since 2005, VEJA has been making sneakers differently infusing each stage of production with a positive impact.
by far one of the most sustainable and social conscious brands with the highest transparency, dare we to say VEJA grew up with us, as kapok was one of their early retailers in the world. their design concepts and business approach is holistic and humane, a role model for many others to take notes and learn from. here's why...
the idea behind a pair of VEJA: standing up with one foot in design and the other in social responsibility.
they take longer to design our shoes than other big brands. they love designing sneakers that we'll be proud to wear in 10 years. the attention they bring to each step of the manufacturing process is thorough. they weren't designers at first, but simply put in the time and that's what they became. only 25 styles (in multiple colourways) have been designed since VEJA was founded.
« we decided to make sneakers, because this product is a symbol for our generation and our era. It's also a product that crystallizes the major issues of globalization through its production, dissemination, and usage. »by Victoria Martin
what sets VEJA apart is working directly with organic cotton producers, and buying their cotton at a market-decorrelated price.
the organic cotton they use at VEJA is made by farmer associations in Brazil and Peru that harvest it with respect for people and the environment.
organic cotton is purchased by VEJA directly, respecting fair trade principles, before it is woven into the canvas, laces and uppers used in many VEJA models.
since launching the VEJA project in 2004, more than 390 tons of organic and fair trade cotton was purchased directly from several producer associations located in different regions of Brazil and the Peruvian coast.
in 2015, the region suffered a drought that killed all the cotton flowers. to deal with this shortage, they used recycled cotton to make our shoes. In 2019, they bought 125 tons of cotton produced by families in Brazil and Peru. VEJA paid up to 50% in advance to several associations.
all cotton used by VEJA is certified. Part of the cotton produced in Brazil is certified organic according to the European regulations. the remaining is part of the Brazilian Participatory Guarantee System: an approved method from the government where small producers certify each other. although the cotton purchased by VEJA is organic, but the dyes used for the canvas are not. however, they respect the European REACH standards.
« we've been buying organic cotton directly from farmers for 15 years. »
one of the main raw materials for VEJA is Amazonian rubber.
more than 450 tons of Amazonian rubber have been purchased from 2004 till the end of 2019. VEJA buys it at twice the market price. the areas surrounding the producer families are protected since. this material is used in the sole of every sneaker. they buy the rubber directly from cooperatives formed by families of rubber tappers.
VEJA soles are made of 20 to 30% of natural rubber.
the Amazon is the only place on Earth where rubber trees grow in the wild. in the Brazilian state of Acre, the seringueiros, rubber tappers, harvest the rubber used in VEJA soles. the seringueiros live in the forest and depend on it for survival. during rubber season in between March and November, they make their way through the forest. they have the authorization to harvest and tap the rubber trees following a path only them know about. this circuit allows the trees to regenerate. on average, each seringueiro harvests 20L.
since 2007, VEJA has been working with Amopreab, which coordinates rubber production and pays the seringueiros in the Chico Mendes Reserve. today, more than 620 families represented by several associations are part of our project.
« at first, i thought i was fighting to save rubber trees, ...then I thought I was fighting to save the Amazon forest. now I know I'm fighting for humanity. »
Veja's founders Sébastien Kopp and François-Ghislain Morillion
VEJA sneakers cost 5 times more to produce than big brand sneakers. because they use fair trade and organic raw materials, because they are more economically equitable for all parties involved in the production chain, because they invest in research and new technologies.
the whole stock of our Parisian shop and e-shop is handled by ASF employees. Atelier Sans Frontières promotes the professional integration of people who are excluded from the labour market, by offering them a suitable paid job, personalized social support, and helping them develop a career plan.
they are responsible for receiving the sneakers shipped from Brazil, organizing their warehousing, preparing orders and shipping them.
transparency, the future of environmentalism ?
organic certification - all of our cotton has been certified organic since VEJA was launched. their new Peruvian partner is also certified.
chemical transparency - every year, they check the chemical safety of the sneakers to ensure they have eliminated all hazardous chemicals from our production processes. in other words, they selected the most frequently used hazardous chemicals in the fashion industry and test them on our sneakers to make sure they don't contain any of these noxious, toxic or polluting elements.
supplier workplace code of conducts - banning child labour, forced labour, discrimination, ensuring work safety, wages respect and decency, right to union-trade… the VEJA team spends its days on field to control and make sure those basic rules are respected.
fair trade - since 2004, they have set the price of our organic and agroecological cotton in advance, in agreement with producer associations from Brazil and Peru. since the price is completely decorrelated from the market and its fluctuations, the contracts therefore ensure the producers a greater financial security. this security is all the stronger since they know how much they are going to earn from the cotton before they even plant it.
upcycling consists in recycling materials or products that have fallen out of use in order to turn them into higher quality or more useful products. plastic bottles, cotton recycled from textile industry cuttings, recycled polyester: our recycled materials give household waste a second life, and allow us to create a range of fabrics according to season and use.
B-mesh, turning waste into innovative materials
VEJA is the first sneaker brand to use fabric entirely made from recycled plastic bottles: B-mesh.
B-mesh is a fabric made entirely out of recycled polyester (polyethylene terephthalate or PET). it's light, breathable and waterproof.
it's made in Santo André, in Brazil, from plastic bottles that are collected, sorted, then transformed into plastic flakes. these flakes are turned into polyester fiber through extrusion. On average, 3 plastic bottles are needed to make a pair of VEJA.
a leather alternative: the corn upcycling
a lot of people speak about the vegan trend, a trend of leather substitutes. unfortunately, plastic is a 99% petroleum-based material and it is often overused as a leather alternative. they follow an ecological purpose so replacing it by polymer materials has never been an option.
after 5 years of R&D, they found the C.W.L, a vegan and bio-sourced material offering an alternative to leather for both smoothness and ecological commitment. the C.W.L is a vegan alternative to leather made from cotton fabric covered by a corn-based coating. it is 63% bio-based and made in Italy.
VEJA is growing
3,5 million - number of pairs sold since 2004.
193 - number of employees.
more than 390 tons quantity of organic cotton purchased from 2004 till the end of 2019.
more than 450 tons quantity of Amazonian rubber purchased from 2004 till the end of 2019.
215 people undergoing professional reintegration who found a job since 2004.
4 out of the 5 highest earners in the company are women.
2500 - number of VEJA's retailers.
60 + Number of countries where you can find VEJA.
chemical testing budget in 2019
of the 126.200-kWh consumed by VEJA in 2019 come from renewable sources (two offices, four shops in Paris). our Brazilian office uses the national grid made out 65% hydro-powered electricity.
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