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Green Biz

Timberland Walks the Extra Mile to End Plastic Waste

February 17th, 2017

Footwear manufacturer Timberland is walking a mile in the shoes of people whose lives are affected by trash pollution — at least, the “first mile” — through its partnership with B Corporation, Thread International.

Sustainable Brands

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

February 14th, 2017

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.

Footwear News

4 Ways Timberland Will Champion the Environment in 2017

January 11th, 2017

Timberland will deliver two footwear styles in partnership with Thread, a certified B Corporation that turns plastic bottles from Haiti and Honduras into fabric. The Newport Bay 2.0 Canvas Hiker ($80) and the City Blazer Fabric and Leather Boot ($160) will launch for Spring ’17.

Fast Co.Exist

Thread is Using Recycling From Haiti To Eliminate New Plastic From Your Clothes

December 6th, 2016

In 2010, Ian Rosenberger traveled to Haiti looking to help people after the earthquake. And help he did. He met a young man called Tassy Filsaime who had a cancerous jaw. He brought him back to Pittsburgh and raised $50,000 for a life-saving operation. Then, he hit on a way to support the locals more permanently: a business that recycles plastic bottles into “the most responsible fabric on the planet.”

Sustainable Brands

Not Buying It: Fast Fashion, Lies & Sustainability

November 7th, 2016

Fast fashion has followed a trend similar to the fast food chains that inspired its name – explosive growth, massive popularity, and then consumer skepticism. Turns out that having access to clothes en masse mere days after the latest runway shows requires production practices that aren’t healthy for societies or our planet. Just like factory farming and consuming Whoppers and fries consistently isn’t healthy or sustainable, inexpensive clothing meant to be worn once or twice and constantly replaced isn’t much better for us. Even McKinsey says so. In 2004, we had Supersize Me; in 2015, we got The True Cost.…


Timberland continues collaborative circular economy drive

October 27th, 2016

For example, the manufacturer recently partnered with Pittsburgh-based social enterprise Thread to provide upcycled materials such as plastic bottles for use in its footwear. 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. The scheme will bear its first fruit in spring 2017 with a collection of Timberland footwear and bags made from Thread fabric.


FIRST LOOK: Timberland’s New Shoes, Bags Made With Recycled Plastic Bottles

October 4th, 2016

After months of teasing, Timberland is peeling back the curtain on its upcoming collaboration with Thread, a Pittsburgh, Penn.-based fabric manufacturer that recently announced, through the Clinton Global Initiative, a commitment to address forced and child labor in the global supply chain. Set to drop next spring, the line of footwear and bags incorporates textiles composed of up to 50 percent recycled plastic bottles, which are collected from the streets of Haiti and Honduras. The Thread network provides full- and part-time jobs for nearly 3,600 bottle collectors, entrepreneurs, and manufacturing employees in the developing world, according to Ian Rosenberger, CEO of…

Sustainable Brands

Child Labor, The Clintons, and Changing How Things Are Made

October 5th, 2016

It was a normal Friday afternoon. Actually, it was February 5, 2016. I was about to head out to meet friends for happy hour and was scanning through the reporting materials that Richardson, Thread’s Haiti Field Manager, had just sent me. In addition to detailed reports and daily communication, Richardson sends me photos and video updates from Haiti at each step of our supply chain. I watched video footage from a collection center owned by a Haitian entrepreneur named Joseph Jean Paul. Joseph’s center is located in a neighborhood in Port-au-Prince called Molea. Molea surrounds the city dump, Truittier. Thread had…

Triple Pundit

How a New Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Can Help Haitian Kids

October 3rd, 2016

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world. It had a per-capita GDP of only $846 in 2014. It’s also a country that witnessed tragedy on a large scale when an earthquake struck in its capital, Port-au-Prince, in 2010 — killing over 300,000, according to government estimates. One company is now looking to help Haitians better their lives. That company is Thread, a Certified B Corporation that transforms plastic bottles collected by Haitian and Honduran people into fabric. Thread recently announced its new Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action to address…

