New Delhi: A laundry solution that extends the life of garments, AI assisting smallholder cotton farmers to increase yield and income, an invention realising the circular recycling of elastane and polyester blends, carbon-negative viscose made from CO2 emissions, and regenerative agriculture providing a planet-friendly alternative to goose down are the five Global Change Award 2022 winners, who will share a 1 million euros grant from the non-profit H&M Foundation.
In 2015, the H&M Foundation launched the Global Change Award to transform fashion and make it more environmentally friendly in order for the industry to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. This entails identifying and funding disruptive innovations that address one or more of the earth's global commons, such as land, water, oceans, climate, and biodiversity. Because the goal is to find innovations that will result in significant change for the entire industry, the winners are free to collaborate with any actor they choose.
Actress and fashion icon Sonam Kapoor who is on the Expert Panel of the Global Change Awards 2022, stated, "The global climate crisis is affecting us all and we need to work together to ensure a healthy planet for generations to come. The fashion industry is part of this puzzle and it's an industry that radically needs to transform. With all the innovation and creativity that the Global Change Award so wonderfully brings together, I feel hopeful for the future of fashion".
"The winners of the Global Change Award hold the key to the complex challenges we are facing and prove that it's possible to reinvent fashion. Their game-changing innovations are really inspiring and can help transform the fashion industry into a planet positive one," says Karl-Johan Persson, board member of H&M Foundation and Chairman of H&M Group.
Cottonance by Wadhwani AI from India was among the winners for creating an AI solution that reduces pesticide use, increases yield and raises incomes for smallholder cotton farmers. "We are thrilled to be among the winners of the Global Change Award in 2022. Being a part of the GCA cohort and availing of the industry interactions, support and mentorship that it offers will help drive us further towards realizing our goal of improving the lives of cotton farmers in India and other developing nations," said the company's spokesperson.
The overwhelming response from applicants demonstrated that there is no shortage of disruptive innovations out there. The drive to transform the fashion industry into a planet-friendly one, to protect our planet and to improve people's living conditions has never been stronger.
In addition to the financial grant, all five winners will receive access to the one-year GCA Impact Accelerator programme offered by H&M Foundation in collaboration with Accenture, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and The Mills, which will provide the winners with invaluable coaching and support, as well as a strong network and lifelong memories. The GCA Impact Accelerator seeks to accelerate the scaling of winning ideas through business, technology, investor and innovation readiness, and industry access. It also provides winners with a variety of inspiring digital sessions and meetups at strategic locations.