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H&M Foundation name Global Change Award winners 2023

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: H&M Foundation; Global Change Award winners 2023

The H&M Foundation, the non-profit organisation funded by the Stefan Persson family, founders and main owners of the H&M Group, has announced ten Global Change Award winners for 2023, as it doubles the number of winners and grant funding to 2 million euros to accelerate change in the fashion industry.

The Global Change Award is an early-stage innovation challenge that offers support to start-ups with impactful innovations for a planet-positive fashion future. In previous years, the foundation has selected five winners, and for the first time this has been doubled to ten to help “speed up textile industry transformation,” explains the non-profit.

The foundation has also doubled the grant to 2 million euros, offering each winner 200,000 euros to embark on the yearlong GCA Impact Accelerator. H&M Foundation together with GCA’s core partners Accenture, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and The Mills Fabrica offer each company tailored coaching and support to accelerate their journey from idea to scale.

Karl-Johan Persson, H&M Foundation board member, said in a statement: “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.

“We’re giving these innovators a total of 2 million euros and access to our accelerator programme - but we’re also giving the industry an opportunity to connect with these brilliant innovators. I’m excited to see the impact these innovators will make on the industry.”

Image: H&M Foundation; Global Change Award winner 2023 - Algreen

H&M Foundation doubles grant funding for Global Change Award winners to 2 million euros

This year’s winners include companies from the UK, Canada, India, Brazil, Kenya and the US offering material, recycling and design innovations. This includes recyclable and biodegradable polyurethane, food waste polyester, circular dyeing, natural bio-colours, ultra high-performing textiles, seaweed material, AI textile sorting, corn husk and sugarcane fabric, zero waste pattern system, textile-to-textile recycling for polyesters.

The 2023 winners are:

For material innovation, funding has been given to UK-based Algreen, which focuses on biobased foams, adhesives and coatings crafted from natural sources, and Nanoloom, a powerful high-performance fibre fuelled by graphene. There is also Alt Tex from Canada transforming food waste into biodegradable polyester and Indian KBCols Sciences which is bio-fermenting textile dyes with the magic of microorganisms. While PhycoLabs from Brazil is making seaweed fibres that spur social innovation and Rethread Africa in Kenya is regenerating agricultural waste into bio-based synthetics.

Image: H&M Foundation; Global Change Award winner 2023 - KBCols Sciences

Under the recycling category, there are two US firms, Refiberd, which is adding lightspeed and laser precision to textile sorting with AI and spectroscopy, and Tereform is enabling circular solutions for hard-to-recycle waste textiles, as well as British company DyeRecycle focused on renewing colours by extracting and transferring dyes from old to new fabrics.

There is also one company recognised in the design category, US-based SXD offering an AI-powered platform that turns design concepts into zero-waste patterns.

Christiane Dolva, strategy lead at the H&M Foundation, added: “There’s a wide range of solutions among this year’s winners. If scaled, I believe they could have a real impact on the industry – which needs a holistic transformation if we are to reach a planet positive fashion future. We look forward to working with the winners during the accelerator and help enable their innovations to accelerate and scale.”

Image: H&M Foundation; Global Change Award winner 2023 - Nanoloom
Global Change Award
H&M Foundation