Price of cotton purchased
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.
Since VEJA was created, all of our sneakers were 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 sneakers shipped from Brazil, organizing their warehousing, preparing orders and shipping them to stores that distribute VEJA.
Preparing a V-10 Black Atelier Sans Frontières, 2017
© Studio VEJA
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.
All of our cotton has been certified organic since VEJA was launched. Our new Peruvian partner is also certified.
Every year, we check the chemical safety of our sneakers to ensure we have eliminated all hazardous chemicals from our production processes. In other words, we selected the most frequently used hazardous chemicals in the fashion industry and we test them on our sneakers to make sure they don't contain any of these noxious, toxic or polluting elements.
Dmitri Mendeleiev's Periodic Table
© Dmarcus100 / Wikimedia
To do so, every season we choose 5 models from our collection to serve as a reference. One pair from each model is then selected at random during production. These test models are then taken apart, and each component is literally crushed into powder with a grinder.
These powders are used to confirm and measure the absence or presence of the prohibited or regulated chemical compounds frequently used in the fashion industry. Furthermore, we have banned the use of any form of Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in our products. In fact, this material has already been phased out of our supply chain.
That's what happened a few years ago when in one of our brown suede sneakers, we found a chemical that wasn't prohibited, but regulated because it was considered a potential hormone disrupter.
© Studio VEJA 2017
So B Corp will help us to know and underline our weakness as a project, and to create better goals and rules. It already gave us many ideas easy to implement: for example, we would like to lengthen the paternity leave. We will share them with you along the way.
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.
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, that counts long term role models such as Patagonia.
What is B Corp ?
B Corp is a certification that evaluates VEJA global impact. B Corp is about 300 open and very detailed questions about the company. Very detailed questions about the wages, the suppliers, the team, the environment, the workplace or the governance.
We decided to undertake this certification to improve VEJA in many ways. As the 2 founders started the VEJA project very young, they had no experience, guidelines or examples to follow. They were very unexperienced managers, and set up the company on instinct rather than by the book. Since day one, their goal was to create the company that they would have loved to work for. In terms of tasks, responsibilities, level of wages, equality.
Now that the VEJA team is more than a 100 talented people, B corp is a good way of testing VEJA through reality. We took almost one year to go through all the questions, and some weak points appeared. For example, the governance of VEJA is not that great. There is no board, no investors and a lot of decisions into the 2 founders’ hands.
© Photo Mario Simon Lafleur
Manufacturing plantPorto Alegre, 2018
© Photo Charlotte Lapalus
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. Years after years, through external social audits and internal reporting, we make sure that our partners go to a more socially and environmentally balanced workplace. We gather those requirements in our code of conduct : VEJA : A DIFFERENT PATH
To go beyond laws, we ask our agricultural and industrial partners to calculate their environmental impact and to respect social laws and regulations to publish and reduce their use of chemical products.
© Studio VEJA 2017
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.