new product. Keeping used materials in circulation to reduce the need for new extraction and new product manufacturing is an important part of mitigating climate impact," said Jackson Pei, Director at Closed Loop Partners' Leadership Fund.

According to a 2022 report by McKinsey & Company, the biggest carbon culprit in the IT sector is end-user devices. In fact, the study found end user devices like laptops, smartphones and tablets generate one and a half to two times more carbon than data centers when created. This is exacerbated by the fact that these devices are replaced much more often, with an average refresh cycle by IT departments of two years for smart phones, four years for laptops and five years for printers.

Proactive and sustainability-focused CIOs can decrease their carbon footprints by ensuring their employee devices are destined for a second life. Sage Sustainable Electronics is uniquely positioned to meet this need through their distinct focus on electronics reuse. With a team of industry pioneers who recognize the financial and environmental value of making ITAD programs more sustainable, Sage's systems ensure that IT assets are efficiently and responsibly kept in circulation.

Today, Sage Sustainable Electronics is well positioned for further growth through their partnership with Closed Loop Partners. "The mission and impact of Sage holds firm from the day we started this work. The tailwinds around e-waste recovery today are only increasing, and this is just the beginning of what is possible," said Houghton.

About Closed Loop Partners

Closed Loop Partners is at the forefront of building the circular economy. The company is comprised of three key business segments. Closed Loop Capital Management manages venture capital, buyout and catalytic private credit investment strategies on behalf of global corporations, financial institutions and family offices. The Center for the Circular Economy unites competitors and partners to tackle complex material challenges and implement systemic change to advance circularity. Circular Services employs innovative technology within reuse, recycling, remanufacturing and re-commerce solutions to improve regional economic and environmental outcomes, and build resilient systems that keep food & organics, textiles, electronics, packaging and more, in circulation and out of landfill or the natural environment. Closed Loop Partners is based in New York City and is a registered B Corp. For more information, please visit www.closedlooppartners.com.

About Closed Loop Leadership Fund

The Closed Loop Leadership Fund is Closed Loop Partners' private equity fund, which closed in 2022. The fund focuses on investing in best-in-class circular business models across plastics and packaging, food and organics, technology, textiles, built environment and the energy transition.

To learn about the Closed Loop Leadership Fund, visit Closed Loop Partners' website.

About Sage Sustainable Electronics

Sage Sustainable Electronics, based in Columbus, Ohio also has a plant in Reno, Nevada. Founded in 2014, co-founders, Bob Houghton and Jill Vaské, are ITAD sustainability pioneers. As founders of Redemtech, their first venture, they defined best practices for the ITAD industry in security, asset management, and responsible recycling—including foundational support for the e-Stewards Certification program, the Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher program, and the Coalition for American Electronics Recycling.

When they founded Sage in 2014, their combined ITAD expertise and unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability resulted in an ITAD company designed with sustainability at the forefront. Their mission is to serve the following (and in this order): the planet, customers, colleagues, communities, suppliers, and shareholders.

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