Non-profit H&M Foundation is keeping a close eye on digital innovations this year as it opens the fourth round of its annual Global Change Award.

Attracting over 8,000 entries from 151 countries since 2015, the circular innovation award provides funding and year-long coaching to innovators who come up with solutions to spark the shift towards a circular fashion industry, protecting the planet and living conditions.

“This year we keep an extra eye on digital innovations which can make significant impact on efficiency, planning and resource use – all the way from making raw material to a garment’s end of life,” says Erik Bang, innovation lead, H&M Foundation. “Digitalization has the potential to disrupt at the root, reinvent how things are done and help producers, sellers and customers to become circular.”

H&M Foundation initiated the challenge in 2015 to find innovations that allow major change for the entire industry. The winner can collaborate with whoever they want, and neither the H&M Foundation nor H&M group take any equity or intellectual property rights in the innovations.

This year’s application period is open from 29 August to 17 October. Entries can come from anyone, anywhere. The top five countries with the highest number of entries since 2015 are India, US, Italy, Nigeria and UK.

The innovation should have the potential to make fashion circular and thereby protect the planet and living conditions. Other criteria are its impact and scalability, that it’s novel and economically sustainable and that the team is suited to make a difference.

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“New ideas are the foundation for change, but scaling them is an enormous challenge for every innovator,” says Karl-Johan Persson, H&M CEO. “Together with our partners Accenture and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, we’ve seen previous winners cut years off their timeline through our accelerator programme. Now, we are eager to welcome five new circular heroes and encourage everyone who wants to reinvent one of the world’s largest industries to apply.”

An international expert panel with extensive knowledge within fashion, environment, circularity, entrepreneurship and innovation selects the five winners, who are crowned at the Grand Award Ceremony in Stockholm City Hall in April 2019.