Q&A with Jeep Kline
Updated: May 12, 2022
We are delighted to welcome Jeep Kline as The Circulate Initiative’s new board member.
With an education background in both Thailand and the United States and a long-standing track record in technology and entrepreneurship, Jeep will support us in our mission to solve the ocean plastic pollution challenge around the world.
We sat down with Jeep to learn a little bit more about her. Read on below.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I am a founding partner at a venture fund, a guest lecturer on sustainability and impact investing and an economist at The World Bank. I have 20 years of experience in driving the formation, growth, and market success of technology-based organizations in many countries.
My diverse professional paths are threaded together in one big theme: global impact. From supporting Ministries of Finance in emerging markets in Latin America, Africa, and Asia to pioneer Android-based low-cost tablets, to launching an impact venture fund in South America, I believe that financial returns are necessary but not the determining factor. Instead, impact returns are what really move the dial. This has been the guiding principle in my career, which has and continues to yield positive results across various industries and economies.
What brought you to The Circulate Initiative?
I joined The Circulate Initiative because the organization’s mission is directly aligned with my professional and personal values. I am on board to help create positive impact at a large scale in South and Southeast Asia. Ocean plastic is one of the biggest problems contributing to climate change. As a Thai native, I am humbled by the opportunity to contribute to my home country and the Asia Pacific region.
I have known Rob Kaplan and Ellen Martin from The Circulate Initiative’s leadership team for many years, through our alumni network at the Hass School of Business at UC Berkeley. I have been following their work and impact and deeply respect their work. Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Sadowski, Chairman of the Board, through mutual contacts at the University of Michigan. The combination of an aligned mission and long-term connections with the leadership team are what makes The Circulate Initiative the perfect place for me. We don’t need warm up time – we’re keen to get our hands dirty!
In your view, what is one solution or approach that can make the biggest impact in solving the plastic pollution problem in South and Southeast Asia?
I don’t believe that a silver bullet exists. For the type and scope of the problem we are trying to solve, it’s crucial both demand and supply sides of the equation are committed. We need consumer advocacy as well as private and public stakeholder buy-in. In Asia, there are many large multi-generational conglomerates that account for a significant portion of GDP and with the capacity to provide catalytic capital. Partnering with companies like these can help generate significant impact. This can be in the form of research-sharing, exploring implementable ideas or sharing new environmentally friendly technology that improves their bottom line while reducing plastic production.
At the same time, funding promising start-ups is also critical. These incubators are the source of new technology, intellectual property, or supply chain innovation that can help solve the plastic pollution problem and fill gaps in the current system. There is a wealth of synergy between multinationals and start-ups that we can tap into.
As we align incentives with the private sector, we can also educate the public sector through policy, research, and with successful case studies around the world that have made an impact. Once relationships with the governments and non-profit organizations are formed, we can dive deep into specific policy and implementation. Ultimately, to advance the circular economy, teamwork with multiple parties in the ecosystem is key to implement positive change.