Global outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland has launched the Timberland X Thread collection in partnership with Thread, the Certified B Corporation that transforms plastic bottles from the streets and canals of Haiti into what Thread calls "the most responsible fabric on the planet." The collection goes beyond environmental sustainability, creating social value and impact in the form of cleaner neighbourhoods and meaningful new job opportunities.
"The Timberland X Thread collection is incredible proof that style and sustainability can go hand-in-hand," said Colleen Vien, director of sustainability for Timberland. "This collection delivers good with every fibre, not just by recycling plastic bottles that would otherwise end up littering the streets, but also by creating job opportunities and cleaner neighbourhoods in Haiti. Consumers can feel good about pulling on their Timberland® X ThreadTM boots or backpack, and know they are making a positive impact in someone else's life."
The new products build upon Timberland's longstanding commitment to be Earthkeepers – to innovate and operate its business in an accountable and responsible manner. With a shared passion for supporting communities in Haiti, Timberland and Thread were natural partners from the start. Both companies are determined to look beyond the environmental value of recycled plastic bottles to focus on responsibility, transparency, and creating social value.
Last month, Thread released its fourth annual impact report – an illustration of its commitment to these same values. To engage more than CSR professionals in the company's accomplishments in 2016, Thread enhanced this year's iteration with videos, animated stats, and an interactive supply chain map – users can explore the lifecycle of Ground to Good fabric from profiles of owners of the bottle collection centers in Haiti to yarn spinners and dye houses in North Carolina, to where it is cut, sewn, and assembled into finished Timberland x Thread products at Timberland's partner facilities in Vietnam.
The Product Collection
The Timberland X Thread collection includes five styles of men's footwear, two bags and one t-shirt, all made using Thread™ Ground to Good™ fabric:
1. The shoes and boots are crafted with durable uppers in Thread™ fabric made with 50% post-consumer recycled PET, a 50% recycled PET mesh lining for comfort and breathability, and a durable outsole made of 15% recycled rubber.
2. The duffel bag and backpack are made with Thread™ fabric and waterproof leather trims.
3. The t-shirt is made with 50% Thread™ fabric and 50% reclaimed cotton from fabric scraps.
The Process & Impact
The process of going "from bottle to boot" begins in Haiti, where more than 1,300 locals collect the plastic bottles that are developed into Thread™ fabric. Each yard of fabric is traced and tracked at every step of its journey, from bottle collection and fabric creation to the delivery of the fabric bolt to the manufacturer. This transparency allows Timberland consumers to learn about the vibrant people, stories and the impact metrics behind each boot, shoe, bag and t-shirt they purchase.
"At Thread, we believe that dignified jobs cure poverty – and our fabric creates those jobs," said Ian Rosenberger, founder and CEO of Thread. "Our partnership with Timberland marks a seismic shift in the fashion industry, combining Timberland's large supply chain and loyal customer base with Thread's responsible, transparent approach to creating premium fabrics and vital jobs in the developing world. The Timberland X Thread collection is a major step towards improving the way our clothes are made."
The partnership comes on the heels of Timberland's support last fall of Thread's Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action, which addresses the problem of undignified and child labour in global supply chains, with a targeted focus in Haiti.
In addition to this effort, Timberland continues supporting the people of Haiti following a five-year tree-planting effort to help smallholder farmers reach self-sufficiency. Timberland hopes to potentially transition from being an early supporter of the smallholder farmers, to being a customer, purchasing cotton for the brand's supply chain.