Championing innovations in the textiles, apparel, and agrifood industries as official nominator of The Earthshot Prize
HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach – 5 October 2023 – The Mills Fabrica‘s portfolio companies Circ and Colorifix have been selected as Finalists – out of 1,100 nominees globally – for The 2023 Earthshot Prize, one of the most prestigious global environmental prizes in history.
Founded by Prince William in 2020, The Earthshot Prize leads a global search for extraordinary solutions to the world’s greatest environmental challenges. It considers solutions that make tangible progress towards one of the five Earthshots, including “Protect & Restore Nature”, “Clean Our Air”, “Revive Our Oceans”, “Build A Waste-Free World”, and “Fix Our Climate”.
Among the 15 Finalists announced by Prince William during New York Climate Week, Circ and Colorifix are two of the Finalists in the “Build a Waste-Free World” Earthshot. Under this category, Earthshot recognizes innovative solutions that eliminate food waste and single-use packaging, and inspire a new generation of people, companies, and industries to reuse, repurpose, and recycle.
Championing innovators with a unique solutions platform that goes beyond capital support
The Mills Fabrica, the go-to solutions platform accelerating techstyle (the intersection between technology and lifestyle) and agrifood tech innovations for sustainability, has been an Official Nominator of The Earthshot Prize since 2022. Each year, The Mills Fabrica is invited to nominate individuals, communities, businesses, and organizations whose solutions make the most progress towards achieving the five Earthshots.
In 2022, The Mills Fabrica nominated Hong Kong startup Ampd Energy, which became the first Hong Kong finalist of The Earthshot Prize. The company had invented an electric energy storage system using lithium-ion batteries that could power construction sites.
“As an Official Nominator of The Earthshot Prize, we are thrilled that Circ and Colorifix can further showcase how their ground-breaking solutions are transforming the techstyle industry. The Mills Fabrica is also pleased to be the official nominator for our capability and expertise in identifying and supporting solutions to the world’s greatest environmental challenges,” said Cintia Nunes, General Manager and Head of Asia, The Mills Fabrica.
“We will continue to be laser-focused on providing investments and tailored support to ambitious innovators and businesses within the textiles, apparel, and agrifood industries. As with our partnership with the Earthshot Prize, we are excited to continue our work with our network of NGOs, businesses, governments, funders and expert mentors to create a planet-positive impact,” she adds.
Circ and Colorifix are part of The Mills Fabrica’s continuous effort in supporting innovative and disruptive technologies in the techstyle and agrifood industries. The Mills Fabrica provided support to both companies through its venture capital fund, its startup incubator, Fabrica X, an innovation gallery and retail impact store, various labs, and co-working spaces across Hong Kong and London. In addition to leveraging its capital, it also deployed a team of global industry experts and connections to manufacturers, retailers, and other like-minded investors to bring their vision to the masses.
Circ – on a mission to save the planet from the cost of clothing
Circ pioneered a hydrothermal processing technology that utilizes water, pressure, and responsible chemistry to turn polycotton – what the majority of clothes are made of – back into its respective raw material. Preserving and separating the polyester without damaging the cotton Circ’s patented process allows both materials to be reused in the production of new textiles, while also reducing carbon emissions substantially.
This represents a breakthrough in chemical recycling technology, fundamentally changing the way textile waste is viewed, moving away from a source of pollution to a source of valuable raw material. As of June 2023, Circ has diverted 103 tonnes of textile waste from landfills back into circulation, preventing 130,000 kg of carbon dioxide emissions. In April 2023, it also launched a collection made from polycotton textile waste with Zara to bring sustainable fashion.
“The Mills Fabrica team has been a strong supporter of Circ since their initial investment. They have provided a robust network and helped us to spread the message of what we are doing far beyond our existing geographic reach. They embody a collaborative approach – regularly bringing us new opportunities to help further our mission of protecting the planet from the cost of clothing. The sustainable fashion startup community that The Mills Fabrica has fostered and built allows us, Circ, to extend our reach,” said Luke Henning, the Chief Business Officer of Circ.
Colorifix – the world’s first biological colorant that’s radically less polluting at every stage
Colorifix has developed the first-ever biological process to produce, deposit and fix pigments onto textiles. Using DNA sequencing, it identifies where the colour is coded in the genetics of an organism in nature, and then they translate the DNA code into Colorifix’s own engineered microorganisms, enabling them to produce the pigment and transfer it to the fabric. Their process offers a radically different solution to existing dyeing technologies that entirely cut out harsh chemicals and lead to huge reductions in water consumption, saving up to 79% water. Colorifix has brought their bio-based dyes to the mainstream with brands like Pangaia, H&M, and Vollebak.
“Ever since Colorifix was founded, we have been on a journey to harness the power of nature and create better solutions for the planet. Being named a Finalist for The Earthshot Prize 2023 is an incredible honour and milestone for us. Changing an industry requires a lot of collaboration and great partnerships, which is why we are so grateful for the continuous support from The Mills Fabrica. We look forward to continuing the journey of changing the fashion industry together,” said Orr Yarkoni, the CEO of Colorifix.
The five Winners will be announced on November 7, 2023 in Singapore and will receive £1 million in prize money to scale their impact.
Scouting for Innovative Startups with Planet-Positive Solutions for 2024’s Earthshot Prize
The Mills Fabrica is now calling for individuals, communities, businesses, and organizations with solutions that can help achieve the five Earthshots to join next year’s Earthshot Prize. Starting today, innovators can submit their applications through https://bit.ly/MillsFabrica_TEP2024.
The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.
About The Mills Fabrica
The Mills Fabrica is a go-to solutions platform accelerating techstyle and agrifood tech innovations for sustainability. Officially launched in Hong Kong in December 2018, The Mills is a landmark revitalization project by the Nan Fung Group, transforming their old textile factories into a new heritage, experiential retail, and innovation centre. With its business incubator, investment fund, spaces in Hong Kong and London, and community-building initiatives, The Mills Fabrica aims to create success stories of collaborations between innovators, entrepreneurs, and corporates, that together, will drive positive change for future generations.