H&M Global Change Award: the winners

H&M celebrates the winners of the Global Change Award despite the times of coronavirus: no award ceremonies but a virtual applause following the principle that is the hashtag of the annual competition that rewards the best innovations dedicated to sustainable fashion from all over the world: # innovationcantwait.

The Global Change Award for this edition received 5,893 applications from 175 countries, among which five winners were chosen by a jury of experts who will share a grant of 1 million euros and take part in an acceleration program of their project lasting one year.

“The H&M Foundation supports the fight against coronavirus and at the same time we want to continue supporting entrepreneurs and innovators who work for long-term sustainability. Every year I am amazed at the level of ideas presented at the Global Change Award. Innovations are a real challenge to the way we imagine and think fashion. We must abandon the old linear ways of thinking and move faster towards a positive and sustainable model for the planet. Winning innovations will help our industry reinvent itself and hopefully inspire others to find new solutions as well “ has explained Karl-Johan Persson, member of the board of directors of the H&M Foundation.

Luciano Bueno, Paula Elbl and Letícia Luz is the Brazilian trio, based in the United States, whose company Galy won the prize of 300 thousand euros thanks to their cotton obtained in the laboratory, capable of growing 10 times faster than classic cotton and with 80% lower water consumption. The price of the final product therefore derived from cells rather than from plants should also be similar to that of traditional cotton.

A 250 thousand euro prize was awarded to another US start-up, Werewool, by Chui-Lian Lee, Valentina Gomez, Morgana Kattermann and Theanne Schiros: their invention allows to obtain biodegradable fabrics with characteristics definable in the laboratory using the DNA from animals such as jellyfish, turtles, oysters and cow’s milk (obviously without harming any animals).

Three teams instead won € 150,000 each. SeaChange Technologies, another American company founded by Dipak Mahato, Meredith Metz, Randall Marcuson and James Eide, offers a solution to the problem of post-finishing and dyeing waste water: thanks to the use of a special turbine, companies will be able to separate clean water from toxins, which will be reduced to dust and therefore more easily processed.

TextileGenesis, an Indian start-up based between India and Hong Kong and founded by Amit Gautam, Akanksha Sharma, Pradeep Padmarajaiah and Ashraf KA Mohammed has focused on the theme of traceability of sustainable fibers, to allow through blockchain technology to certify how many times a fiber has been recycled and therefore how sustainable it is.

The French trio composed of Benoit Illy, Tawfiq Nasr Allah and Ali Nasr Allah of Fairbrics finally discovered how to transform carbon dioxide from industrial production into sustainable polyester similar to the traditional one.

On the occasion of the launch of the fifth edition of the annual competition, established in 2015 by the H&M Foundation in collaboration with Accenture and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Karl-Johan Persson, member of the Board of Directors of the H&M Foundation and CEO of H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB, commented: “Now in its fifth edition, the Global Change Award has opened the doors of fashion to innovators, who in this way can act directly from within. We have seen the winners of the last editions get to work to transform an abstract project into a solid reality to be introduced on the market, but above all we have seen them inspire a new generation of creatives, scientists and entrepreneurs to reduce the planetary impact of fashion through the ‘innovation. The next revolutionary idea that can rewrite industry rules could come from anyone, anywhere in the world. So if you have an idea you believe in, it is the right opportunity to propose it “.

Over the years, H&M has received over 20,000 applications from 200 countries for the Global Change Award:

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