Triple Pundit

Clinton Global Initiative and Thread Bring Dignity to Haiti’s Plastic Bottle Collectors

September 27th, 2016

An awful lot of fuss has been made about the relationships between the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and its donors. Whisper campaigns – and screaming campaigns – alleged all sorts of nefarious behavior resulting from donations to CGI and the Clinton Foundation. Although the evidence suggests Hillary Clinton’s role centers around glad-handing at most, the current chatter buries the good work the foundation has done since Clinton’s husband left the White House in 2001. From women’s empowerment to vaccines to tackling poverty, it is hard to argue that this organization has not been a force for economic empowerment and social change.…

Waste Management World

HP Commits to Child Protection Project at Haitian Landfill

September 27th, 2016

IT equipment Giant, Hewlett-Packard (HP) has joined a CGI Commitment to Action with Thread, Timberland, Team Tassy, and ACOP (Association des Collecteurs des Objets en Plastique) to improve conditions at the Truitier landfill in Haiti over a three-year period. The company made the commitment at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, where it said that an estimated 200 children between the ages of 8 of eight and 12 currently collect recyclable materials from landfill. The children and their families are exposed daily to unsafe and hazardous working conditions. HP said that the joint initiative aims to improve the…

Global Citizen

How 200 Children Working Landfill in Haiti Are Given Hope

September 26th, 2016

For thousands of people around the world, collecting waste is often their sole source of income. In many countries, this work falls to children, who must leave school in order to work long hours to support their families. These children often face unsafe working conditions that include exposure to hazardous materials in the landfills and unsafe transportation on the delivery trucks. Today an estimated 300 people—including 200 children, ages 8 to 12—collect recyclable materials at the Truitier landfill in Haiti. While this site provides much needed income for families in the surrounding Port-au-Prince neighborhoods, the people toiling in the Truitier…


Thread and Timberland tackle child labour in Haiti

September 22nd, 2016

Haiti Libre

Haiti - Environment : A sustainable and profitable recycling initiative

September 22nd, 2016

Wednesday, at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, the multinational company Hewlett-Packard (HP), announced it has joined a CGI Commitment to Action with Thread, Timberland, Team Tassy, and ACOP (Association des Collecteurs des Objets en Plastique) to improve conditions at the Truitier (Cité Soleil) landfill in Haiti over a three-year period. One estimates that 200 children between the ages of 8 and 12 currently collect recyclable materials from the Truitier landfill. These children and their families are exposed daily to unsafe and hazardous working conditions. This joint initiative aims to improve the lives of the children by providing…

Plastic News

Helping the 'very bottom of the supply chain': Plastic bottle collectors in Haiti

September 22nd, 2016

Pittsburgh-based polyester fiber and clothing maker Thread International PBC Ltd. is starting a three-year pilot project in Haiti to help street-level plastic bottle collectors by providing health care, education and job training services. Thread said in a Sept. 21 announcement that it will partner with outdoor apparel maker Timberland, computer maker HP Inc. and the Clinton Global Initiative. Together they will provide the equivalent of $300,000 in funding and in-kind services. The project is designed to help 300 waste collectors in Haiti, including 200 children, who collect plastic bottles from landfills, canals and streets. They said hope to be able…

The Virginian-Pilot

Norfolk man turns recycled bottles into designer travel bags

September 21st, 2016

Hamilton Perkins saw a problem and wanted to solve it. Actually it was more than one problem. Actually it was more than one problem. The first is more personal – related to style and comfort. The second is more global – related to the environment. While Perkins’ solution may not aid every style-challenged individual or save the Earth solely on its own, the entrepreneur is making a difference. The 30-year-old graduated from Bishop Sullivan Catholic High in 2003 and earned his undergraduate degree in business administration from Old Dominion University in 2008. A stint in the banking industry followed while he…

