H&M Foundation Global Change Award calls for new fashion innovations – Sourcing Journal


The H&M Foundation Global Change Award is back after a Covid-19 hiatus. Now in its sixth year, the Fashion Innovation Challenge is accepting applications starting August 25.

While previous iterations of the initiative included somewhat ambiguous guidelines related to positive global change, this year’s program has a specific goal that organizers say will help teams create innovation that could have a major impact on the world. The H&M Foundation specifically calls for revolutionary solutions that address one or more global areas: land, water, oceans, climate and biodiversity.

“It is clear from the numerous climate reports as well as the climate disasters of the last summer around the world that planetary and social sustainability are deeply linked,” said Erik Bang, head of innovation at the H&M Foundation, to Rivet. . “Climate change will affect the poorest and most vulnerable communities the most. Accelerating a positive fashion industry for the planet will help secure not only jobs, but also basic living conditions for millions of people. “

Bang added that the world urgently needs more social responsibility and tackling the climate crisis will help achieve this. “While the Global Change Award seeks solutions to tackle climate change, it is all about protecting people and securing their future. With a positive mindset for the planet, the fashion industry can operate in a way that regenerates rather than depletes the earth’s resources, and we all thrive and prosper from a stable and resilient planet ” , did he declare.

The foundation invites innovators and entrepreneurs to submit their first ideas on how to improve the sustainable footprint of the fashion industry. Applicants can apply through the H&M Foundation website until October 20. Applications are reviewed by the H&M Foundation in conjunction with Accenture and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, both of which have partnered with the company on this program since its inception.

Applications will also be reviewed by an international panel of experts, including Dr Lin Li, Director of Global Policy and Advocacy at WWF International; Rachel Cernansky, sustainability editor at Vogue Business; Mirna Inez Fernandez, co-founder of Reaccion Climatica; Malin Åkerman, actress; Caroline Brown, Managing Director of Closed Loop Partners; Betelhem Dessie, CEO of ICog, Anyone Can Code; Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, actress; and Walden Lam, co-founder and CEO of Unspun.

“We are looking for the game changers of tomorrow, so innovation has to be something that is not yet in the market or that is not yet implemented,” said Bang. “It should have the potential to scale and be economically sustainable, and the innovation team must be committed to making a difference. “

In April 2022, the team will select five laureates who will receive a grant of € 1 million ($ 1.17 million) and have access to the program’s GCA impact accelerator, which will last for one year and fuel the scale and accelerated coaching from a network of renowned experts in the industry. It will also provide the winning teams with inspiring digital sessions and meet up in key locations. Bang noted that this year the expert panel will take a more active role and have even more interaction with the teams throughout the accelerator.

Since its launch in 2015, the program, dubbed the “Nobel Prize for Fashion”, has received more than 20,000 nominations from around the world. Last year the big winner was Galy, who was also selected for Fashion For Good’s acceleration program, for his Incredible Cotton innovation which designs cotton in the lab to lighten the burden of traditional cotton cultivation. French fashion startup Fairbrics also won top spot for its Airwear product which converts greenhouse gases into sustainable polyester. Using literal air, it is able to produce carbon negative synthetic fibers.

Winners from previous years include Circular.Fashion, which has developed a digital system that gives designers knowledge and tools on how to design with a recyclable intention, and Dimpora, which has created a biodegradable, mineral-based membrane for outerwear.

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