SPARK | Stella McCartney for HULT PRIZE
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Stella McCartney for HULT PRIZE

Spark secured sustainable fashion pioneer and designer Stella McCartney to attend the HULT PRIZE global finals in Paris which was all about making the fashion industry more sustainable.

Stella McCartney was interviewed on stage where she talked about starting out, and how pioneering her approach was to work without fur and animal leather and using natural sustainable resources in fashion. She announced the 2023 winners and met with all the other finalists.

Now in it’s 14th year, the annual Hult Prize challenges student social entrepreneurs from around the world to create and launch businesses aimed at tackling some of society’s most pressing issues. Ideas must create measurable positive impact on people and the planet and support the United Nations in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Each year, different challenges are posed to student participants and past themes have included how to address healthcare, food insecurity, early childhood education, and water access issues.

Banofi Leather, started by student entrepreneurs from Yale University, won the prestigious $1 million Hult Prize. Banofi converts banana crop waste into vegan, sustainable, and cruelty-free leather as a way to bring more sustainability to the clothing and fashion industry, which was the theme of the 2023 Hult Prize. That industry is the world’s third-largest manufacturing sector, employs a sixth of the world’s workforce, and is responsible for up to eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.The Hult Prize Foundation awarded this year’s Prize on September 22, 2023 at Le Trianon et L’Élysée Montmartre in Paris, France. Five runners-up, including startup GRAFF Inc., which was founded by students on the Hult International Business School Boston campus, each received $100,000 to continue development of their social enterprises. The Hult Prize started at Hult International Business School in 2010 and the school’s pedagogy and commitment to experiential learning remain embedded in how the competition works. The annual Prize is funded by the Hult family, founders and owners of EF Education First.

The esteemed judging panel at this year’s event included Olivier Gabet, Director of the Department of Objects of Art at the Louvre, Sweaty Betty Founder Tamara Hill-Norton, fashion environmentalist and interdisciplinary designer Runa Ray, and several others.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton announced the theme of next year’s competition via pre-recorded video: “Hult Prize Unlimited.” The 2024 challenge will be open to any student team aiming to tackle challenges outlined in the UN SDGs.

Spark contacted, negotiated and drafted the agreement in regards to Stella McCartney’s attendance at the event.