Fast Company

Two Global Brands Are Helping Haiti Turn Its Trash Into An Industry

September 21st, 2016

Walking past some canals in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, all you can see is trash: the water is filled with plastic bottles, bags, and other litter, slowly floating toward the ocean. The city doesn’t have a municipal recycling system, and recyclables that make it into trash cans usually go to the landfill. As global oil prices have dropped—reducing demand for recycled plastic—local trash pickers have been less likely to try to collect empty bottles. mil Now some companies are trying to directly help create new demand for recycling. HP, which uses recycled plastic when it makes new printer cartridges, announced today that…

Sustainable Brands

Thread Partners with Timberland, HP to Provide Dignified Jobs, Education to Plastic Collectors In Haiti

September 21st, 2016

Today at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 2016 Annual Meeting in New York City,Thread – the Pittsburgh-based B Corp that transforms plastic bottle waste from Haiti and Honduras into ‘the most responsible fabric on the planet’ – announced a new Commitment to Action to address the problem of undignified and child labor in global supply chains, through a targeted effort in Haiti. For many people across the globe, recycling offers a key entry point to participate in thecircular economy – an economy that is restorative and aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at…

Sourcing Journal

Thread to Address Child Labor in Supply Chains

September 21st, 2016

Pittsburgh’s Thread is tackling child labor in global supply chains through a targeted effort in Haiti. The responsible fiber and fabric producer on Wednesday announced a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action, in partnership with Timberland, HP, Team Tassy and ACOP (Association of Plastic Collectors). “The very bottom of the supply chain is where people are the most vulnerable,” said Ian Rosenberger, Thread’s founder and chief executive officer. “No longer is it okay to ignore the issue because it’s difficult to talk about.” Thread, which already creates sustainable jobs for Haitians by enlisting them to collect discarded plastic products,…

Pittsburgh Business Times

Thread teams with Hewlett-Packard, Timberland to launch programs in Haiti

September 21st, 2016

Thread, the Pittsburgh-based startup that converts plastic trash into fabric, is teaming with Hewlett-Packard Co. and Timberland to improve conditions for workers in Haiti. Thread CEO Ian Rosenberger announced on Wednesday a new Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action to address the problem of undignified and child labor in global supply chains through a targeted effort in Haiti. About 300 Haitians, including 200 children, will receive educational opportunities, job training and health care services. The programs will impact the surrounding communities of Molea and Menelas and Port-au-Prince, while working toward a scalable global solution. Also involved are Team Tassy, an…

Waste 360

HP Joins CGI Commitment to Action to Improve Conditions at Haiti Landfill

September 21st, 2016

HP has joined a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action to improve conditions and bring opportunities to the workers at Haiti’s Truitier landfill. Over a three-year period, HP will work alongside Timberland, Team Tassy and the Association des Collecteurs des Objets en Plastique to make these goals a reality. As part of its commitment, HP will purchase recycled plastic made from raw materials collected at the landfill. 3BL Media has more details: Today at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, HP announced it has joined a CGI Commitment to Action with Thread, Timberland, Team Tassy, and ACOP…


Landfills Are Like Telephone Poles: How the Circular Economy Will Allow Low-income Countries to Leapfrog Waste Management

August 22nd, 2016

cKinsey & Company and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimate in their report, The New Plastics Economy, that 95% of the value of global plastic packaging material, worth $80-120 billion annually, is lost. This huge sum of money is being buried in the ground or swept out to sea. The vision of this report – a global economy in which plastics never become waste – is bold and has the potential to bring transformative change to the entire world. I believe it will be low-income countries that lead the way to this new plastics economy. The developed world, especially the United States…

Triple Pundit

Listening To Learn: Best Practices for Social Purpose Strategy

August 18th, 2016

A couple of years ago, a graduate student and I sat down to enjoy a cold beverage in an oppressively hot Haitian bar. The topic? The importance of listening to feedback over prescribing solutions. “But how do you go about getting that information?” she asked. “It’s simple,” I responded. “You pick a neighborhood and get an introduction to someone who lives there. Then pay them to join you for a day of walking from house to house, meeting their neighbors, and asking if you can talk to them about garbage. When a neighbor says yes, survey them.” “But, that would…


