H&M Foundation describes the Global Change Awards (GCA) as an early-stage innovation challenge seeking bright minds that can transform fashion.
Every year, the Foundation selects and supports the five most impactful innovations with the ultimate aspiration of a planet-positive fashion future. This year, H&M Foundation doubled the grant and winners to speed up the transformation.
The ten GCA 2023 winners, sharing €2m ($2.14m) grant this year:
- Algreen (UK) – biobased foams, adhesives and coatings crafted from natural sources
- ALT TEX (Canada) – from waste to wardrobe: transforming food waste into biodegradable polyester
- KBCols Sciences (India) – bio-fermenting textile dyes with the magic of microorganisms
- Nanoloom (UK) – Powerful high performance-fibre fuelled by graphene
- PhycoLabs (Brazil) – Oceans of opportunity: making seaweed fibres that spur social innovation
- Rethread Africa (Kenya) – Regenerating agricultural waste into bio-based synthetics
- DyeRecycle (UK) – Renewed colours: extracting and transferring dyes from old to new fabrics
- Refiberd (US) – Adding lightspeed and laser precision to textile sorting with AI and spectroscopy
- Tereform (US) – Enabling circular solutions for hard-to-recycle waste textiles
- SXD (US) – AI-powered platform turning design concepts into zero-waste patterns
H&M Foundation explained that GCA was launched to provide the tools, connections, and resources necessary for early-stage innovations to move from idea to scale as quickly as possible.
The winners will receive €0.2m each and embark on the yearlong GCA Impact Accelerator. The Foundation, together with GCA’s core partners Accenture, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and The Mills Fabrica offer tailored coaching and support to accelerate the winner’s journey from idea to scale.
Until last year, five winners were chosen under GCA to share a €1m grant.
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Karl-Johan Persson, H&M Foundation board member and chairman of H&M Group, said: “We have an urgent opportunity to support innovations that could transform the entire fashion industry – that’s why we’re doubling the grant and the number of winners. We’re giving these innovators a total of €2m and access to our accelerator program – but we’re also giving the industry an opportunity to connect with these brilliant innovators. I’m excited to see the impact these innovators will make on the industry.”
Christiane Dolva, strategy lead at H&M Foundation, added there’s a wide range of solutions among this year’s winners. Dolva continued: “If scaled, I believe they could have a real impact on the industry – which needs a holistic transformation if we are to reach a planet-positive fashion future. We look forward to working with the winners during the accelerator and helping enable their innovations to accelerate and scale.”
Additionally, H&M Foundation pointed out that neither the Foundation nor the H&M Group takes any shareholder equity or intellectual property rights in the innovations. The winners have leeway to collaborate with whomever they want.
Last month, the Foundation said it was expanding its inclusive circularity efforts in India’s textile industry by welcoming two new partners that are developing circular textile waste models with waste pickers in the leading role.