ING sustainability fund invests in Black Bear

ING is making a multi-million euro investment in Black Bear, a circular company based in Nederweert, Limburg, which converts used car and truck tires into raw materials for new products.

This is a new investment by the ING Sustainable Investments fund, which was established earlier this year. The fund has € 100 million available to invest in companies whose activities make a positive impact on the environment.

Black Bear uses waste tires to make carbon black – a raw material for industrial rubber and new tires and pigment that can be used to make products such as plastic, coatings, ink. Carbon black is usually produced from petroleum in a process that releases the greenhouse gas CO2. Black Bear uses a method that does not release any CO2. Black Bear is one of the two Dutch companies to appear in the Global Cleantech 100 rankings of the world’s most innovative sustainable companies.

“It is remarkable that Black Bear is capable of making old tires into a very high-value product that can replace a polluting raw material. During the process they also generate energy, which means the production process is highly energy-efficient,” says Mark Weustink of ING Sustainable Investments. “With its pioneering circular model, Black Bear creates durable change, and it has already won some large clients such as AkzoNobel.”

Alongside ING, other investors are involved such as Dutch private equity firms Social Impact Ventures and 5Square, and Siam Cement Group (SCG), a strategic investor from Thailand. ING and the other investors are making investments of similar size for a total round of € 11 million. The money is intended to be used to further improve the Dutch factory and to support the growth strategy of opening Black Bear factories in countries including Germany, the UK, the US and Asia.

“ING as a strategic partner brings tremendous expertise and know-how, helping us to realise our vision of transforming wasted tires into an economic opportunity with wide-reaching environmental benefits," says Black Bear CEO Martijn Lopes Cardozo. "Not only will their capital investment help immensely in accelerating the roll-out of Black Bear's 'Tire to Carbon Black' technology but the fact that a reputable banking leader like ING has placed their confidence in Black Bear's work is also vital validation that will assist in unlocking the further investment necessary to scale this solution around the world."

ING launched the Sustainable Investments fund in January as part of its sustainability strategy, whereby the bank aims to support companies’ activities in areas such as the energy transition, the circular economy and clean water supply. The fund provides risk capital to so-called scale-ups: companies that do not yet fulfil all the criteria to secure full bank financing. ING offers a broad spectrum of financing options to help companies to grow in a sustainable manner.

ING’s goal is to double its funding to companies and sectors that help keep global warming below 2°C. ING will do this by doubling its current climate financing programme of around €15 billion by 2022.