The Finnish team behind project to enable waste cotton to be recycled into new textile has won the first Global Change Award, an annual innovation challenge for to move the fashion industry to a more circular economy approach initiated by the non-profit H&M Conscious Foundation.
Out of some 2700 entries, five winners received awards presented by HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
at a ceremony in y in Stockholm, Sweden.
The winners were decided by a combination of an expert panel and a public online vote. First prize was accompanied by a grant of €300,000, followed by €250,000 for second place and €150,000 each for third to fifth places.
The grants were awarded as follows:
- €300,000: Making waste-cotton new - conversion of waste-cotton into new textile. Innovation team lead: Michael Hummel, Finland. (31% of the votes)
- €250,000: The polyester digester - using microbes to recycle waste polyester textile. Innovation team lead: Akshay Sethi, U.S. (22% of the votes)
- €150,000: An online market for textile leftovers - a marketplace for industrial upcycling of spill in production. Innovation team lead: Ann Runnel, Estonia. (18% of the votes)
- €150,000: 100 percent citrus - creating new textile out of citrus juice production by-products. Innovation team lead: Enrica Arena, Italy. (15% of the votes)
- €150,000: Growing textile fibre under water - utilizing algae to make renewable textile. Innovator: Tjeerd Veenhoven, the Netherlands. (14% of the votes).
A video featuring interviews with a number of winners and guests at the awards can be viewed on WMW’s YouTube channel below.
“This prestigious grant will allow us to lift our technology closer to an industrially viable level,” commented says Michael Hummel, spokesperson for the Finnish team behind Making waste-cotton new - conversion of waste-cotton into new textile.
“Now we will focus on the further development of technical details, in particular the solvent recovery to ensure economic competitiveness and complete environmental friendliness of our process,” he added.
Inspired by the response from the global innovation community, and to spark impact beyond the five winners, the Foundation said that it has now launched the Global Change Award Network, a public digital space where teams and ideas can grow.
“When the application period closed, we sat with thousands of amazing ideas,” commented says Karl-Johan Persson, board member of the H&M Conscious Foundation and CEO of H&M. “So we decided to create the Global Change Award Network. You can look at it as a matchmaking site, where innovators can present their ideas, get feedback, make contacts and maybe investors can even find the next big thing. A digital greenhouse for innovative ideas,”
Jennie Perzon Strategy Program Lead, Accenture added: “The level of innovation that we have seen throughout this process is truly inspiring and we aim to advance the strategic business growth of the five Global Change Award winners by guiding and coaching them through the Innovation Accelerator to develop their ideas further.”
“For KTH, it is a matter of both urgency and privilege to be a partner to Global Change Award, as we are facing extreme environmental challenges. Supporting this effort and being part of a better future is the obvious course for KTH to take. We are excited to kick off the accelerator program and get to know the five winning innovators,” says Lisa Ericsson, Head of KTH Innovation.
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