The new initiative will launch in Haiti before being scaled-up globally

The new initiative will launch in Haiti before being scaled-up globally

Responsible fibre and fabric producer Thread International has teamed up with outdoor brand Timberland to tackle environmental hazards and child labour in global supply chains, through a targeted effort in Haiti. 

Thread, which creates "responsible fabric" made from plastic waste collected in Haiti and Honduras, explains that many families in Haiti rely on plastic collection as a sole source of income and often involve children in this work.

In partnership with Timberland, HP, Team Tassy, and ACOP (Association des Collecteurs des Objets en Plastique), the new  Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action is designed to help improve the working conditions and upward mobility of some 300 Haitians – 200 of them children – by providing educational opportunities, job training, and healthcare services.

The programmes will impact the surrounding communities of Molea and Menelas, and Port-au-Prince, while working towards a scalable global solution. 
 
"The very bottom of the supply chain is where people are the most vulnerable," says Ian Rosenberger, founder and CEO of Thread. "No longer is it okay to ignore the issue because it's difficult to talk about. We're proud to be working with great partners like Timberland to find a solution in Haiti that can change our global understanding of dignified work." 

Through various partnerships, Thread aims to have invested US$300,000 in monetary and in-kind donations by December of 2019, providing for a detailed field assessment, wellness exams, healthcare services, and the construction of a long-term, career-oriented support network in Haiti. The model, it says, will serve as a pilot to expand to similar regions throughout the world. 
 
In addition to joining the Commitment to Action, Timberland says it will continue its long-standing commitment to Haiti with the launch of a special collection of shoes and bags made with Thread Ground to Good fabric in spring 2017.

Thread's 'Ground to Good' programme works to remove plastic waste from the landfills, canals and streets of Haiti and Honduras. The company developed a line of socio- and eco-conscious fabrics with Burlington Industries last year in a bid to try and change the way apparel brands think about responsible sourcing.

And, last month Thread hired Under Armour veteran Bill Besselman as executive vice president as part of plans to drive demand for its Ground to Good fabric.

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Colleen Vien, director of sustainability for Timberland, said of the new initiative: "We are honoured to contribute to this important work being spearheaded by Thread, which has done extensive agroforestry work in Haiti over the past five years. This progressive approach has the potential to truly change the face of global supply chains in the circular economy."