Adapted from the Letter from the CEO section of our 2015 Impact Report.
The things we buy have life.
They were made by the hands of people we won’t ever meet, but who are affected more than we know in their creation. We are connected to these women and men through our purchases. It’s a connection that instills vibrance into the things we own. In this way, our gifts and our clothes, our phones and computers, even our food, are inherently powerful and drastically undervalued. Not only are they symbols of who we are, they’re powerful reminders of the people who made them. They are indicators of our choices to support or deny those people dignity.
To date, we’ve set up an economic system where dignity is still denied more than it is encouraged. Explain to me the new deal available to men and women on reservations in the American South West. Tell me about investment in factories in post-ebola Liberia, or an economic future in Afghanistan that doesn’t have to do with growing opium. Ask a teenager outside of Damascus, or in Flint, what their prospects are. Progress comes from participation, but it is unreasonable to expect us all to move to the corners of the map where opportunity and equality are in such short supply. Sending our clothes, shoes, and medicine there is a slippery slope, and can do more long-term harm than good. How are we supposed to get involved in any meaningful way?
The biggest difference we can make for the future of our planet comes at the cash register. We make a difference with what we buy. That’s the game, set, and match.
A conscious consumer has the power to be our greatest weapon in the fight for our future. We need to acknowledge the inherent humanity in our stuff, defining value not only in dollars, but in whether or not our things hurt people or the environment by being made.
We can demand dignity be offered to the people making what we buy. This means choosing products that reflect this thinking and ignoring ones that don’t offer us that level of transparency.
In exchange we can expect a richer buying and owning experience – one that makes us proud to acknowledge the depth and dimension of the people critical to production. Where our things come from is just as important as where we take them.
This is the third year we’ve published a report detailing Thread’s impact. We’ve spent those three years setting up our first and second supply chains, prototyping our first fabrics, and finding our initial customers. We’ve become a certified B-Corp and raised a venture round as a Benefit Corporation – a network we’re proud to be a part of. Most of all, we’ve worked hard to make the products we sell matter to the people who make them.
This report shows that Thread materials are better – dramatically better – for people and planet than other materials on the market. In our minds there is no reason, that in the next three years every apparel brand on the planet, consider and buy Thread Ground to Good™ fabric and the stories behind it.
In 2016 we’ll work hard to expand both our supply chains and your opportunities to participate in them. But we need your help.
When you buy this year, buy with intent. Give your money and support to brands that acknowledge the human value inherent to their products’ construction. Demand that more brands produce this way. Most of all, recognize that whether it’s a sweater, a new set of luggage, or the salad you just brought home from Whole Foods, the things you buy are alive.
They matter. Not just to you, but to thousands of humans you will never meet.
On behalf of all of the women and men in our own supply chains, thank you. Here’s to what’s possible together in 2016.