8 companies to watch in the circular economy

August 10th, 2016

By now, most everyone roaming the realm of corporate sustainability has heard the term “circular economy” — maybe a few more times than they’d care to recall. But it’s much more than just another buzzword, as the circular economy has the potential to solve the world’s mounting waste problem by doing away with the very concept of waste altogether. By creating production models that reduce reliance on raw materials through continuously cycling materials of all types back into supply chains, companies stand to gain a business advantage by steeling themselves against fluctuating commodity markets and other future shocks. While it…

Sustainable Brands

Not So Fast (Fashion)! African Countries to Ban Secondhand Clothing Imports

August 10th, 2016

Originally featured in Sustainable Brands on August 10th, 2016. In March, the governments of the East African Community, which includes Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, proposed a ban on imports of secondhand clothes to their regional trade bloc. The ban would outlaw donations of clothing from wealthier countries by 2019. The logic is that by stopping the trade of used garments, the apparel industry in these countries will be revitalized, create jobs and exports, and bolster their economies. Imports of secondhand clothing have been growing over the past two decades, with Uganda and Tanzania seeing a 233 percent and…

Sourcing Journal

Thread Nabs Former Under Armour Exec to Fuel Growth

August 3rd, 2016

Thread, the start-up turning waste into wearables, has its eye on growth and just enlisted a former Under Armour executive to help it get there. Bill Besselman, previously vice president of Connected Fitness strategy and integration at Under Armour, will join the Pittsburgh-based company as executive vice president. “Bill is a proven operator and disruptor. He brings world-class experience to an already great team and will have an immediate and profound impact on Thread’s growth,” Thread founder and CEO Ian Rosenberger said. “He shares our conviction that retail is not innovative enough in meeting the needs of the 21st century…

Pittsburgh Business Times

Thread Announces New Executive Hire From Under Armour

August 3rd, 2016

Thread, the Pittsburgh startup that recycles plastic bottles from Haiti and Honduras into fabric, has hired an Under Armour vet as executive vice president. Bill Besselman most recently was vice president of connected fitness strategy and integration at Under Armour. Before that, he was senior vice president, merchandise planning and allocation and corporate strategy at Pittsburgh-based American Eagle Outfitters.


Travel Bags Made From Recycled Plastic Bottles

July 26th, 2016

Entrepreneur Hamilton Perkins was inspired to make a new travel bag when he was heading off for a trip and couldn’t find the right bag. The first version of the bag he created was leather, while he was inspired to use a more unconventional material for the second version: plastic. Now, the travel bags are created using discarded plastic bottles that are woven into canvas and then lined with recycled vinyl billboards. Perkins wanted to create a product that mattered, and with the second version of his bag he developed a bag that reduces carbon emissions, saves water and create jobs…

History NOW

Ian Rosenberger Recycles Plastic Waste Into Fair-Trade Fabric

July 20th, 2016

Can garbage end the global poverty epidemic? Ian Rosenberger and his company, Thread, believe they can create dignified jobs around the world by turning plastic into fabric.


If I knew Then: Ian Rosenberger

July 27th, 2016

Thread is a social media enterprise that employs people in economically struggling countries like Haiti and Honduras. While locals collect and sort plastic trash, Thread ships it to the U.S. where the refuse is milled into fabric for use in clothing and apparel. In the beginning, we thought it would be easy, waltzing into a country where we had never been before to set up an operation on the ground. We sketched out the vision for Thread on a sheet of wrapping paper. We were incredibly arrogant and so wrong about everything. I remember going to Nathan Martin at Deeplocal and…

Design Milk

Modern, stylish bags made from recycled bottles

July 26th, 2016

Yep, you read that right. These convertible duffels are not only stylish, but they’re also very, very sustainable. The Hamilton Perkins Collection Earth bags are a perfect blend of eco-conscious fashion. Not only are the bags made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles, the interior is lined with repurposed vinyl that was once used for billboards. Thus, each bag is slightly different, and no one will have the exact same one. The Earth bag is an all-in-one bag that converts into a backpack or a duffle bag. It has a three way zippered compartment, meaning easy access when you’re on the…

