H&M Foundation awards sustainable ambitions

Five innovations have been chosen for funding from H&M’s 2020 Global Change Award, with the ideas spanning lab-grown cotton to tracking sustainable fibres by using blockchain technology.

The Global Change Award is the non-profit H&M Foundation’s fifth annual innovation challenge that aims to identify early stage, disruptive ideas that can make fashion more sustainable, and to scale them to transform the entire fashion industry.

“H&M Foundation continues 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 are moving away from the old, linear ways of thinking, and move faster towards a planet positive and sustainable model. The winning innovations will help our industry reinvent itself and hopefully also inspire even more great minds out there,” said Karl-Johan Persson, board member of H&M Foundation.

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 five selected ideas were:

Incredible Cotton by GALY (US/Brazil). Using biotechnology to create lab-grown cotton.
Feature Fibres by Werewool (US). Creating fabrics from protein DNA with natural colours, stretch and other features.
Tracing Threads by TextileGenesis (India). Tracking sustainable fibres through transparent and reliable blockchain technology.
Zero Sludge by SeaChange Technologies (US). Separating and cleaning wastewater to eliminate toxic sludge in landfills.
Airwear by Fairbrics (France). Converting greenhouse gas into sustainable polyester.

In addition to the €1m grant, the H&M Foundation will grant the winners a place on its one-year Innovation Accelerator Program. The programme, 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.

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