PARIS — The H&M Conscious Foundation handed 300,000 euros to a Finnish team that developed a new cotton out of waste fabrics as part of its inaugural Global Change Awards.
Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, handed the top prize Thursday evening to Michael Hummel, who received 31 percent of votes from the public.
The awards are to recognize innovations that can make the fashion industry more sustainable.
Akshay Sethi headed a team from the United States that pocketed 250,000 euros for developing a microbe that breaks down polyester waste, while 150,000 euro awards went to: Anna Runnel of Estonia for her online marketplace for upcycling textile leftovers; Italy’s Enrica Arena, head of a team that developed a yarn from citrus fruits, and Tjeerd Veenhoven of Holland for a fabric grown using algae.
Launched last August, the competition attracted 2,700 entries from 112 countries, a field narrowed to five by experts from Swedish university KTH Royal Institute of Technology, management consultancy Accenture plc and a jury whose members included model Amber Valletta and Italian Vogue editor in chief Franca Sozzani.
Some 22,500 cast votes online to determine how to divide the 1 million euros of prize money, with most of the voters located in Germany, the U.S., Holland, Sweden, Italy, Russia, France, China, England and Finland.
Dovetailing from the awards, H&M said it would establish the Global Change Award Network, an online showcase for innovations inviting discussion and possibly investors.
The H&M Conscious Foundation was founded by the family of Swedish billionaire Stefan Persson, the chairman and main shareholder in fast-fashion chain Hennes & Mauritz AB, which was founded by his father Erling Persson and is run by his son, Karl-Johan Persson.