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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Meet 5 More Disruptors That Could Transform Fashion as We Know It

The H&M Foundation has unveiled the latest crop of innovators to earn its Global Change Award. The five startups share a €1 million prize pot and will participate in the Foundation’s Innovation Acceleration Program.

This week, the H&M Foundation unveiled the latest crop of innovators to earn its Global Change Award , which some are calling the ‘Nobel Prize of sustainable fashion.’

In a time when most of the world has been rocked by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation says it’s more important than ever to keep supporting long-term development, innovation and entrepreneurship for a sustainable future and fashion industry. 

The winners of the fifth annual Global Change Award were plucked from 5,893 entries from 175 countries: 

€300,000 winner: 

Incredible Cotton by GALY (US/Brazil). We’ve heard of lab-grown meat — now, meet lab-grown cotton. This agritech firm is using biotechnology to grow cotton in a lab — which eliminates the need for the millions of acres of land, and tons of water and chemicals used in conventional cotton production. GALY’s cotton grows 10x faster, using only 20 percent of the resources:

€250,000 winner: 

Feature Fibres by Werewool (US). They use the protein DNA from sources such as coral, oyster shells and jellyfish — without harming the organism — to create next-generation fabrics with natural colors, stretch and other features. 

€150,000 winners: 

Tracing Threads by TextileGenesis (India). Further enhancing the traceability of textiles — this company uses blockchain technology to track sustainable fibers, giving each fabric a unique identity or "fabric coin" that stays intact no matter how many times the fabric is used or recycled:

Zero Sludge by SeaChange Technologies (US). They've created a smart gadget to connect to textile factory systems to enable the separating and cleaning of wastewater to eliminate the hundreds of tons of toxic sludge produced daily by the fashion industry:

Airwear by Fairbrics (France). We’ve found ways to convert greenhouse gases into everything from plastic to vodka; so, naturally, textiles weren’t far behind — this startup converts CO2 into sustainable polyester:

Learn more about the winners and the Award here.