Biodiversity and the fashion industry are one and the same, any degradation of the ecosystem will have a direct impact on the fashion industry. Therefore, with the theme of "Biodiversity and Beyond", this year's award aims to promote the development of green innovation in the fashion industry, and play an active role in the conservation and restoration of biodiversity.
After a six-month selection, three Chinese start-ups, Peelsphere, OTEX and Zeno Technology, stood out in the Kering Generation Award. Peelsphere won the first prize, taking home €100,000 for its innovative material based on both renewable seaweed, plant and fruit waste; the second prize-winning start-up, OTEX, concentrates on soil health, is noted for its organic and natural textiles. Zeno Technology won third place for an innovative technology that uses new generation biotechnology to cover the whole process from dye production to printing.
“There is a new generation of talent ready to transform the fashion industry and Kering is proud to support them in China, thanks to the Kering Generation Award.” said Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability and Institutional Affairs Officer, Kering. “As a leader of the industry, it is our duty to lead the conversation when it comes to sustainability and I am happy to say this year’s award has seen a renewed series of impressive innovations on biodiversity and conservation.” said Cai Jinqing, President, Greater China, Kering.
This year's award centres on issues related to biodiversity and beyond. Biodiversity refers to the ecological environment composed of all living things on the earth, which is of vital importance to mankind. In June 2020, Kering launched its first ever biodiversity strategy with a series of new targets to achieve a "net positive" impact on biodiversity by 2025, including the launch of the “Regenerative Fund of Nature” with the Conservation International to support the fashion industry's transition to regenerative agriculture.
“There is a new generation of talent ready to transform the fashion industry and Kering is proud to support them in China, thanks to the Kering Generation Award.” said Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability and Institutional Affairs Officer, Kering. “As a leader of the industry, it is our duty to lead the conversation when it comes to sustainability and I am happy to say this year’s award has seen a renewed series of impressive innovations on biodiversity and conservation.”
"The second edition of the Kering Generation Award welcomed more applications from Chinese start-ups when it comes to innovative solutions. It shows that the overall awareness on sustainable fashion in China is growing. We are seeing more start-ups driven by technical innovations and surprisingly disruptive technologies, and they are demonstrating China's innovative strength." said Zhao Chen, Executive Vice President and Managing Partner of Plug and Play China.
The second “Kering Generation Award” Jury Panel was composed of leading figures with extensive experience and knowledge in the fields of fashion, luxury, entrepreneurship, sustainability and innovation. Also, the second “Kering Generation Award” established an Advisory Board comprising pioneers in the field of business and sustainability.
In addition to the €100,000 prize for the top winner, the top three award-winning start-ups will also be introduced to industry leaders as well as access to funding opportunities; meetings with and mentorship from Kering sustainability experts and other industry experts; access to Kering’s global network. Since its successful launch in 2019, the "Kering Generation Award" has ushered in an upgrade and return in 2021. In particular, Kering has entered into a collaboration with the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) to offer the top 10 finalist companies the opportunity to participate in an acceleration camp to enhance their entrepreneurial capabilities and a pitch session to present their entrepreneurial ideas and developments to an Advisory Panel and Jury Board.
At the “Kering Generation Award” ceremony, Cai Jingqing, President of Kering Greater China; Yuanyuan Liu, Founder of Melephant (founder of the champion company of the first “Kering Generation Award”); Zhao Chen, Executive Vice President and Managing Partner of Plug and Play China and Zhang Na, Founder of ReClothing Bank joined together to share their unique insights at Kering Generation Talk under the topic of Fostering Innovation for Sustainability in Fashion.
A series of interactive discussions ranging from the importance of Chinese innovations to the global fashion industry, to Chinese consumers’ attitude shift towards sustainability, and the significant role of the “Kering Generation Award” for the industry’s transformation were well-received by the audience with enthusiastic responses, leading all to a deeper reflection on the future of the sustainable innovations on biodiversity in fashion.
A global Luxury group, Kering manages the development of a series of renowned Houses in Fashion, Leather Goods, Jewelry and Watches: Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Brioni, Boucheron, Pomellato, DoDo, Qeelin, Ulysse Nardin, Girard-Perregaux, as well as Kering Eyewear. Kering takes imagination and creativity as its core strategy and is committed to driving its brands to boldly innovate and challenge the limits, while at the same time using sustainable and responsible business models to jointly create a bright future for the luxury goods industry. This concept also echoes the Kering's creed "Empowering Imagination". Kering has revenues of 13.1 billion euros in 2020 and has more than 38,000 employees worldwide.
About the second “Kering Generation Award”
The second “Kering Generation Award” focuses on biodiversity and beyond, seeking start-ups working in the areas of ensuring clean water, building healthy soil, supporting wildlife and animal welfare as well as empowering people with knowledge of links between fashion and nature:
• Ensuring clean water: Freshwater ecosystems and the wildlife that depend on them are some of the most endangered in the water. One of fashion’s biggest impact is through the chemical pollution that flows from some of its manufacturing processes into river and the ocean. Innovations of printing &dyeing, tanning process, green chemistry can avoid chemical pollution.
• Building soil health: Healthy soil is the most fundamental “ecosystem service”, as much of food and fashion material are produced through agriculture. Innovation of regenerative agriculture and precision agriculture can improve soil health in agriculture.
• Protecting wild animals and animal welfare: Most farming does not allow native wildlife to flourish and/or move across the landscape. Also, many modern day intensive farming practices are fundamentally not suited to ensuring the best welfare for animals. Innovative approaches can support conservation of nature and animal welfare.
• Empowering people with knowledge of links between fashion and nature: Ultimately the only way to transform fashion’s impacts on nature to something positive will be through building awareness with clients and consumers. Innovative communication on “authentic” sustainability, sustainable design and traceability can educate and inspire consumers for their fashion choices that can support nature.
About Plug and Play China
Plug and Play started its business at 165 University Avenue, Palo Alto, CA in 1998. Since then, the company successfully invested and incubated many internet giants including PayPal, Google, Dropbox, etc. Plug and Play was formally established in Silicon Valley in 2006 and has regional offices in over 30 countries and regions worldwide. It has invested in over 1,500 startups globally.
Founded in 2015, Plug and Play China currently has 3 regional innovation centers in Beijing (China HQ), Shanghai and Shenzhen. There are 4 main business fuctions across Plug and Play China’s innovation platform including corporate innovation, city innovation, tech investment, and innovation space. Till now, the company has engaged with 140 industry-leading corporations, accelerated over 1700 startups, and has invested in over 150 startups including ApplyBoard, AutoX, Flexiv, ZiFiSense, etc.
China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) was co-founded by the Chinese government and European Union (EU) in 1994, with Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the EFMD serving as its executive partners. CEIBS has campuses in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Accra in Ghana, and Zurich in Switzerland. As China’s only business school to originate from government-level collaboration, CEIBS is committed to educating responsible leaders versed in “China Depth, Global Breadth” in line with its motto of “Conscientiousness, Innovation and Excellence”. Leaders from the Chinese central government and the EU, respectively, have lauded CEIBS as “a cradle of excellent executives” and “a role model of EU-China co-operation”.
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