Where Earth Day Meets Big Data
Halling: "We've been tracking data since the very beginning. As we are setting up supply chains, we are measuring financials, efficiency and the impact we are having socially and environmentally. We track job creation, training hours, pounds of trash, and even the lifecycle carbon emissions associated with each step in our supply chain."
Q: That's a huge amount of data mixing qualitative and quantitative units. How does a Thread customer digest it all?
Macinsky: "As a fabric company, our product goes into consumer goods. Our job is to give our partner brands a very simple distilled story so they can turn that around."
Halling: "It changes from company to company and from consumer group to consumer group. From the list of bragging rights we provide, brands choose the attributes that are most in line with their marketing strategy. Our impact report summarizes some of the data insights."
Q: How is the data Thread captures different than leading supply chain tracking mechanisms in the apparel world—for example, Patagonia's supplier tracking tool?
Halling: "We have a saying that we track everything 'from ground to good.' When we say we know our supply chain, it means we are literally on a first name basis with the people involved. Some apparel companies claim to know the factories where stuff is made. They run audits, verify codes of conduct, etc. We take it way further than that, back to the moment bottles are picked off the street."
Q: What positive social impact can Thread show so far?
Halling: "To date we are supporting 2,000 to 3,000 income opportunities for the poor in Haiti and Honduras. In the first quarter of 2014, our supply chain supported 221 jobs and about 2,700 income opportunities with $100,000 paid to small businesses, and we have huge growth opportunities ahead."