Fair sneakers from Brazil



How sustainable is Veja?



Veja is a sneaker company that sources and produces everything in Brazil. Since its founding in 2004, the French company has been transforming the way sneakers are produced. With vegetable tanned leather, recycled plastic bottles, vegan shoes, and tilapia leather, the brand is a pioneer in more sustainable materials. What’s even more important is that the company makes sure everything is locally sourced and produced, providing jobs in rural Brazil and building a grassroots community that resonates with the brand’s mission.

Fair production

Veja publishes a complete map of its manufacturing, spinning and weaving facilities, which are all located in Brazil. Final assembly takes place in one factory with whom the company has been working since 2005. The footwear brand states that it costs five times as much to produce a pair of Vejas than a pair of big-brand sneakers and provides several reasons for this. Firstly, the people who work with Veja get paid a living wage, have decent working hours and contribute to their retirement plan. Secondly, the company buys its 100% organic cotton, rubber and certified leather from local sources that are also being paid a fair price for the materials. There might be a smaller profit margin, but the bigger costs are easily justified when you can operate in a manner that’s fair to the people who help you make your products and to the natural environment that enables you to make them. Because the company invests in reality instead of advertising, it manages to compete at a competitive price.

Environmental performance can still be improved

Veja is a force for good and its great story has attracted a lot of attention in the media. With a total number of over 3.5 million pairs sold, the numbers show for it. While we wholeheartedly believe in Veja, with the numbers the environmental responsibility increases as well and we have to touch on the point that the company does not report on environmental performance. Naturally, a brand cannot do everything at once, but there should be some mentions of carbon emissions, water metrics and targets to reduce them. Since Veja uses more sustainable materials and sources and produces locally, its emissions are bound to be lower than the industry average, but we do need some verification from a brand of this size. Veja has been working on producing sustainable sneakers for over fifteen years and it shows: every part of the business is built with sustainability in mind. Veja means ‘look’ in Portuguese and when we look at what's behind the brand, we see that the French founders have managed to build a community of people who seemingly enjoy working with the brand. Like always, there is something to improve upon, but we fully support and recommend the brand.

Publication date: March 22nd 2020
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