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Giving the public power to split 1 million euro between innovations that can reinvent the fashion industry

To speed up the shift to a circular waste-free fashion industry, H&M Foundation initiated the yearly innovation challenge Global Change Award in 2015, calling for game-changing ideas that can help reinvent the entire industry. The second round of winners are chosen, and now the public decides how to split the grant of EUR 1 million between the five winners – a unique opportunity to influence one of the world’s most powerful industries and contribute to a sustainable future. The online vote is open March 27 – April 2 on globalchangeaward.com.

Launch image for GCA 2017

The winners of 2016 represent a broad range of exciting ideas – a digital content thread that facilitates recycling of clothes, carbon-binding nylon made from biomass and solar energy instead of oil, vegetal leather made from wine production waste, used denim that gives colour to new denim and an idea that turns cow manure into biodegradable textiles.

“I am convinced that by bringing people from different industries, with different backgrounds and perspectives together we can make a fundamental shift, speeding up the transition to a circular waste-free fashion industry.”

Karl-Johan Persson

“The second round of Global Change Award received 2,885 innovative ideas from 130 countries, which is even more than last year. Cross-border challenges call for a cross-border approach. I am convinced that by bringing people from different industries, with different backgrounds and perspectives together we can make a fundamental shift, speeding up the transition to a circular waste-free fashion industry,” says Karl-Johan Persson, Board member of H&M Foundation and CEO H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB.

The five most promising innovations were chosen by an international expert panel, with among others Vikram Widge, Head of Climate and Carbon Finance at the World Bank Group, Rebecca Earley, Professor in Sustainable Textile and Fashion Design at University of the Arts London, Amber Valletta, Supermodel, actress, entrepreneur, sustainability influencer and Ellis Rubinstein, President and CEO at The New York Academy of Sciences.

”Global Change Award is one of the boldest efforts to catalyse transformation in an unsustainable industry.”

Ellis Rubinstein

”On a planet that is not sustainable, every industry must change its practices. The Global Change Award is one of the boldest efforts to catalyse transformation in an unsustainable industry, and H&M Foundation’s prize winners embody the enormous potential of innovative science and technology to make a difference,” says Ellis Rubinstein, President and CEO at The New York Academy of Sciences and member of the Global Change Award expert panel.

For more detailed information about the innovations and to access visual material, visit globalchangeaward.com/press.

Winners of Global Change Award 2016:

Manure couture – Making cow manure-based fabric
Extracting and using the valuable cellulose in cow manure to create a biodegradable textile. The significant reduced release of methane gas and substances that pollutes soil, water and air, is an added bonus.

Denim-dyed denim – Letting used denim give colour to new denim
Breaking down old denim into fine particles and turning it into a colouring powder to dye new denim or make prints on other textiles. This method reduces both water and energy used for production, as well as reuses old denim instead of it going to waste.

Solar textiles – Harvesting the sun’s energy to make fashion fabrics
Using only water, plant waste and solar energy to produce decomposable nylon, instead of oil, is good news for the planet. And if this isn’t enough, the nylon also binds greenhouse gases into the material, contributing to a zero-emissions world.

Content thread – Facilitating sorting and recycling of clothes using a digital thread
Weaving a tiny RFID thread with a digitalized “ingredients list” into the garment, the recycling process will become much more efficient and less will go to waste, as it’s suddenly clear what materials the garment consists of.

Grape leather – Using leftovers from winemaking to create fully vegetal leather
Using leftovers from wine production to produce fine vegetal leather is great for animal welfare and eliminates the need for oil to make synthetic leather. The fact that the grape skins and stalks are used for something good, instead of combustion, is an extra plus.

Notes to the editor

Online vote and result: Between March 27 and April 2, anybody can place their vote on one of the five winning innovations on globalchangeaward.com. The result, as well as the people behind the innovations, will be revealed on April 5 at a Grand Award Ceremony at the City Hall in Stockholm, Sweden.

Grant: The innovation that receives the most public votes is granted EUR 300,000, the second highest rated innovation receives 250,000 and the rest of the five winners are each granted 150,000. In total EUR 1 million is given away in grants.

Funding: H&M Foundation is funded by the Stefan Persson family—founders and main owners of H&M. Neither the non-profit H&M Foundation nor the company H&M will take any equity or intellectual property rights in the ideas competing in the Global Change Award.

Accelerator: In addition to the financial grant, all five Global Change Award winners are given a tailor-made, one-year innovation accelerator provided by H&M Foundation in partnership with Accenture and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, to actualise their ideas, maximise performance and get industry access.

Application statistics: This year, the countries with the most Global Change Award applicants were India, US, Nigeria, UK, Italy, Sweden, Macedonia, Indonesia, Iran and Bangladesh. 56 percent of the applicants were women.

Expert panel

The members of the Global Change Award expert panel are chosen for their extensive knowledge in the areas of innovation, entrepreneurship, sustainability and fashion. They all participate pro bono.

  • David Roberts, Distinguished Faculty, Singularity University.
  • Rebecca Earley, Professor in Sustainable Textile and Fashion Design at University of the Arts London and Director of its Textile Futures Research Centre.
  • Ellis Rubinstein, President and CEO, The New York Academy of Sciences.
  • Amber Valletta, Supermodel, actress, entrepreneur and sustainability influencer.
  • Lewis Perkins, President of Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.
  • Johan L. Kuylenstierna, Executive Director for Stockholm Environment Institute.
  • Dame Ellen MacArthur, Founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
  • Vikram Widge, Head of Climate and Carbon Finance at the World Bank Group.
  • Franca Sozzani, Editor in Chief of Vogue Italia, was an expert panel member 2015 and 2016, but sadly passed away in December 2016, before having the chance to help select this year´s winners.

For more information, contact:

Malin Björne
PR & Communications Manager at H&M Foundation
malin.bjorne@hmfoundation.com
+46 70 796 39 75

Global Change Award is an innovation challenge initiated by the non-profit H&M Foundation in 2015. In September 2016, the second round was launched. By catalyzing early innovations that can accelerate the shift from a linear to a circular fashion industry, the aim is to protect the planet and our living conditions. Global Change Award is one of the world’s biggest challenges for early stage innovation and the first such initiative in the fashion industry. For further information, please visit globalchangeaward.com.