Outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland has partnered with responsible fabric manufacturer Thread International to create a product line using fibres produced from plastic bottles collected in developing countries. 

The partnership – the largest to date for Thread – will bear its first fruit in spring 2017, with the launch of a collection of Timberland footwear and bags made from Thread fabric. In addition to environmental sustainability, the partnership will create social value in the form of cleaner neighbourhoods and job creation, Thread says.

Made in the US with up to 50% recycled PET from plastic bottles collected from the streets, canals and neighbourhoods of Haiti and Honduras, each yard of Thread fabric is traced and tracked at every step of its journey, from bottle collection to fabric creation to the delivery of the fabric bolt to the manufacturer. This transparency, the two companies claim, will allow Timberland consumers to learn about the people, the stories and the impact metrics behind each boot, shoe or bag they purchase.

"We are beyond excited about partnering with Thread," said Colleen Vien, director of sustainability for Timberland. "From the moment we met them, we knew this had the potential to be far more than a supplier relationship. Building community has always been at the heart of Timberland, and we were also inspired by the Haiti connection, given our work there over the past five years. Any time we find an opportunity to create both environmental and social value, that's a big win. And Thread does just that." 

Timberland recently completed a five-year commitment to plant 5m trees in Haiti, which resulted in the creation of a self-sustaining agroforestry cooperative helping 3,200 smallholder farmers increase productivity on their farmlands, increase their incomes and create new opportunities for the future. 

Of the new partnership, Thread CEO Ian Rosenberger, said: "This partnership is truly special. We're proud to work with a brand with such a longstanding commitment to the environment and social responsibility. Working together transparently, we're able to look beyond recycled materials toward the rich social impact consumers care about and the stories that bring beautiful products to life."