From 6th to 9th June 2023, a team from LightCastle Partners visited Stockholm, Sweden for a series of meetings and networking events with innovators, industry leaders, and investors at the invitation of H&M Group and H&M Foundation. They were joined by other members from the “Oporajita” project representing ygap Bangladesh and The Asia Foundation.
The visit entailed collaborative knowledge exchange with members from “Saamuhika Shakti”— H&M Foundation’s collective impact project in India, H&M CO:LAB — a venture fund aimed at the latest innovations in fashion and sustainability, H&M Group’s sustainability team, and the organizers and winning teams of the Global Change Award. There was also an in-depth conversation held with H&M Group CEO Helena Helmersson and former CEO of Unilever and co-author of “Net Positive” Paul Polman.
The Open Perspectives showcased 20 innovators from all around the world, who are moving the needle towards a more inclusive and planet-positive textile industry. It brought together more than 300 guests representing brands, suppliers, NGOs, entrepreneurs and academia. The LightCastle team connected with interesting innovators who would be lending their voice in shaping the ongoing study and upcoming policy conversation about the future of the RMG industry.
The Global Change Award, dubbed the Nobel Prize of Fashion, celebrated the latest innovations, from creating fiber from graphene, using bio waste to create new textile and fabric, recycling dye, to the use of artificial intelligence for more efficient cutting techniques — everything was aimed at celebrating the leaps needed to create a sustainable future for people, plant, and fashion. The BGMEA President Mr Faruque Hassan also attended the event.
With the ongoing shift in the apparel sector, the Oporajita project aims to prepare women apparel workers in Bangladesh for a future where the apparel industry is defined by automation and digitalization to safeguard their livelihoods.
Zahedul Amin, Director of Finance, Strategy, and Consulting Services, and Radi Shafiq, Portfolio Manager, took part in the events on behalf of LightCastle Partners. As part of the two-year-long program, the LightCastle team is conducting extensive scenario mapping, assessing policy imperatives, arranging a dialogue series, facilitating partnerships with cross-sector stakeholders, and hosting national-level events with innovators, industry leaders, and policymakers.