Gallery: FIRST LOOK: Timberland’s New Shoes, Bags Made With Recycled Plast...

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 of the certified B Corp. Each yard of Thread fabric is tracked at every stage of its production, from the initial rounding up of the bottles to its final creation in the United States.

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This “unprecedented transparency,” Rosenberger said, will allow Timberland customers to learn about the people, the stories, and the impact behind each product they purchase.

“This partnership is truly special; we’re proud to work with a brand with such a longstanding commitment to the environment and social responsibility,” he said in a statement. “Working together transparently, we’re able to look beyond recycled materials toward the rich social impact consumers care about and the stories that bring beautiful products to life.”

With its CGI Commitment to Action, Thread plans to invest $300,000 of monetary and in-kind donations to improve educational opportunities, job training, and healthcare services for 300-plus Haitians, 200 of whom are children, in the surrounding communities of Molea and Menelas in Port-au-Prince, while working toward a scalable model.

RELATED | Timberland Aims to Use 100 Percent Sustainable Cotton by 2020

This model, Rosenberger said, will serve as a pilot for similar programs in other regions across the globe.

Timberland has a Haiti connection, as well. The outdoor-wear manufacturer just made good on its five-year pledge to plant five million trees in the Caribbean country, resulting in the creation of a self-sustaining agroforestry cooperative for 3,200 smallholder farmers.

“We are beyond excited about partnering with Thread,” Colleen Vien, director of sustainability at Timberland, said in statement. “From the moment we met them, we knew this had the potential to be far more than a supplier relationship. Building community has always been at the heart of Timberland, and we were also inspired by the Haiti connection, given our work there over the past five years. Any time we find an opportunity to create both environmental and social value, that’s a big win. And Thread does just that.”

+ Timberland

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