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Thread's 2016 Impact Report Traces Company's Work, Down to the 'First Mile'

Images credit: Thread

Pittsburgh, Pa.-based startup Thread - a Certified B Corporation on a mission to end poverty by creating dignified jobs and responsibly sourced and manufactured, high-performance fabric – has just published its fourth annual impact report. In order to engage and inspire a broader audience beyond CSR professionals, Thread set out to provide more than a PDF explaining the company’s accomplishments in 2016; this year’s iteration is enhanced and made interactive with videos, animated stats, and an explorable supply chain map.

“2016 was a difficult year for not only Americans, but also the thousands of people we work with in Haiti and Honduras,” said founder and CEO Ian Rosenberger. “We’re so proud of the progress those in the First Mile of our supply chain have made despite hurricanes, depressed global oil prices, and trying political circumstances. These are the people who make the world’s clothing possible and we’re able to show off their triumphs in a totally new way this year as we prepare to release hundreds of thousands of products into the wild with Timberland.”

Since 2013, Thread has transformed plastic bottles from the streets and canals of Haiti and Honduras into the most responsible fabrics on the planet. From the beginning, Thread has traced and tracked every step of its Ground to Good™ fabric manufacturing process to ensure it truly produces the planet’s most responsible fabric. Believing customers deserve the full story behind the things they buy, the 2016 impact report highlights the importance of the often-forgotten “First Mile” of the supply chain, from which Thread’s materials are sourced.

In 2016, Thread committed to putting its model of transparency to work addressing the issue of child labor; at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in September, Thread joined Timberland, HP, Team Tassy and ACOP (a local, Haitian-led recycling organization) to announce their partnership and make the commitment public. Last year, the Thread network was responsible for creating 233 jobs and generating over $90,000 in revenue in Haiti. Beyond dignified income, Thread offers professional development and training, disaster relief and access to micro-loans. In order to have lasting social and environmental impact in the developing world, Thread creates unprecedented transparency into all stages of the fabric creation process by publicly listing everyone responsible, from bottle collectors to vendor partners.

Thread’s product line continued to expand in 2016 with five times as many Ground to Good™ fabrics, which now include canvases, fleece, French terry and jersey knits. Next month, Timberland will launch boots and bags featuring Thread’s Ground to Good™ canvas as part of its Spring 2017 line.

In an interview with Sustainable Brands last year, Timberland’s Colleen Vien commented on the just-announced partnership and how well it aligned with the outdoor brand’s existing work in Haiti: “This partnership with Thread I love because it brings in more of the social and economic story,” she said. “It goes hand in hand very nicely with our efforts to date in terms of tree-planting in Haiti, so they complement each other quite well."

Thread fabrics also appear in items from brands such as Kenneth Cole, WithWendy, Davey Handmade, Kelly Lane and Hamilton Perkins.


Launched in 2006, Sustainable Brands has become a global learning, collaboration, and commerce community of forward-thinking business and brand strategy, marketing, innovation and sustainability professionals who are leading the way to a better future. We recognize that brands today have… [Read more about Sustainable Brands]


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