BACK AT IT: The H&M Foundation’s Global Change award has returned this year and is now accepting applications.
The award singles out early-stage innovations and was first created in 2015; it was paused last year due to the pandemic. The H&M Foundation started the award in conjunction with Accenture and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology. All three parties review the candidates’ entries with input from an international panel of authorities who have expertise about the global commons, fashion business, investments, entrepreneurship and innovation.
As in years past, five winners will share the 1 million euros award. The Global Change Award 2022 will be given to solutions that address land, water, oceans, climate and biodiversity issues. The awards will be given for things that are not yet on the market or that have not yet been implemented.
Erik Bang, innovation lead at the H&M Foundation, said, ”The GCA is all about speed, scale and impact. We are now raising the bar and taking a more holistic approach in order for the fashion industry to achieve radical change before 2030 and fulfill the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
The award was temporarily put on ice due to the coronavirus crisis and to focus on supporting previous winners and broaden the project. Discussions were held with different thought leaders about how GCA could be more impactful with the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in mind, Bang said. “It became clear that while circularity is continuously important, we also need to address the earth’s global commons — land, water, oceans, climate and biodiversity — to help transform the industry before 2030,” he said.
Although the grant is financed by the H&M Foundation, neither the foundation nor the H&M Group will take any equity or intellectual property rights in the innovations, Bang said. The award is meant to benefit the entire industry and therefore each innovator can decide with whom they want to develop their innovation with.
The importance of sharing innovative solutions is paramount, according to Bang. “We firmly believe industrywide adoption and momentum is key to achieve a sustainable transformation of the fashion industry,” he said.