Fast Company

These Pretty Travel Bags Are Made From Recycled Plastic Bottles And Billboards

July 19th, 2016

When entrepreneur Hamilton Perkins was getting ready to go on a trip and couldn’t find a duffel bag he liked, he decided to design his own. The first version was leather, but he soon shifted to a more unconventional material: plastic bottles. “The bigger goal I always had was to build products that mattered,” he says. The new bags, made from a canvas created out of recycled bottles and lined with recycled vinyl billboards, are more affordable than a leather luxury bag. They also reduce carbon emissions, save water, and create jobs in developing countries. Hamilton Perkins “Billions of plastic…

Ethical Unicorn

Bottles To Bags With Hamilton Perkins

July 16th, 2016

It’s ethical fashion time! It’s been a little while since we spoke about fashion here on the blog, but today I’ve got a super cool company to tell you about. Hamilton Perkins bags have been on my radar for a little while now, and I’m so excited to tell you more about them today! Hamilton Perkins is a certified B Corporation. Never heard of it? Let me enlighten you. B Corp works the same as fair trade or GOTS certifications, B Corps are for-profit companies certified by B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. It’s essentially…

Sustainable Brands

Portfolio of Cradle to Cradle Certified Materials Launched for the Fashion Industry

July 8th, 2016

Fashion designers have long asked for a place to find materials they know are healthier for people and the planet — and now they have one. The new Fashion PositiveMaterials Collection, which debuted this week, includes 39 materials for fashion applications that are Cradle to Cradle Certified or have received a Material Health Certificate, which at higher levels of certification ensures safe materials suitable for circular design. “For many brands, designers and suppliers, it’s a long journey to circular fashion. Fashion Positive meets our members wherever they are on that path and provides the leadership, the vision and methodology to…


Hamilton Perkins Makes Bags Entirely From Recycled Plastic Bottles

July 5th, 2016

If haste makes waste, then consider Hamilton Perkins a pro at taking things slow. A certifiedB Corp, or benefit corporation, Hamilton Perkins makes its travel-ready “Earth” bag almost entirely from recycled plastic bottles. Manufactured in the United States, and lined with vinyl from discarded billboards, each carryall converts easily from a duffel to a backpack, complete with a three-way zippered compartment that allows quick access to sundry gear and devices. “We had trouble finding a backpack that could meet our basic needs in a practical and socially responsible way,” the Norfolk, Va.–based company noted on Kickstarter, where it’s looking to…



June 27th, 2016

The clothing industry has a big environmental impact, so using more sustainable materials is one way to lessen its impact. Plastic bottles that aren’t recycled are a big environmental problem. But if they are recycled, they can be turned into a variety of products, including fabric. One outdoor clothing manufacturer is creating a product line made from fabric that contains recycled plastic. Timberland is partnering with Thread, the sustainable fabric manufacturer. Thread’s Ground to Good fabric is made from plastic bottles collected in Haiti and Honduras. Timberland will release a collection of footwear and bags made from Thread fabric.


A 'Silicon Strip' that's rising in America's Rust Belt

June 17th, 2016

Thread, launched by Pittsburgh native and CEO Ian Rosenberger after the Haiti earthquake in 2010. The company sources plastic from the poorest neighborhoods in Haiti and Honduras and turns it into fabric. They’ve raised around $2.8 million in funding and have a deal with Timberland, their biggest account so far. They’ve taken more than 1 million pounds of trash and turned it into raw materials “Fashion is the second dirtiest industry in the world, so we started at the bottom of the supply chain and worked our way up.” Rosenberger said. “I love the parallels with Pittsburgh, being a rebuilding…

Sustainable Brands

Timberland Shares What ‘Activating Purpose’ Means to its Brand at 2016 Sustainable Brands Conference

June 16th, 2016

Last week, global outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland joined thought leaders, brand innovators, designers and business leaders from around the globe to explore how brands are Activating Purpose to scale impact, at Sustainable Brands San Diego. To kick off the opening night of the three-day conference, Timberland, in partnership with the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) and award-winning filmmakers Found Object, held an outdoor screening of “KOMBIT: The Cooperative.” This documentary highlights an innovative private/public partnership between Timberland and the SFA that is changing the landscape of smallholder farming and bringing new hope to the people of Haiti. More than 75 attendees…


