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Global Change Award is an innovation challenge initiated by H&M Foundation, aiming to make fashion circular.
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Crops brings food on the plate, but the crop waste is usually burnt or just left to rot, polluting the world around us. At the same time, alternatives are needed to the fashion staple cotton, since there won’t be enough cotton to dress a growing population. Agraloop flipped the common perspective and instead of crop waste saw a valuable resource that indeed can compete with cotton in the fashion industry.

Awarded: €300,000 Year: 2018 Company: Circular Systems

The innovation in a nutshell

Making sustainable bio-textiles by using left-overs from food crop harvests.

Let us explain

Banana trees, pineapple leaves, rice straws, sugar cane stalks and seed oil from hemp and flax offer more than 250 million tons of fiber each year – equal to 2.5 times the current global fiber demand.

However, most of this valuable resource is seen as waste and left to rot, creating methane pollution and crop disease. If not left to rot, the crops are often burnt, attributing to 10% of all air pollution deaths every year.

Agraloop thought differently and turned the problem into a solution by seeing this waste as a valuable resource. Their innovation is to transform food crop waste into high-value natural fiber products, in a cost competitive and scalable way. This process also generates an additional income to the farmers.

Since winning the award

Agraloop completed a Seed Round and have since achieved several milestones, including a successful pilot in China where 6,000 kilos of food crop biomass were processed. The outcome – high quality fiber and fabrics – has been used for market development activities. New partnerships have been signed with Levis, Outerknown and Veja Shoes, and negotiations are held with several other major brands.

The very first Agraloop garment was a chic off-shoulder dress made for Bandana Tewari, Contributor to the Business of Fashion, at the Global Change Award Ceremony in April 2019.

A new fundraising round will start in August 2019, which will push the optimisation and commercial development further.

“The Agraloop will kick-off a new paradigm for natural fiber by levering food crop waste for textile fiber production. We seek to help our industry begin to decouple from cotton as the world’s dominant natural fiber resource. Winning the Global Change Award means we can begin to unlock huge value for the textile and fashion industry. We can now propel this important technology much faster into scaled production. The grant will be used for optimizing our closed-loop technology, protecting IP, and beginning to produce commercial Agraloop BioFibre™ fiber productions,” says Isaac Nichelson.

Team members: Yitzac Goldstein, Geof Kime and Isaac Nichelson
Country: USA
Company: Circular Systems/Agraloop

“Winning the Global Change Award means we can begin to unlock huge value for the textile and fashion industry."
Isaac Nichelson