Since our first trip to Brazil, we have created strong commercial bonds with our different partners, based on dialog, transparency and respect. It was when we were working for Alter Eco and Tristan Lecomte in 2003 that we decided to start VEJA. The goal: to forge a new path where exchanges between producers and consumers become more balanced.
Meeting with cotton producersCeará
© Ludovic Carème, 2016
Tristan LecomtePioneer of fair trade in France
© Photographer unknown
Bia Saldanha, Dudu, president of the Curralinho wild rubber producers' association, meeting with rubber producers
© Ludovic Carème
For VEJA, it means working directly with producers and thus cutting out the middleman. It also means pre-financing harvests as much as 40%. In other words, we buy organic cotton a year before it's transformed into sneakers.
The mutually agreed price is set in 1- to 3-year contracts with producer families. That way, the producers know how much they will earn from the harvest before planting a single seed. We also set a market-decorrelated price per kilo of organic cotton or rubber to make sure producers can live decently and reinvest in their farm.
We increase producer income.
Engaging in fair trade means trying to restore balance in global trade.
In 2004, we started this kind of partnership in the Northeast region of Brazil with ADEC (Associação de Desenvolvimento Educacional e Cultural de Tauá), our long-standing partner in organic and agro-ecological cotton farming.
Farmers are organized into associations who share their cotton harvests and transformation costs.
On top of that, we pay a 0.5€ premium per kilo of harvested cotton. This premium is pooled and allows associations to finance their operations.
Price of cotton purchased
In 2017, on average, we purchased our cotton for twice
as much as market price.