Recycled Plastic Bottles Are Being Transformed Into Shoes And Bags

June 15th, 2016

Global retail chain Timberland has partnered with Thread, a company that hires workers in developing countries to create environmentally sustainable textiles, to release a line of shoes and bags crafted from plastic bottles. Thread uses materials collected in Honduras and Haiti to craft its fabrics, creating jobs for thousands of people in the developing world in the process, according to the company.

Sourcing Journal

Thread Expands Offering to Include Reduced Minimums for Makers and Small Manufacturers

June 8th, 2016

It’s been a busy month so far for Pittsburgh’s Thread International. In addition to announcing that a selection of Timberland bags and footwear made from Thread’s Ground to Good fabric will hit stores in Spring 2017, the start-up also started shipping yards and samples of its material to makers and small manufacturers. “We tweaked our office space and our inventory process to make this possible,” Frank Macinsky, Thread’s director of marketing, told Sourcing Journal, adding, “We also put a plan in place for serving this new group of customers. It’s important that we’re not only able to ship our fabric…

Sustainable Brands

How Big Brands, Small Startups Have Partnered to Push the Circular Economy

June 8th, 2016

“It didn’t make sense to me — to make a bunch of products that use a lot of materials, and then throw it away,” Scott Hamlin, co-founder at Looptworks, said during a Tuesday breakout session on partnerships in the circular economy at Sustainable Brands ’16 San Diego. What Hamlin saw was a broken apparel industry, which focused on the traditional take-make-waste model. That’s why the social entrepreneur decided to found a company that doesn’t use virgin materials at all — and Looptworks was born. “We are called Looptworks because we are working toward a closed-loop system,” he said. Another innovative startup…

Footwear News

Timberland Collaborates With Thread Fabric On Footwear Range Made From Plastic Bottles

June 4th, 2016

Timberland is reviving communities through a new footwear range. The global lifestyle brand announced Thursday that it has partnered with Thread fabric to release a line of shoes and bags made from plastic bottles sourced from developing countries.


Retrend Alert Timberland to Make Shoes, Bags From Recycled Plastic Bottles

June 3rd, 2016

Timberland is partnering with Thread, a Pittsburgh, Penn.-based manufacturer of sustainable fabrics, to create a collection of footwear and bags crafted from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. The collaboration, set to debut next spring, will be the largest to date for Thread, a certified B Corp that seeks to create economic opportunities in developing countries such as Haiti and Honduras, where the bottles are collected. Spun in the United States, every yard of Thread fabric is traced from “bottle collection to fabric creation to the delivery of the fabric bolt to the manufacturer,” according to Ian Rosenberger, the firm’s CEO, who…

Mr. Magazine

Timberland and Thread to Collaborate on New Collection for 2017

June 3rd, 2016

Global outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland has announced a partnership with responsible fabric manufacturer Thread, which will result in with a collection of Timberland footwear and bags made from Thread fabric to debut in 2017. Thread fabric is made in the U.S. with up to 50-percent recycled PET from plastic bottles collected from the streets, canals and neighborhoods of Haiti and Honduras. The Thread network provides jobs and income opportunities for nearly 3,600 people in the developing world, including roughly 1,800 bottle collectors, entrepreneurs and manufacturing employees in Haiti where the supply chain is based, and another 1,800 in Honduras. Beyond…


Timberland Partners on Recycled Responsible Line

June 3rd, 2016

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.

Sustainable Brands

Timberland Partners with Thread to Look Beyond Sustainability and Toward Responsibility

June 3rd, 2016

Global outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland today announced a partnership with responsible fabric manufacturer Thread, furthering both brands’ longstanding commitment to environmental and social responsibility. Crafted from plastic bottles collected in Haiti and Honduras, Thread™ Ground to Good™ fabric challenges how the world thinks about recycled PET. Going beyond environmental sustainability, Thread also creates social value in the form of cleaner neighborhoods and job creation for thousands of people. The partnership – the largest to date for Thread – will bear its first fruit in spring 2017, with a collection of Timberland® footwear and bags made from Thread™ fabric.

