PARIS — The nonprofit H&M Foundation has named the five winners of the second edition of its Global Change Award, which rewards technology concepts that make the fashion industry more sustainable.
It is asking the public to vote online between today and April 2 to determine how its grant of 1 million euros, or $1.09 million at current exchange, should be allocated between the winning projects. The voting result and the people behind the innovations will be revealed at a ceremony in Stockholm on April 5.
The winners were chosen among 2,883 submissions from 130 countries, up from 2,700 for the inaugural edition last year. The countries with the most applicants were India, the United States, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Macedonia, Indonesia, Iran and Bangladesh.
The winning ideas include a biodegradable textile made from cow manure; denim dyed using a coloring powder made of old denim; decomposable nylon made from water, plant waste and solar energy instead of oil; a digital thread that facilitates recycling; and a vegetal leather using leftovers from winemaking.
The idea that gets the most votes will receive 300,000 euros, or $326,000; the one with the second-greatest number of votes will receive 250,000 euros, or $272,000, and the third-, fourth- and fifth-placed projects will receive 150,000 euros, or $163,000, each.
The H&M 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.
“Cross-border challenges call for a cross-border approach. I am convinced that by bringing people from different industries, with different backgrounds and perspectives together we can make a fundamental shift, speeding up the transition to a circular waste-free fashion industry,” said Karl-Johan Persson, chief executive officer of H&M.
The jury of the award includes model and environmental activist Amber Valletta; Dame Ellen MacArthur, retired British sailor and founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation; Vikram Widge, head of climate and carbon finance at the World Bank Group, and Ellis Rubinstein, president and ceo at The New York Academy of Sciences.
“On a planet that is not sustainable, every industry must change its practices. The Global Change Award is one of the boldest efforts to catalyze transformation in an unsustainable industry, and H&M Foundation’s prize winners embody the enormous potential of innovative science and technology to make a difference,” said Rubinstein.
In addition to the financial grant, all five Global Change Award winners will participate in a one-year innovation accelerator provided by the H&M Foundation in partnership with Accenture and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.