H&M Provides €1 Million For Eco-Friendly Fashion

H&M Close the Loop

Photo: H&M

The H&M Conscious Foundation has announced to launch its the first ever Global Change Award − one of the world's biggest challenges for early stage innovation and the first such initiative in the fashion industry. By catalysing green, truly ground-breaking ideas where the aim of the challenge is to protect the earth's natural resources by closing the loop for fashion.

Five winners, chosen by an expert jury, will share a grant of €1 million and get access to a tailor-made innovation accelerator. The global public will be invited to distribute half of the total grant through an online vote. The result will be revealed at a grand award ceremony in Stockholm, in February 2016.

"The question for fashion is no longer "What is the new black?" but rather "What innovative ideas can close the loop?" The Global Change Award is looking for ideas that will protect the earth's natural resources, and I am excited to be part of it," says Rebecca Earley, Professor in Sustainable Textile and Fashion Design at University of the Arts London, Director of its Textile Futures Research Centre and member of the Global Change Award Jury.

The H&M Conscious Foundation is a non-profit global foundation, funded by the Stefan Persson family − founders and main owners of the Swedish fashion company H&M. The mission of the Foundation is to drive long-lasting positive change and improve living conditions by investing in people, communities and innovative ideas. The Global Change Award takes on one of the biggest challenges facing today's fashion industry – to create fashion for a growing population while reducing its impact on the environment. Neither the Foundation nor the company H&M will take any equity or intellectual property rights in the innovations.

"Ground-breaking, game-changing ideas can come from anywhere, so the challenge is open to anyone. Each year the Global Change Award aims to find the truly brave and bold ideas that make change. I'm also eager to see how the fashion industry as a whole will embrace the challenge of closing the loop," says Karl-Johan Persson, board member of the H&M Conscious Foundation and CEO of H&M.

The innovation accelerator − a collaboration with Accenture and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm − will give the five winners the support and knowledge they need to actualize their ideas. Starting off with an innovation boot camp in Stockholm, provided by KTH Innovation, it will be followed up by guidance from Accenture Strategy on how to develop the winning ideas further. This includes the provision of a one-year training and coaching programme with a particular focus on circular economy. 

The innovation accelerator will also provide exclusive fashion industry access and offer possibilities to build networks and try out the ideas within the fashion value chain.

Information about the Global Change Award, how to apply for a grant and updates on the challenge are available at globalchangeaward.com.

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