The Pittsburgh Business Times

Thread stitches up partnership with Timberland

June 3rd, 2016

Thread, the Pittsburgh startup that recycles plastic bottles in Haiti and Honduras to make fabric, has a new partnership with international outdoor lifestyle company Timberland. Timberland’s new collection of footwear and bags that launches in spring 2017 will use Thread fabric, the companies jointly announced on Friday. Terms of the contract were not disclosed but Ian Rosenberger, Thread founder and CEO, said it’s the largest to date for his company. Timberland and Thread have known each other for two years — Rosenberger met executives form the Straham, N.H.-based company at a conference. “That led to a phone call and that…

The Sourcing Journal

Timberland Turns to Recycled Plastic Bottles for Spring ’17

June 2nd, 2016

Outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland and responsible fabric manufacturer Thread International have a new collaboration in the works. Timberland announced Thursday that it will partner with Thread to further both brands’ environmental compliance and social responsibility efforts. With this partnership, a new collection of Timberland footwear and bags, set to launch in Spring 2017, will feature Thread’s fabric, which is made from plastic bottles collected in developing nations.

Triple Pundit

How A New Micro-Loan Program in Haiti Strengthens a Responsible Supply Chain

May 19th, 2016

Nadine Phillippe runs a recycling-collection center in a town called Les Cayes in the south of Haiti. She buys plastic bottles from individual collectors in her neighborhood. Then she sells in quantity to processing facilities in Port-au-Prince that clean and flake the plastic before shipping it to the U.S. where it’s eventually transformed into different types of polyester fabric by our company, Thread. Nadine is a strong businesswoman. She’s weathered drops in prices due to the fluctuating commodity market, and she faces challenges with transportation in a country with a struggling infrastructure. Yet, the thing that caused her to close…

Sustainable Brands

Start Now: The Benefits of Annual Impact Reporting from the Beginning

February 10th, 2016

There aren’t many businesses that dedicate a fifth of their team to measuring impact. Luckily at Thread, we recognized early on that if we were going to produce the most responsible fabric in the world with a completely traceable and transparent supply chain, in an industry that is notoriously opaque and dangerous, we would need the data to back it up. Thread was operating for approximately 18 months when I proposed an annual impact report. I was still new in my role of Impact, having pivoted from being Director of Community Development — a title we put on a form…

Waste Dive

'Do it unapologetically': Startup insight from CEO of plastic-to-fabric company Thread

January 20th, 2016

Six years ago, the Haiti Earthquake brought chaos and destruction to thousands of people, leaving miles of land under many piles of debris. It also brought Ian Rosenberger, a Pittsburgh, PA-native, to the island to help raise money for earthquake relief — and eventually find a new life the left-behind waste. In 2010, Rosenberger started building Thread, a plastics-to-fabric company designed to tackle two main issues in third-world areas: poverty and trash. As a photographer, he was originally drawn to the post-earthquake island to take pictures and sell those photos for relief money. However, on his initial trip, he was inspired…

Fast Company

Thread CEO Ian Rosenberger's 5 Keys To Strategic Partnership

November 17th, 2015

Thread is convincing apparel giants, fabric manufacturers, VCs, and others to take a chance on a promising unknown.  For any small business, one of the most critical ingredients for growth is partners. The right suppliers, distributors, retailers, and specialists can broaden your reach and capabilities. But winning over established companies is a major challenge for small companies, especially newer ones. “You have to prove you’re for real,” says Ian Rosenberger, the CEO of five-year-old Thread International.

