European Commission launches Social Innovation Competition

21 Jan '20
2 min read
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock

The European Commission recently announced the launch of the 2020 European Social Innovation Competition under the theme ‘Reimagine Fashion: Changing behaviours for sustainable fashion’. It is looking for early stage projects that will change the way we produce, buy, use and recycle fashion and encourage a more sustainable change in consumer behaviour.

The competition is open to entrants from across the European Union (EU) member states and Horizon 2020 associated countries until the application deadline on March 4. A jury will select three winning ideas in November, each of which will receive an award of €50,000.

“European consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of their consumer habits. Building on Europe’s position at the forefront of global fashion, this year’s social innovation competition is looking for innovations that change the ways we produce, use and wear fashion and encourage more sustainability across the fashion industry,” says Slawomir Tokarski, director of innovation and advanced manufacturing at the EU’s directorate general for internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises (DG GROW).

The aim of the 2020 competition is to improve the environmental and social impact of fashion. EU citizens on average buy more than 12 kg of clothing every year, the production of which contributes 195 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and uses 46 billion cubic meters of water. Clothing accounts for between 2 per cent and 10 per cent of the environmental impact of overall EU consumption.

At the same time, more than 30 per cent of clothes in Europeans' wardrobes have not been used for at least a year. Once discarded, over half the garments are not recycled, but end up in mixed household waste and are subsequently sent to incinerators or landfill.

To address these issues, this year’s competition is looking for ideas that contribute to improving the sustainable production, use and consumption of fashion as well as the end of life stage of fashion products, according to an official release.

The competition will complement several measures the Commission has already implemented to address the problem of sustainability in fashion.

The competition is organised by the European Commission with support from Nesta Challenges, Kennisland, Ashoka Spain, the European Network of Living Labs and Scholz & Friends.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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