Presenting the Winners of the Global Change Award

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NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–On February 10th, HRH Crown Princess
Victoria of Sweden awarded the winners of the first Global Change Award,
an annual innovation challenge for circular fashion initiated by the
non-profit H&M Conscious Foundation. Most votes, and a grant of
€300,000, were awarded to the Finnish team behind Making waste-cotton
new; conversion of waste-cotton into new textile
. To further
accelerate the transformation towards a circular fashion industry, the
Foundation will now launch the Global Change Award Network, an
open-source database for innovations.

The online vote was held February 1st – 7th and
the results are:

  • €300,000: Making waste-cotton new – conversion of
    waste-cotton into new textile.
    Innovation team lead: Michael
    Hummel, Finland. (31% of the votes)
  • €250,000: The polyester digester – using microbes to recycle
    waste polyester textile.
    Innovation team lead: Akshay Sethi, U.S.
    (22% of the votes)
  • €150,000: An online market for textile leftovers – a
    marketplace for industrial upcycling of spill in production.
    team lead: Ann Runnel, Estonia. (18% of the votes)
  • €150,000: 100 percent citrus – creating new textile out of
    citrus juice production by-products.
    Innovation team lead: Enrica
    Arena, Italy. (15% of the votes)
  • €150,000: Growing textile fibre under water – utilizing algae
    to make renewable textile.
    Innovator: Tjeerd Veenhoven, the
    Netherlands. (14% of the votes)

“This prestigious grant will allow us to lift our technology closer to
an industrially viable level. Now we will focus on the further
development of technical details, in particular the solvent recovery, to
ensure the economic competitiveness and complete environmental
friendliness of our process,” says Michael Hummel, spokesperson
for the Finnish team behind Making waste-cotton new – conversion of
waste-cotton into new textile.

Inspired by the response from the global innovation community, and to
spark impact beyond the five winners, the Foundation will now launch the
Global Change Award Network, a public digital space where teams and
ideas can grow.

“When the application period closed, we sat with thousands of amazing
ideas. So we decided to create the Global Change Award Network. You can
look at it as a matchmaking site, where innovators can present their
ideas, get feedback, make contacts and maybe investors can even find the
next big thing. A digital greenhouse for innovative ideas,” says
Karl-Johan Persson
, board member of the H&M Conscious Foundation and
CEO of H&M.

The award ceremony on 10 February marked the beginning of a one year
innovation accelerator, provided by H&M Conscious Foundation, Accenture
and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. The program
will help the winners develop their ideas, focusing on three main areas;
circular economy, innovation and fashion industry connection.

“The level of innovation that we have seen throughout this process is
truly inspiring and we aim to advance the strategic business growth of
the five Global Change Award winners by guiding and coaching them
through the Innovation Accelerator to develop their ideas further”, says Jennie
Strategy Program Lead, Accenture.

“For KTH, it is a matter of both urgency and privilege to be a partner
to Global Change Award, as we are facing extreme environmental
challenges. Supporting this effort and being part of a better future is
the obvious course for KTH to take. We are excited to kick off the
accelerator program and get to know the five winning innovators,” says Lisa
, Head of KTH Innovation.


Download images and short films from the grand award ceremony here:
(supports Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Opera).
For the Global Change
Award Network, go to
more information about the challenge, go to


Selecting the five winners

The Global Change Award was introduced in August 2015 by the non-profit
H&M Conscious Foundation. Between August 25th and October
31st the challenge was open for anyone to apply. Over 2,700
innovators from 112 countries contributed. The H&M Conscious Foundation
reviewed the applications with the help of innovation collaborators KTH
Royal Institute of Technology, Accenture and the Expert jury. The five
ideas considered to have most potential in helping close the loop for
fashion were selected as winners.

Online votes

A total of 22,500 online votes were placed to split the €1 million grant
between the five winners. Most votes came from Germany, U.S., The
Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Russia, France, China, U.K. and Finland.

About the Innovation Accelerator

Starting off, KTH Innovation invites the winning teams to a one week
intensive immersion program at KTH campus in Stockholm. This will be
followed by a one year training and coaching program, provided by
Accenture Strategy. The winners will get individual coaching and
tailored learning sessions and assignments in order to take their ideas
to the next level. Through the H&M Conscious Foundation and H&M, 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.

The funding

The H&M Conscious Foundation is funded by the Stefan Persson family –
founders and main owners of the Swedish fashion company H&M. Since 2013,
the family has donated SEK 900 million to the H&M Conscious Foundation.

Members of the Expert jury

Dr. Michael Braungart: Academic Chair “Cradle to Cradle for Innovation
and Quality” at Erasmus University Rotterdam; Professor at Leuphana
University Lüneburg; Scientific Director of EPEA Hamburg.
Rebecca Earley: Professor in Sustainable Textile and Fashion Design at
University of the Arts London and Director of its Textile Futures
Research Centre.
Mr. Ma Jun: Director, Institute of Public and
Environmental Affairs, China.
Ms. Eva Kruse: CEO, Danish Fashion
Institute; CEO, Copenhagen Fashion Week.
Prof. Johan Rockström:
Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Professor in
Environmental Science with emphasis on water resources and global
sustainability at Stockholm University.
Mr. Ellis Rubinstein:
President and CEO, The New York Academy of Sciences.
Ms. Franca
Sozzani: Editor in Chief of Vogue Italia.
Ms. Amber Valletta:
Supermodel, actress & entrepreneur.

The Global Change Award is an innovation challenge, initiated by H&M
Conscious Foundation in 2015. By catalyzing green, truly game-changing
ideas the aim is to protect the earth’s natural resources and close the
loop for fashion. The challenge annually selects five ideas that share a
grant of €1 million and are supported with a one-year innovation
accelerator provided by the H&M Conscious Foundation, Accenture and the
KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. The five ideas are
nominated by an expert jury consisting of Michael Braungart, Rebecca
Earley, Ma Jun, Eva Kruse, Johan Rockström, Ellis Rubinstein, Franca
Sozzani and Amber Valletta. The global public is invited to distribute
the total grant through an online vote. The result of the vote is
revealed at a grand award ceremony in Stockholm, 10 February 2016. This
is one of the world’s biggest challenges for early stage innovation and
the first such initiative in the fashion industry. For further
information, please visit


H&M Communications
Marybeth Schmitt, 646-336-3200