Sustainable Brands

Thread Raises $3.5M to Scale Transformation of Trash Into Dignified Jobs, Useful Products

June 16th, 2015

Pittsburgh-based startup Thread announced today it has closed a Series A Round of $2.8M, led by Draper Triangle Ventures, to create upcycled fabric from plastic waste collected in developing countries. The financing, which completes a $3.5M funding cycle, will help expand production capabilities, while growing data and content collection throughout Thread’s unprecedentedly clean, transparent supply chain.

Fast Company

CEO of Thread, Ian Rosenberger, On Turning A Social Mission Into A Business

July 15th, 2015

After a massive earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in 2010, Ian Rosenberger wanted to help. Six weeks into the recovery effort, he hopped a plane to Haiti. It was the sort of impulsive gesture that aid organizations discourage: a well-intentioned novice—in this case, an ad director in his twenties—going solo in a disaster area. “I did all this the wrong way,” Rosenberger says now. By “all this,” he means Thread, his Pittsburgh-based startup, and Team Tassy, his companion nonprofit, both of which he started shortly after that initial visit.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

East Liberty-based Thread reels in $3.5 million investment

June 16th, 2015

An East Liberty-based startup known for spinning Haitian trash into fabrics announced it has a $3.5 million investment deal. The Series A round of funding for Thread, led by a $2.8 million investment from Downtown-based Draper Triangle Ventures, is dedicated to expanding production and expanding data and materials collection. Oakland-based Riverfront Ventures, Chicago-based DNS Captial, which represented the business interests of Gigi Pritzker Pucker, and Michael Pucker and Bill Besselman of Under Armour also participated in the round.

Triple Pundit

Collecting Discarded Plastic (and Data) For That T-Shirt

August 19th, 2014

Sure, that shirt you’re wearing may be designed from 100 percent post-consumer plastic, and perhaps you know that it took about 10 or 15 soda bottles to make its fabric, but do you know what country those bottles came from? Do you know how they got recycled or who picked them up? Are you curious about the impact your T-shirt purchase has on supporting the livelihood of the person who collected those bottles? Thread, a Pittsburgh-based B-Corp, is betting that you want to know, and is poised to provide that information when you purchase a product made from its recycled polyester fabric.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Local startup Thread pitches and wins $25K at Thrival Festival

September 14th, 2014

An impassioned pitch to a roomful of tech innovators and investors made one Pittsburgh startup $25,000 richer on Saturday. Competing with seven other local companies, Lee Kimball, chief operating officer for Thread, had only five minutes to sell a four-judge panel on why his textiles company — which turns trash from developing countries into wearable fabrics — should receive the award, sponsored by PNC. “This $25,000 doesn’t go to things like overhead or travel,” he said. “It goes directly to putting a humble little Pittsburgh company likes ours onto shelves nationwide very soon.”

The Atlantic

The Company That Turns Plastic Bottles Into Fabric—and Jobs

November 7th, 2014

What if you could help create jobs for impoverished people and simultaneously address an environmental problem? An innovative young company in Pittsburgh is doing precisely that—dealing with Haiti’s particularly acute problem of discarded plastic bottles by hiring people there to collect that plastic waste, which then gets cleaned and shredded, turned into thread, and woven into fabric for use in sports apparel, boots and shoes, messenger bags and totes, and other goods.

Pittsburgh Magazine

Made in Pittsburgh 2014

September 19th, 2014

After a catastrophic earthquake struck in Haiti in 2010, Ian Rosenberger decided to travel to the country, take photos and sell them to raise money for the victims. In his photos, he noticed trash and poverty — so he came up with a way to use one to combat the other. “I literally Googled what you could turn trash into, and one of the most amazing things was fabric,” he says. He created Thread, based in East Liberty, with a founding team of five members.

The Allegheny Front

Pittsburgh Company Recycles Bottles and Brings Jobs to Haiti

February 21st, 2014

When a local photographer saw garbage in Haiti piled up in streets and thrown into canals untouched by a stretched public works system, he was moved to do more than take photos. Ian Rosenberger jotted in his journal that it would be good to turn Haiti’s trash into money. And then he created a social enterprise company calledThread to turn plastic bottles into sewing thread, and to offer Haitians work in a country where the unemployment rate is 40 percent.