Did you know…

H&M stands for Hennes & Mauritz.

The original store opened in 1947 in Västerås, Sweden, selling women’s clothing.

The first store outside Scandinavia opened in London in 1976.

The company devotes considerable resources to increasing sustainability.

Just this week, the H&M Conscious Foundation launched the first ever Global Change Award.


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. By catalysing green, truly ground-breaking ideas, the aim of the challenge is to protect the earth’s natural resources by closing the loop for fashion. Five winners, chosen by an expert jury, will share a grant of €1 million and get access to a tailor-made innovation accelerator. The global public will be invited to distribute half of the total grant through an online vote. The result will be revealed at a grand award ceremony in Stockholm, in February 2016.

“The question for fashion is no longer What is the new black? but rather What innovative ideas can close the loop?” said Rebecca Earley, Professor in Sustainable Textile and Fashion Design at University of the Arts London, Director of its Textile Futures Research Centre and member of the Global Change Award Jury. “The Global Change Award is looking for ideas that will protect the earth’s natural resources, and I am excited to be part of it.”

The H&M Conscious Foundation is a non-profit global foundation, funded by the Stefan Persson family − founders and main owners of H&M. The mission of the Foundation is to drive long-lasting positive change and improve living conditions by investing in people, communities and innovative ideas. The Global Change Award takes on one of the biggest challenges facing today’s fashion industry: to create fashion for a growing population while reducing its impact on the environment. Neither the Foundation nor H&M will take any equity or intellectual property rights in the innovations.

“Ground-breaking, game-changing ideas can come from anywhere, so the challenge is open to anyone. Each year the Global Change Award aims to find the truly brave and bold ideas that make change. I’m also eager to see how the fashion industry as a whole will embrace the challenge of closing the loop,” said Karl-Johan Persson, board member of the H&M Conscious Foundation and CEO of H&M.

The innovation accelerator − a collaboration with Accenture and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm − will give the five winners the support and knowledge they need to actualise their ideas. Starting off with an innovation boot camp in Stockholm, provided by KTH Innovation, it will be followed up by guidance from Accenture Strategy on how to develop the winning ideas further. This includes the provision of a one-year training and coaching programme with a particular focus on circular economy. The innovation accelerator will also provide exclusive fashion industry access and offer possibilities to build networks and try out the ideas within the fashion value chain.

We think that this is a wonderful idea from H&M, as it not only confronts a very real issue but also draws immense international attention to it. From worldwide news providers to local rags, to colleges and universities, to fashion lovers and design enthusiasts, the Global Change Award will get some people designing, some people buying differently, and all of us thinking about the future of our planet and how changes in the fashion industry can make a huge difference. Well done, H&M!


Information about the Global Change Award, how to apply for a grant and updates on the challenge are available at globalchangeaward.com.


Key dates

25.08.2015: First ever Global Change Award is launched and application opens.

31.10.2015: Application closes.

01.02.2016: Five winners, selected by the expert jury, are revealed. Each winner is guaranteed €100,000. The global public is invited to distribute the other half of the total grant through an online vote.

07.02.2016: The online vote closes. Half of the total grant has been distributed between the five winners.

10.02.2016: The result of the vote is revealed at a grand award ceremony in Stockholm.


H&M Global Change Award

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