Expert panel for Global Change Award

PARISHennes & Mauritz AB named the five winners of its Global Change Award, and asked the public to vote online for one of them to help split the 1 million euro prize.

The fashion industry, including fast-fashion groups that offer inexpensive clothing at cutthroat prices, is under pressure to rein in waste as public awareness of environmental issues gains ground.

Winners were: Crop-A-Porter, which makes textile from food crop harvest leftovers; Algae Apparel, which uses algae as a dye; Smart Stitch, which makes dissolvable thread; The Regenerator, which separates cotton and polyester blends for recycling, and Fungi Fashion, which makes clothes from decomposing mushroom roots.

“All industries need to re-think, innovate and challenge status quo,” said H&M chief executive officer and board member Karl-Johan Persson.

The company noted that applicants offered a broad range of ideas, but that most of the solutions came from outside the fashion industry.

“This year’s Global Change Award winners are about disrupting business-as-usual to help transition us to a low-carbon and circular economy,” noted Vikram Widge, who heads climate finance and policy for the International Finance Corporation, and was a member of the award’s jury.

The winner of the public vote in the competition, now in its third year, will be announced on March 20 at a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden. Winners get access to a one-year accelerator program organized by the H&M Foundation, Accenture and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Online voting by the public takes place between March 12 and 16. The winner of the most votes gets 300,000 euros, the runner-up is awarded 250,000 euros and the remaining three get 150,000 euros each.

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