For many people across the globe, recycling offers a key entry point to participate in the circular economy – an economy that is restorative and aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. In Haiti, many families rely on plastic collection as a sole source of income and often face the difficult choice of involving children in this work in order to ensure the security and well-being of the family. Therefore, Thread (the leader in responsible fiber and fabric production) has announced a new Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action to address the problem of undignified and child labor in global supply chains, through a targeted effort in Haiti.
In partnership with Timberland, HP, Team Tassy, and ACOP, Thread’s commitment will help improve the working conditions and upward mobility of some 300 Haitians – 200 of them children – by providing valuable educational opportunities, job training, and medical care. The programs will impact the surrounding communities of Molea and Menelas, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, while working towards a scalable global solution.
«The very bottom of the supply chain is where people are the most vulnerable» said Ian Rosenberger, Founder and CEO of Thread. «No longer is it okay to ignore the issue because it’s difficult to talk about. We’re proud to be working with great partners like Timberland and HP to find a solution in Haiti that can change our global understanding of dignified work».
«Thread is 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 supply chains in the circular economy», said Colleen Vien, director of sustainability for Timberland, which has done extensive agroforestry work in Haiti over the past five years.
«This commitment – said Stuart Pann, HP Chief Supply Chain Officer – builds on our company’s vision to create technology solutions that help make life better for everyone by creating a more inclusive circular economy that treats all workers with dignity and respect. 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».
Through various partnerships, Thread expects to have invested $300,000 in monetary and in-kind donations by December of 2019, providing for a detailed field assessment, wellness exams, healthcare services, and the construction of a long-term, career-oriented support network in Haiti. The model will serve as a pilot to expand to similar regions throughout the world.
In addition to joining the Commitment to Action, both Timberland and HP plan to source materials from the revamped collection system in Haiti in order to provide long-term market support to the program. Timberland will also continue its longstanding commitment to Haiti with the launch of a special collection of shoes and bags made with Thread Ground to GoodTM fabric in Spring 2017. HP will incorporate the materials into its closed loop process for manufacturing inkjet cartridges using recycled plastic.