Investor Ron Gonen Thinks a Greener Economy Depends on Businesses

At a student orientation in 2002, Ron Gonen told his professors and peers at Columbia Business School that he hoped to build a business that was both financially successful and environmentally sustainable. The response was “dead silence,” he recalls. “People thought I was there by mistake.”

Twenty years on, Mr. Gonen, 47, counts Microsoft, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever among his investors as the founder and CEO of Closed Loop Partners, a firm that invests in the technology and infrastructure needed to boost recycling rates and reduce the waste that ends up in landfills. With nearly $500 million in assets under management in eight countries and 24 U.S. states, he is eager to change what he calls “a take-make-waste” economy. “It’s a costly system,” he says. “We can make it more efficient.”

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