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H&M Foundation’s Global Change Award looking for climate-focused fashion innovations

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2021-08-25 06:54:50 – USA

After a Covid-19-related pause, the H&M Foundation's Global Change Award is back. The fashion innovation challenge, now in its sixth year, will accept proposals beginning Aug. 25.

Unlike earlier incarnations of the project, which had a hazy emphasis on positive global change, this year's program has a laser-sharp focus, according to organizers, which will enable teams to produce an invention that may have a huge influence on the globe. The H&M Foundation is looking for game-changing solutions in one or more global areas, including land, water, oceans, climate, and biodiversity.

Erik Bang, innovation lead at H&M Foundation, said that the various climate reports, as well as this summer's climatic tragedies throughout the world, demonstrate that planetary and social sustainability are closely intertwined. Climate change will have the greatest impact on the poorest and most vulnerable people. Accelerating a planet-friendly fashion sector would assist millions of people to obtain not just jobs, but also basic living conditions.

Bang added that the world needs more social responsibility and that tackling the climate issue will help. While the Global Change Award is focused on climate change solutions, it is also about safeguarding people and preserving their future. The fashion business can function in ways that regenerate rather than draining the earth's resources with a planet-positive mentality, and we all benefit from a stable, resilient planet.

The foundation is seeking early-stage ideas from inventors and entrepreneurs on how to enhance the apparel industry's sustainable impact. Applicants can apply through Oct. 20 on the H&M Foundation's website. H&M Foundation, in collaboration with Accenture and KTH Royal Institute of Technology—both of which have worked with the firm on this initiative since its launch.

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

Bang said that they're looking for tomorrow's game-changers, adding that the invention must be something that isn't yet on the market or implemented. It should be scalable and financially viable, and the innovation team must be dedicated to making a difference.

The team will choose five winners in April 2022, each of whom will get a 1 million euro ($1.17 million) award and access to the program's year-long GCA Impact Accelerator, which will fuel faster growth and coaching from a network of industry professionals. It will also provide exciting digital workshops and meets at key locations to winning teams. This year, the expert panel will take a more active role and communicate with the teams throughout the accelerator.

Since its inception in 2015, the program dubbed the "Nobel Prize of Fashion," has received over 20,000 entries from all around the world. Galy, which was also selected for Fashion For Good's Accelerator Program, won the top award last year for its Incredible Cotton invention, which engineers cotton in a lab to reduce the strain of traditional cotton farming. Fairbrics, a French fashion business, has won a prize for its Airwear product, which transforms greenhouse gas into sustainable polyester. It can create carbon-negative synthetic fibers by using actual air.

Circular.Fashion, which established a digital system that provides designers with information and resources on how to design with recyclable purpose, and Dimpora, which developed a biodegradable and mineral-based membrane for outdoor clothing, are two former winners.

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