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Transparency

How are sneakers made ?

VEJA is Brazilian for "look", looking beyond the sneakers, looking at how they're made.

How are VEJA's made? How much are labourers paid? How much does an organic cotton producer earn? What are the chemicals used in a pair of VEJA? VEJA's transparency boils down to about ten or so questions.

VEJA’s production stages

Making our way back up the production chain

Since 2004, we 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.

This year VEJA is paying R$ 24.77 per kilo of cotton. We increased the incentives for the producers who use agroecological practices and kept the bonus for the associations.                                                                                                                                   

In 2021 we paid R$18,72 which includes the bonus for the producer and the associations to continue supporting their operations.                                                                                                                                                                                                        

In 2020, VEJA paid R$17,70 in total per kg of cotton lint, almost 50% more than the market price. 

Cotton flower

2018

© Charlotte Lapalus

Evolution of the organic cotton price

(R$/KG per year)

On average, we purchased our cotton twice as much as market price in 2017.

Our VEJA sneakers cost 5 times more to produce than big brand sneakers. Because we use fair trade and organic raw materials, because they are more economically equitable for all parties involved in the production chain, because we invest in research and new technologies.

Jeffrey, Log'ins employee

© Ginevra Formentini

We asked a Chinese factory to provide a cost estimation for producing our Esplar style.

A VEJA would cost 3 times less to produce in that factory.

In the VEJA factories in Brazil

18.21€

In a Chinese factory

5.3€

But they wouldn't be made with socially and environmentally responsible materials and processes.

V-10 White Orange-Fluo Natural

Log’ins, 2021

© Ginevra Formentini

Today, 100% of the logistics for the VEJA online site and the Parisian stores are managed by Log’ins, a company that promotes social and professional integration. 

In their warehouse located in the South of Paris, Log’ins is in charge of receiving the sneakers from Brazil, organizing their storage, preparing orders, and shipping worldwide our sneakers.
By 2021, 163 employees recognized as disabled workers were supported by Log'ins. Their main objective is to provide them with a stable and secure position and eventually the confidence to find another job.

Containers

@Studio VEJA

Fair Trade

Since 2004, we have been applying fair trade principles on the ground. In other words, we work directly with producers and cut out the middleman.

We pre-finance harvests by as much as 50%. In other words, organic cotton is purchased a year before it's turned into a sneaker.

At the beginning of the year, we agree on the price of cotton signing a contract valid for two years with the producers.

That way, the producers know how much they will earn from the harvest before planting a single seed. This price is market-uncorrelated to make sure producers can live decently and reinvest in their farms.

At the beginning of the year, we agree on the price of cotton signing an annual contract with the producers. That way, the producers know how much they will earn from the harvest before planting a single seed. This price is market-decorrelated to make sure producers can live decently and reinvest in their farm.

Organic cotton during harvesting

© Melanie Bahuon

Transparency,
the future of environmentalism ?

Organic certification

All of our cotton has been certified organic since VEJA was launched. Our new Peruvian partner is also certified.

Chemical transparency
VEJA is continuously analyzing the chemical safety of our sneakers to ensure that they do not contain toxic or polluting elements.

As of October 2021, our material suppliers must submit a test report specifying that their products do not contain the most commonly used hazardous chemicals in the fashion industry.

To facilitate the process, control, and monitor this across the production chain, our sourcing team has developed the VEJA Restricted Substances Policy.

Our Restricted Substances Policy helps identify and reduce the impact of these hazardous substances in our materials.

This document applies to all sneakers for women, men, and children.

Chemical tests

2021

© Studio VEJA

VEJA's 'preferred' materials

In 2020, from all the textiles and leathers VEJA used, 85% are considered environmentally 'preferred' raw materials.

VEJA considers recycled PET, organic cotton, ChromeFree leather, organic jute, C.W.L. as 'preferred' materials.

Conventional cotton is used as a support in some specific textiles.

This material is laminated (or bonded) to the back of the fabric to make it more durable, resilient, and strong.

VEJA is not producing this fabric in organic cotton because the volume we use is considerably low.

VEJA’s textiles and leather consumption in 2020

The Esplar model

Organic cotton: 9% of the total weight

Amazonian rubber: 8% of the total weight

Other 'preferred' materials, such as rice waste, EVA from sugar cane, and recycled materials: 29%

Total: 46% of a pair of Esplar is made out of 'preferred' materials.

*Leather was not considered a 'preferred' material, and it represents 20% of the shoes’ total weight

2022

© Studio VEJA

What is B Corp ?

B Corp is a certification that evaluates VEJA's global impact. B Corp is an open questionary of very detailed questions about the company. Very detailed questions about the wages, the suppliers, the team, the environment, the workplace, or the governance.

In 2004, both founders created VEJA from scratch, without experience or even role models. Instead, they followed their instincts to create a project outside the already established paths. Their objective: to create the company they would have liked to work for, in terms of atmosphere, responsibilities, salary level, and equality. Now that the VEJA team has more than 300 young talents, B Corp allows us to confront VEJA with reality. It helps us realize how much we are doing wrong.

Initiated in 2017, we were B Corp certified in December 2018. It took us almost a year to answer all the questions, and at the end of that year, some weaknesses began to become much clearer.

For example, VEJA's governance can be improved: we don't have a board of directors and have always turned away investors, leaving many decisions and arguably too much power in the hands of just the two founders.

So B Corp will help us to know and underline our weaknesses as a project, and to create better goals and rules. It already gave us many ideas easy to implement, It validated also a lot of good news: for example, the money gender gap: 4 out of the 5 highest earners in the company are women.

We realized that after years of "doing "we had not taken much time to stop for a moment and write things down, so B Corp allowed us to formalize many things: the suppliers' code of conduct, available on the website, the employees' code of conduct or the employees' guide: a common guide for all the world teams (France, Brazil, US).

But there is still a long way to go. And B Corp will help us on this journey. VEJA is proud to be part of this group, which counts long-term role models such as Patagonia.

See more about VEJA certification on B Corp website.

Production line employee

Porto Alegre, 2021

© Studio VEJA

VEJA code of conduct

This code clarifies an organization's mission, values, and principles, and a commitment to ourselves to remain honest and responsible in our actions and decisions.

VEJA qualifies its direct suppliers and all their factory workers on the code of conduct.

To recognize a situation and to be able to denounce it, each supplier employee counts with training on the subject.

We want to create an environment where everyone feels free to speak up.

Any request or non-compliance with its application can be addressed through several communication channels.

Telephone number: +55 (51) 3065-6100

Email address: ouvidoria@veja.fr

COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE:

In 2020, VEJA did not receive any complaints.

The worker rights are available in all production locations and are regularly checked by our product team during visits.

This document states the VEJA code of conduct in Portuguese, the local language.

The document contains the contact details for complaints, where workers can inform about overtime or canceled holidays or other problems regarding worker's rights related to VEJA orders.

If there would be a complaint, we would then try to figure out what has been the reason for the problem. If it should be discovered that we were responsible because of improper planning, changes at short notice, or similar reasons, we would re-check our processes and strategies even more to avoid such consequences in the future.

For all other causes, we would discuss with suppliers how the situation could be improved to prevent it from happening again.

Mechanical tests

Porto Alegre, 2021

© Studio VEJA

Physical and Mechanical tests

We also test, under the same conditions, the mechanical properties of our shoes.

Repeated movements (bending, friction, etc.) are carried out by machines on pairs of control sneakers selected at random. We then measure sole wear, seam resistance, etc.