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Innovations that will transform the fashion industry awarded €1 million

From lab-grown cotton and creating fabrics from protein DNA, to tracking sustainable fibres by using blockchain technology, wastewater separation and converting carbon dioxide into sustainable polyester. These are the five winning innovations of the 2020 Global Change Award. Global Change Award, named the Nobel Prize of sustainable fashion, is the non-profit H&M Foundation’s fifth annual innovation challenge. Now, more than ever, H&M Foundation want to continue to support long-term development, innovation and entrepreneurship for a sustainable future. The goal is to identify early stage, disruptive ideas that can make fashion more sustainable, and to scale them to transform the entire fashion industry.

Global Change Award winners 2020 - group shot

In these uncertain times, when large parts of the world have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, H&M Foundation thinks it’s even more important to find and encourage ideas that can contribute to a more sustainable future for us and generations to come. We are fully committed in supporting our Global Change Award winners of 2020 through our financial grant and Innovation Accelerator Program, so that they can keep working and accelerate the development of their innovations and move the needle forward in sustainable fashion.  

“We need to leave the old, linear ways of thinking behind, and move faster towards a planet positive and sustainable model.”

Karl-Johan Persson, board member of H&M Foundation

“H&M Foundation supports the fight against the Corona virus, and at the same time we continue to support entrepreneurs and innovators for long-term sustainability. Every year I am amazed by the ideas submitted to the Global Change Award. The innovations are in themselves challenging the way we think about fashion. We need to leave the old, linear ways of thinking behind, and move faster towards a planet positive and sustainable model. The winning innovations will help our industry reinvent itself and hopefully inspire others to also find new solutions,” says Karl-Johan Persson, board member of H&M Foundation.  

This year, the Global Change Award Expert Panel selected five winning innovations out of 5,893 entries from 175 countries, during the period August-October 2019.  

 The Global Change Award winners 2020  

In addition to the €1 million grant, H&M Foundation enrolls the winners in a one-year Innovation Accelerator Program. The program, run in cooperation with Accenture and KTH Royal Institute of Technology, is designed to connect the winners with the fashion industry and speed up the process of bringing their innovations to the market. 

“Winning the Global Change Award opens new doors for partnerships, technology and call to action for the entire industry.”

Luciano Bueno, Founder and CEO of GALY

“Winning the Global Change Award validates the recognition and belief in our vision as a company and open new doors for partnerships, technology and call to action for the entire industry. We are going to work hard to make our vision come true and we believe this award is one of the most important steps for this accomplishment”, says Luciano Bueno, Founder and CEO of GALY.  

Since the start in 2015, the innovation challenge has seen over 20,000 entries from more than 200 countries and territories. During these five years, the Foundation has granted €5 million in 25 sustainable innovations, many of which have become global commercial products and services, working with some of the largest brands in fashion. 

Learn more about Global Change Award:  

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 Quotes from Innovation Accelerator main partners: 

 “In this new era of transparency, retailers need to operate responsibly in order to attract and maintain consumers who are shopping more and more with their values. Research estimates that more than 300,000 tons of clothing every year is incinerated or sent to landfill, so it is critical to design strategies, products and services in a responsible way. The Global Change Award continues to be an important platform for driving sustainability in fashion forward”, says Jill Standish, senior managing director and head of retail at Accenture. 

“There is huge potential for new technology and solutions to create a more sustainable fashion industry and the Global Change Award is right in the center of that shift, says Lisa Ericsson, Head of KTH Innovation. The Innovation Accelerator is key to setting the winning innovators on the right path, and we’re glad that our expertise at KTH Royal Institute of Technology plays a vital role in that journey”, says Lisa Ericsson, Head of KTH Innovation. 

Expert Panel 2020 

An international expert panel with extensive knowledge within fashion, environment, circularity, entrepreneurship and innovation selects the five winners. The expert panel all works pro bono with Global Change Award. For quotes, go to  

  • Abrima Erwiah, Co-Founder and President Studio One Eighty Nine 
  • Betelhem Dessie, CEO of iCog Anyone Can Code and Project Advisor of Solve IT 
  • Burak Cakmak, Dean of the School of Fashion at Parsons School of Design 
  • Malin Åkerman, Actress and environmental activist 
  • Rosario Dawson, Actress and Co-Founder Studio One Eighty Nine  
  • Sonam K Ahuja, Actress  
  • Tariq Fancy, Founder and Chairman at Rumie, CIO of Sustainable Investing, BlackRock 
  • Vanessa Cheung, Founder, The Mills 
  • Wanjira Mathai, Chair, the Wangari Maathai Foundation 
  • William McDonough, Chief Executive McDonough Innovation and Co-Founder, Fashion For Good 

Donation to COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund 

In addition to the work related to Global Change Award, the H&M Foundation have donated USD 500,000 to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for World Health Organization (WHO) launched by United Nations Foundation. Learn more.

More information, please contact: 

Malin Björne, Communications Manager, H&M Foundation
+46 (0)70 796 39 75