Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find some common questions and answers about the Global Change Award.

Find the FAQ for H&M Foundation here.

How to apply

When will the Global Change Award open for new applications?

Since GCA was launched in 2015, we have gathered a lot of learnings from both our successes and failures. And we are constantly evaluating how we can create even better impact for both the planet and people. So now we’re working on how we can take GCA to the next level which will be presented in October 2024. To receive updates on when we’ll open the next round, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter (sign up here) or follow @hmfoundation in social media.

What are the rules of the Global Change Award?

This is outlined in the Terms & Conditions.

Who can apply?

See the answer under “Ideas & applications”.

Does it cost anything to participate?

No, participating is free of charge.

Can I submit multiple entries?

No, only one entry per person is allowed. Learn more in the Terms & Conditions.

Can I compete with an idea that I have already entered in another challenge?

Yes, but remember that you must own all rights connected to the idea.

What questions are included in the application form?

Here are all questions in the application form.

Who have won the Global Change Award previously?

All winners are presented here.

Selecting the winners

How many winners are selected?

The number of winners selected has ranged from five to ten winners. The winners receive a grant of 200,000 euros each and get access to the one-year-long GCA Impact Accelerator.

What do I win?

  • A grant of 200,000 euros to develop your innovation.
  • Access to the one-year-long tailormade GCA Impact Accelerator, provided by the H&M Foundation, Accenture, The Mills Fabrica and KTH Royal Institute of Technology. This includes support enabling the winners to accelerate towards scale and impact.
  • Global visibility, recognition and validation.
  • Once the yearlong Accelerator programme is up, all winners are invited to join the Alumni community with past GCA winners, who share tips, support and network with each other.

Learn more.

How is the grant transferred?

The grant is paid to the team member personal account or directly to the non-profit organization. The H&M Foundation is not able to pay the grant to any for profit companies.

The grant awarded to a winner will be transferred by the Foundation to bank accounts specified by the winner in two installments. The grant will be transferred to a bank account held by a private individual, institution or organization, as defined in the Terms & Conditions. Any tax levied on winners as a result of the winners’ receipt of the total grant sum shall be paid for in full by that winner.

As a non-profit H&M Foundations is not allowed to pay the grant to commercial companies, according to Swedish law. Learn more in the Terms & Conditions under section, Grant 6.   

How can the grant be used?

The grant shall be used by the winner solely for the implementation, exploitation and/or marketing of the plan according to the winning entry.  

What is expected from the winners?

We expect you to develop your idea according to the plan submitted with the entry to contribute to making the fashion industry a planet positive one. We also expect you to take active part in the one-year-long GCA Impact Accelerator.

H&M Foundation will require each winner to submit a short report on progress and use of funds after 6 months and after 12 months. See more details in Terms & Conditions.

Ideas & applications

Who can apply?

Innovation knows no national borders and we believe these early stage ideas can come from anyone, anywhere. Therefore, to reach as many great minds as possible the challenge is open to any individual and groups of up to four people over 18 years of age anywhere in the world. It is also open for institutions, organisations and social businesses, as well as for joint ventures, consortiums and other types of partnerships.

Please note that your entry must be in English and that all communication including the GCA Impact Accelerator will be in English.

Who can not apply?

The Global Change Award is not open for solely commercial entities.

To keep the integrity of the competition, employees of H&M Group or any entities owned in full or in part by H&M Group, H&M Foundation, Accenture, The Mills Fabrica and KTH Innovation including hired consultants cannot apply.

We are looking for new and early stage ideas so you can not apply with an already proven and existing innovation. You must also be over 18 years old to apply.

Are there any limitations to the duration of a project?

No. The duration of a project is irrelevant if the impact is lasting.

What do you mean by “early stage idea”? Why is it a requirement for applying?

At the early stage, the idea has not yet been proven. It can still be only a drawing on a piece of paper. This stage is very critical and where many start-ups fail, due to lack of funding, market knowledge or perhaps because the team isn’t right.     

We are certain there are a vast number of great ideas out there but access to capital, know-how and support is scarce and many great ideas never get to see the light of day. The H&M Foundation wants to find these ideas and give them the support needed to make a difference.

It is at this earliest stage where the non-profit H&M Foundation can provide the much-needed resources, access and skills and thereby make the biggest difference.

