Chapters

Production

Manufacturing sneakers with a difference

Since VEJA was created, its sneakers have always been made in the same place: Brazil.

We produce our sneakers both in the Northeast and the Southern of Brazil. Over time, a true partnership grew between the brand and the assembly plant.

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At the heart of the project

In the clothing and fashion industries, the factory is often where all global economic dysfunction is focused: unsafe, even unsanitary working conditions, highly eroded wages and little concern for the environment.

When, after finding our cotton and rubber suppliers, VEJA was looking for a manufacturing location, Brazil was the obvious choice. The country couples robust industries with high added social value.

Workers are well-compensated and live in normal conditions. Nothing to do with Southeast Asian countries which manufacture 95% of the world's sneakers.

Porto Alegre © Photo Felipe Valduga

VEJA manufactures its sneakers in factories and workshops where ILO rules are followed. To guarantee work that meets VEJA's requirements, additional criteria need to be met, such as:

  • Proximity and quality of housing
  • The freedom to form groups to defend their rights
  • Standard of living and purchasing power parity
  • Employee benefits and freedom of expression

Production line employee

Porto Alegre, 2021

© Studio VEJA

And with respect to the sneaker factory we've been working with since 2005, 100% employees live close to the factory. The factory also provides a communal bus service.

They all have adequate housing (electricity, water...) which isn't owned by the factory. 12% of them are unionized.

Factory employees have 4 weeks of paid vacation per year, work 44 hours per week, schedules are regulated, and they have two days off per week.

Overtime is paid and on average, a labourer won't work more than 2 hours of overtime in one day, usually during high season. Moreover, 2 of our 3 factories pay an annual share with their employees based on their profits.

Each employee contributes between 7 and 11% of their salary to the INSS (a mandatory government retirement plan).

They also contribute to FGTS, a mandatory contribution equivalent to 8% of the employee monthly salary. The FGTS is also used as a pension fund.

This fund covers an indemnity to which the employee is entitled when his contract is terminated for no justified cause.

The average salary paid at the factory in 2021 is R$1 578, higher than the country's living wage.

A factory worker in China may work over sixteen hours, sometimes six days a week. The pay for all this overtime is sometimes as low as 55 cents per hour. The average salary is 7,690 CNY per month.

To understand better the living wage of the country, please refer to the following website:

Wage Indicator: R$ 1 212 general minimum wage.

The WageIndicator Foundation was launched in 2001 to contribute to a more transparent labour market for workers and employers. Helping individual workers to fairly access the labour market information and help employers to comply with national labour law.

Porto Alegre, 2021

© Studio VEJA

Vulcanized soles

© Studio VEJA

Always striving to do better

VEJA pushes these suppliers towards ever more transparency. VEJA requires the manufacturing plant to perform recurring social audits and chemical tests.

Every year, we perform a social audit to make sure our factories respect our values and meet our criteria, and to identify the areas where we could still improve and do better.

Cardboard box adapted to the sneaker size

Log'ins, 2020

© Studio VEJA

Following this audit, a corrective action plan is submitted to rectify the few points that still need improving.

Each of our contractors signs VEJA's quality guidelines, which they are commited to follow.

Since 2005, we produce cardboard boxes with natural kraft cardboard.

We limit the use of inks and printing to reduce their impact and ensure their recyclability.

VEJA’s shoeboxes are on average 60% made of recycled cardboard. The rest comes from virgin materials that are FSC certified.

The sizes of the shoe boxes are optimized to reduce material consumption.

VEJA has 12 different sizes of boxes to avoid overconsumption of resources.

The packaging we use to ship our sneakers for our E-shop clients is made from 80% recycled plastic.

We are looking for more sustainable options to use 100% plastic-free packaging.

VEJA has been working with the same factory since 2013.

Due to the natural company growth and the launch of the running line, it was necessary to start a partnership with additional factories.

In 2020 about 48% of our total volume was produced by the factory we have been working with since 2013.

Almost 25% of the production got delivered by another factory we started to partnership back in 2018.

For our running line, we started working with two other new factories in 2019 and 2020. We established a natural partnership with them and new onsite technologies to achieve better quality and services with them.

All VEJA factories are located in Brazil, a country that has strict labor legislation for workers.

Running line factory

Brazil, 2018

© Studio VEJA