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Thread to Address Child Labor in Supply Chains

Thread International
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, will now help improve the working conditions and upward mobility of some 300 locals—200 of whom are children—by providing valuable educational opportunities, job training and healthcare services in the surrounding communities of Molea and Menelas in Port-au-Prince, while working towards a scalable global solution.

Through various partnerships, Thread is hoping to have invested $300,000 in monetary and in-kind donations by December 2019, providing for a detailed field assessment, wellness exams, healthcare services and the construction of a long-term, career-oriented support network in Haiti.

“We are honored to contribute to this important work being spearheaded by Thread,” said Colleen Vien, director of sustainability for Timberland, which has done extensive agroforestry work in Haiti over the past five years. “They are looking beyond the environmental value associated with the collection and recycling of plastic bottles, and digging into some of the very real social implications. This progressive approach has the potential to truly change the face of global sup-ply chains in the circular economy.”

“We are excited about the innovation occurring in Haiti as we help turn waste into a resource that generates income and improves conditions for families living in poverty,” said Stuart Pann, HP’s chief supply chain officer. “This commitment builds on our company’s vision to create technology solutions that help make life better for everyone, everywhere by creating a more inclusive circular economy that treats all workers with dignity and respect.”

In addition, Timberland and HP pledged to source materials from the revamped collection system in Haiti, providing long-term market support to Thread’s program. Timberland will launch a special collection of shoes and bags made with the B Corp’s Ground to Good fabric in Spring 2017, while HP will incorporate the materials into its closed-loop process for manufacturing inkjet cartridges using recycled plastic.

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