What kind of ideas are you looking for?

We want to find tomorrow’s game-changers – early stage innovations that can accelerate the transformation to a planet positive fashion and textile industry. This means changing how raw material is produced, how energy is used, and the way garments are currently designed, produced, shipped, bought, used and recycled by adding disruptive technology, processes, or new business models.  

Regenerate – solutions towards positive effects 
Innovations with the ability to give more back, moving beyond neutralising negative impact, and pushing towards positive effects. Ranging from contributing to better soil, cleaner water and air to improving biodiversity. For example it could be regenerative fibers, sequestration, and innovative solutions enabling growth within planetary boundaries. 

Repurpose – solutions towards circularity 
Innovations spanning over the entire value chain of fashion and textiles, from the design process, production and materials to packaging and transportation. For example it could be prolonging product life span, enable resources to loop into never-ending cycles, or setting the stage for new ways to consume fashion. 

Reimagine – solutions we haven’t even thought of yet 
Innovations using technology or new business models that makes fashion smarter and challenges the current systems. It could be ranging from reducing climate impact to rethinking how and where products can be made or consumed, equipping the industry with the tools and new ways of creating business value. 

What do you mean by planet positive? 

This is how we define planet positive: 
The term planet positive is established by scientists and academia, and it is an ambition and a direction we envision for creating a more sustainable industry. It means to regenerate, replenish and create conditions for more life.

A planet positive industry supports the capacity to grow, develop and evolve, not degrade or deplete. It embraces the power of nature to renew and regenerate and understands that humans are a fundamental part of nature. It is a future where the fashion and textile industry operates within the planetary boundaries, contributing to a society where humans and nature not only survives but thrives. 

Why it is important: 
Over the last 50 years our world has been transformed by an explosion of global trade, consumption and human population growth. We are currently overusing the Earth’s biocapacity, meaning the ability of our planet’s ecosystems to regenerate conditions supporting all living systems.  

The fashion and textile industry’s current system is contributing to this degradation and depletion, putting increased pressure on crumbling Earth systems. We need to take urgent action to protect and restore nature as the foundation for a healthy society and a thriving economy, for generations to come.  

How we get there: 
Planet positive is directional. There is no exact destination and no estimated time of arrival. However, it points out the way forward. There is not one single silver bullet solution, and no challenges that can be solved in silos. Planet positive requires us to embrace the complexity and address the system holistically. It requires innovation and efforts in every step of the value chain. 

Finding new solutions that regenerate, repurpose and reimagine the fashion and textile industry is key. What we do know is that tinkering around the edges won’t do – pivotal transformations of how we live, and how business operates are required.  

On which criteria do you score the entries?

The evaluation of our winners is based on the following criteria:

  • The idea’s potential planet positive impact
  • The idea’s ability to scale
  • The team’s experience and capacity
  • The idea’s level of novelty

Check Terms & Conditions for full details.

The Expert Panel

Who are the members of the Expert Panel?

The members are presented here.

What is the responsibility of the Expert Panel?

Their role is to provide expertise to identify and help select the winners of the Global Change Award. They are chosen for their extensive knowledge within entrepreneurship, sustainability, innovation and fashion.

Are the members of the Expert Panel getting paid?

No. All members of the Expert Panel are doing this pro bono and are not getting paid.

Equity and intellectual property right/patents

Will the H&M Foundation or H&M Group take any equity or intellectual property rights in the innovations?


Why not?

The H&M Foundation’s role is to provide that critical boost to the innovators at the earliest stages where it is most needed. It is up to the winners to decide who to partner with. Different innovations need different support and it would not be wise to limit or force an innovation into a certain partnership. The mission is to support the development of the innovation and to help it stand on its own.

Also, the H&M Foundation initiates this challenge to make the entire fashion- and textile industry planet positive – not just H&M Group.

Parts of my application will include sensitive info about my idea, what will happen to that info?

The Terms & Conditions and Privacy Notice explains this in detail but to keep it simple: do not send us critical unprotected details. Instead, focus on the bigger picture in your application. All entrants understand that the H&M Foundation may use any information submitted for the sole purpose of promoting the competition and the participants. And remember, we want you to succeed and we want you to own the IP.