STOCKHOLM – Grant funding worth €2 million will be split equally between the ten fashion industry innovators selected as winners of the Global Change Award 2023, run annually by H&M Foundation.
Novel materials and technological breakthroughs dominate this year’s winners list, which features firms from Asia, North America, South America, Africa and the UK.
All ten are now set to join a yearlong accelerator scheme in addition to receiving their €200,000 prize money.
Launched in 2015, the Global Change Award (GCA) is a worldwide innovation challenge which H&M Foundation says aims to turn “the entire textile industry planet positive” by fast-tracking fledgling companies with ambitions to reduce the sector’s environmental impacts.
This year’s ten winners – double the number in previous years – have devised a “wide range of solutions” that if scaled up could have “real impact on the industry,” according to Christiane Dolva, H&M Foundation’s strategy lead.
Global Change Award 2023 winners
- Algreen (UK) – Biobased foams, adhesives and coatings crafted from natural sources
- ALT TEX (Canada) – From waste to wardrobe: transforming food waste into biodegradable polyester
- KBCols Sciences (India) – Bio-fermenting textile dyes with the magic of microorganisms
- Nanoloom (UK) – Powerful high performance-fibre fuelled by graphene
- PhycoLabs (Brazil) – Oceans of opportunity: making seaweed fibres that spur social innovation
- Rethread Africa (Kenya) – Regenerating agricultural waste into bio-based synthetics
- DyeRecycle (UK) – Renewed colours: extracting and transferring dyes from old to new fabrics
- Refiberd (US) – Adding lightspeed and laser precision to textile sorting with AI and spectroscopy
- Tereform (US) – Enabling circular solutions for hard-to-recycle waste textiles
- SXD (US) – AI-powered platform turning design concepts into zero-waste patterns
Each of the 2023 winners receive a grant of €200,000 and a place on the 12-month GCA Impact Accelerator, which provides guidance and coaching from Accenture, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and The Mills Fabrica.
“We have an urgent opportunity to support innovations that could transform the entire fashion industry – that’s why we’re doubling the grant and the number of winners,” noted Karl-Johan Persson, H&M Foundation board member and chair of H&M Group.
One of a trio of British winners in this year’s GCA, London-based Algreen has been recognised for its invention of a bio-based polyurethane, typically used in the textile industry for making foam, adhesive and waterproof coatings.
Zhixuan Wang, CEO and founder of Algreen, hopes that the company’s creation can be used in place of petrol chemicals. “By replacing one per cent of petrol-based polyurethane,” he states, “Algreen eliminates 88 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent annually.”