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H&M Foundation’s ‘Nobel Prize’ of Fashion Is Back

The H&M Foundation’s Global Change Award is now open for applicants.

A panel of experts will select five winners who will share a 1 million euro grant, about the equivalent in dollars, and gain access to the group’s year-long GCA Impact Accelerator program, which includes coaching and support from the H&M Foundation and its partners Accenture, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and The Mills Fabrica. The program is tailored to support each team in developing and scaling innovation.

“The Global Change Award has become a force to support early innovation and accelerate the transformation of our industry,” said Karl-Johan Persson, board member of H&M Foundation and chairman of H&M Group. “It attracts some of the most disruptive and creative people I have ever met, and following their development is really impressive. I am excited to see what game-changing innovations the seventh round generates.”

Winning innovations or solutions fall into one of three categories: regenerate, solutions toward positive effects; repurpose, solutions toward circularity; or reimagine, solutions not thought of yet. Winners may collaborate with whomever they choose, intending to find innovations that allow for significant change benefiting the entire industry. Neither the H&M Foundation nor the H&M Group takes any shareholder equity or intellectual property rights in the innovations. 

Circularity isn’t enough, we need to raise the bar and become planet positive,” said Christiane Dolva, strategy lead at the H&M Foundation. “That’s why we’re looking for solutions that enable a planet positive fashion future where both people and the planet not only survive but also thrive. I am confident there are great ideas out there, ready to accelerate and scale—and we’re here to support them!”

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The H&M Foundation launched the Global Change Award in 2015 to transform fashion and make it planet positive for the industry to fulfill the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Since its launch, the “Nobel Prize of Fashion” program has received more than 20,000 entries. Previous winners have included Rubi, a viscose made of carbon emissions captured from the air; Biorestore, a laundry solution; and Galy, lab-grown cotton.

The application is open now until Dec. 8, and winners will be announced in June 2023.

H&M Foundation recently held a Planet Positive Initiatives event in New York City showcasing six Global Change Award startup winners focused on cleaning up fashion.