Why the First Mile?

Why the First Mile?

Order an outfit from anywhere in the world, and you can track it along every mile to your door. Getting the details on the journey it’s already taken is much more difficult. With supply chains in the shadows, those living and working in the First Mile (where raw materials are sourced and processed) must endure poor and unforgiving conditions. We deserve the full story behind the things we buy.

Thread connects brands to a transparent and responsible supply chain on a mission to fight poverty and repurpose plastic. Here's how we did in 2016.

  • Raw Materials

  • Fabric

  • Manufacturing

  • Product

  • Distribution

  • Consumer

The First Mile

Where we focus

Traditional Supply Chain

The Last Mile

  • The First Mile

  • Raw Materials

  • Fabric

  • Traditional Supply Chain

  • Manufacturing

  • Product

  • The Last Mile

  • Distribution

  • Consumer


Message From Our CEO


First Mile Projects

Going beyond
the audit

First Mile Projects

Compliance can’t replace impact, and checking all the right boxes doesn’t undo all the wrongs. To create real change in the First Mile of our supply chain, Thread’s impact team designs and implements programs that go beyond auditing to ensure those individuals have access to dignity and opportunity.

CGI Commitment

Child labor is a very real worldwide issue and in 2016 we chose to do something about it. At the Clinton Global Initiative’s Annual Meeting, Thread joined Timberland, HP, Team Tassy, and ACOP (a local Haitian-lead recycling organization) to make the commitment public.

Micro-Loan Program

It's tough to run a resilient business if resources are scarce. In 2016, Thread launched a micro-loan program to provide interest-free support to Haitian suppliers. These 13 loans prevented centers from closing, allowed entrepreneurs to grow their business, and increased the financial literacy of our suppliers. Because of our 100% payback participation, loans in 2017 are being granted with the money that has been repaid, making this program a self-funded operation within its first year.

Supplier Union

This year, Thread transferred the leadership of quarterly plastic supplier meetings to Haitian members within the group. These facilitators set the agenda and run the meetings, further developing professional skills within our supply chain. Through this network of entrepreneurs, members also learn new skills in group dynamics and management, while mentoring one another. This localized support boosts the impact that each business can have in its respective neighborhood.

Disaster Relief

Many of the areas where Thread works are low-lying and vulnerable. This year, Hurricane Matthew left one neighborhood we serve, Molea, under two feet of water and garbage. Thread joined with Team Tassy to deliver over a dozen truckloads of sand to the area, where local Haitians came together to raise the ground by bucket.

This effort kept hundreds of people dry during one of the largest public health crises since Cholera was re-introduced to Haiti in 2010. The agency to come together as a community represents enormous progress for 2016, which makes us particularly proud.


Timberland Canvas Lifecycle Analysis

Canvas lifecycle

Being smart about how we track and trace our impact allows us to demonstrate our values to other brands. For Timberland’s inaugural collaboration with Thread, we translated how their fabric order made the world quantifiably better. The LCA data here displays the environmental benefits of Ground to GoodTM canvas over an all-cotton canvas. Based on the total yardage of their first collection, Timberland will support 77 employment opportunities and have the following impact >>

Carbon Footprint

While cotton is slightly more carbon intensive than rPET, it is such a small carbon savings that the environmental impact is minimal. Conducting an LCA for this Ground to GoodTM canvas proved useful in revealing the manufacturing steps that contribute most to CO2 emissions.

Water Footprint

In one square yard of Ground to GoodTM canvas, 97% of the water goes into the production of cotton, and 3% is used in production of rPET-based fabric. By adopting a 50/50 blend of cotton and Thread’s rPET, Timberland reduce the impact of their products by 398 gallons of water per yard.

PET 50:50 Canvas

Saves 398 gal/yd

412 gal/yd

Conventional Cotton Canvas

810 gal/yd

30,521,203.07 gallons

of water saved (compared to 100% cotton canvas)

15,305.6 lbs

of pesticide reduction (compared to 100% canvas)

765,280 bottles


"I am so grateful to what recycling has done in my life. I am an entrepreneur, and a good one."

Nadine Phillipe, Collection Center Owner, Les Cayes


Products & Brands

Products & Brands

We were proud to 5x our materials offerings in 2016. This enabled 575 people to buy our material and turn it into dozens of new products. In 2017, Thread will feature over 35 fabrics in a variety of colors and finishes, including the canvases featured in Timberland’s Spring collection. If you’re creating with Ground to GoodTM fabric, share your designs with Thread to inspire our community and contribute to our impact.

View All Brands

Impact Numbers

Impact Numbers

Thread is dedicated to quantifying and sharing the impact that our fabric creates from the First Mile forward. To unlock the enormous opportunity for social impact that exists in the First Mile, our team tracks and analyzes factors that affect the people working in our supply chain. For even more data about our supply chain, download the complete 2016 Impact Report.

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income opportunities created

In Haiti and

378,127 lbs

of plastic waste exported


revenue generation in low income countries

46% women & 54% men

working across supply chains

1,046 hours

Professional development and training

"No donations. No buy one give one. Just by wearing clothes and shoes made with Thread fabric, you are helping somebody clean up their neighborhood and put food on the table. We’re so f*%king excited about that."

Dan Leber, Threadhead


Changing Fashion

Changing Fashion

The stuff we buy should be as good for the people who make it as it is for those who buy it. This year, Thread joined leading working groups, industry discussions, and global conferences to help shape the future of responsible fashion. By leading this conversation among brands far bigger than our own, Thread has the opportunity to scale our impact across the globe.

Get Involved

Kelsey - Director of Impact


Circular Economy

Circular Economy

Humans made up the idea of "waste", and it’s about time we all accept that it’s a pretty stupid idea. We know the circular economy can be a catalyst for human impact as well as material efficiency. It's a fledgling idea, and Thread is leading the discussion while helping brands worldwide adopt a circular strategy.

In 2016, our team developed a take-back program with Renewal Workshop and Cradle to Cradle certified Ground to GoodTM jersey to make this transition more accessible to our partners.

in the First

Plastic Waste

Thread Ground to
Good™ fabric

Brands create responsible
products. Consumers
send products back to
Thread when they are

Plastic Waste

Thread Ground to
Good™ fabric

Brands create responsible products. Consumers send products back to Thread when they are finished.


Message from our Director of Impact


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