H&M Foundation launches third annual Global Change Award

EUR 1 million grant and coaching program to reinvent the entire fashion industry

The annual Global Change Award, initiated by the non-profit H&M Foundation, aims to protect our planet and living conditions by accelerating the shift from a linear to a circular fashion industry. The five winners share a EUR 1 million grant, along with a one-year innovation accelerator program providing tailor-made support and invaluable access to the fashion industry. Last year, more than 2800 applications from 130 countries were submitted. Now the third round opens for applications at http://www.globalchangeaward.com

The Global Change Award is one of the world’s biggest challenges for early stage innovation and the first such initiative in the fashion industry. Some of last year’s winning innovations were leather made of wine making leftovers, digital threads weaved into garments to ease the recycling processes and climate positive nylon made from water, plant waste and solar energy. Neither the non-profit H&M Foundation nor the H&M group take any equity or intellectual property rights in the innovations, as the aim is to influence the whole fashion industry.

“Now in its third year, the Global Change Award has really become a positive force in the fashion industry. It has proven to be a true catalyst for the winners, giving them support and access to a valuable network so they can bring their innovations to the market quicker and better prepared. I’m really curious to see what disruptive innovations we will receive this time,” says Karl-Johan Persson, board member of the H&M Foundation and CEO of H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB.

An Expert Panel with extensive knowledge within fashion, environment, circularity and innovation selects the five winners, and it’s then up to the public to distribute the €1million grant through an online vote. Besides sharing the grant, the winners are provided with a one-year Global Change Award Accelerator Program that will speed up the development of their innovations and maximize the impact on the industry. The program will take the teams to Stockholm, New York and Shanghai, and is provided by the H&M Foundation in partnership with Accenture, one of the world’s leading strategy and consulting companies, and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, one of Europe’s leading technical and engineering universities.

“Sustainable and responsible consumption is the way forward. We must find better ways to make what we use, and wisely use what we have. The Global Change Award is an important initiative to drive this forward. By intentionally and thoughtfully reusing, recycling, and repurposing, we can drive significant and radical improvements to our world,” says Professor Edwin Keh, Chief Executive Officer, The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel and member of the Expert Panel.

“Winning the Global Change Award opens a lot of significant doors and provides a powerful boost through funding, coaching, access and validation that you probably can’t find elsewhere. If you want to reinvent one of the largest industries in the world, this is the place to go,” says Erik Bang, Program Manager Global Change Award, H&M Foundation.

“We began this journey with the H&M Foundation two years ago, and it has been particularly interesting to see the increasing utilization of digital technologies in the Global Change Award innovations. As the results of the accelerator program start to come to fruition, we think there is a huge opportunity to incorporate these types of new innovations into the fashion industry’s business models. Our belief is that technology can provide some critical solutions to the sustainability challenges the industry is facing and we can’t wait to see what ground-breaking ideas year three will bring,” says
Jill Standish, Senior Managing Director and Head of Accenture’s Global Retail practice.

“With the framework and tools that KTH provide as part of the Accelerator program, entrepreneurs can reduce development times by months or even years and ensure that the ideas they ultimately run with are the ones that will succeed on the market. In early innovation phases, like the Global Change Award, it’s just as much about supporting the people as it is about supporting their ideas. Our KTH Innovation Readiness Model gives winners a roadmap covering all major aspects of development and this, together with the grant, is what we believe will set them on the path to building a sustainable future,” says Lisa Ericsson, Head of KTH Innovation at KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

Launch film: https://youtu.be/6bkBqT0AcDM, update on winners: https://goo.gl/TVSaQg.


Bandana Tewari, Editor-at-large, Vogue India

Chiling Lin, Actress and sustainability influencer

Dame Ellen MacArthur, Founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

David Roberts: Founder of Exponential Leadership, Chairman in 1Qbit Information Technologies Inc.

Edwin Keh, Chief Executive Officer of The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel

Lewis Perkins, President Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute

Sophia Bendz, Executive in residence at Atomico

Steven Kolb, President and CEO The Council of Fashion Designers of America

Vikram Widge, Head, Climate Finance & Policy, IFC, World Bank Group

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Youth Director, Earth Guardians

Sept. 13, 2017 – Oct. 31, 2017 Apply at globalchangeaward.com
Nov. 1, 2017 – Mar. 1, 2018 Screening and selection
Mar. 12, 2018 – Mar. 16, 2018 Public online vote at globalchangeaward.com
Mar. 20, 2018 Grand Award Ceremony, Stockholm, Sweden
Mar. 20, 2018 – Mar. 20, 2019 Innovation Accelerator Program

Global Change Award is an innovation challenge initiated by the non-profit H&M Foundation in 2015. By catalysing early innovations that can accelerate the shift from a linear to a circular fashion industry, the aim is to protect the planet and our living conditions. Global Change Award is one of the world’s biggest challenges for early stage innovations. Five winners share a EUR 1 million grant and a one-year tailor-made accelerator program. Neither the H&M Foundation nor the company H&M take any equity or intellectual property rights in the innovations. The aim is to influence the fashion industry as a whole.

H&M Foundation is privately funded by the Stefan Persson family, founders and main owners of H&M. Since 2013, the family has donated SEK 1.3 billion (USD 177 million/EUR 144 million) to the Foundation, aiming to improve living conditions for people on a global scale.