Green Nettle Textile was this year awarded almost $170,000 as part of the $1.1 million Global Change Award, a fashion innovation challenge initiated by H&M Foundation in collaboration with management consulting firm Accenture and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. Described by some as the Nobel Prize for sustainable fashion, the award seeks to disrupt the fashion industry by choosing early stage ideas and incubating them towards the goal of an environmentally-conscious, circular fashion instead of a wasteful, linear model.
This year, the competition received 6,640 entries from 182 countries, with a tremendous increase in entrances from emerging markets. Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa were among the top 10 nations that submitted entries for the award.
Green Nettle won the award along with four other firms that made expanding children’s clothes (United Kingdom), a biodegradable vegan leather (Peru), a digital system that helps make garments recyclable from sketch to scrap (Germany) besides a toxic-free membrane for outdoor wear (Switzerland). Besides financial support, the winners will also get access to a mentorship program that will take them to markets including Sweden, Hong Kong, and the United States.
“Winning the Global Change Award and the grant means our project will get the global recognition and credibility we need to scale up our business and engage more local partners. The mentorship gives us opportunities to improve our production lines and, in the end, our, production costs. The grant however, will be used to prepay farmers, improve our production facilities, benchmarking and research,” says Jonah Mwangi from Green Nettle Textile."