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5 years on - The world understands that social issues and environmental crisis are now matters of urgency.
Day after day, prophets of all kind are pulling the emergency cord, the entire economy is turning green and sustainable-developementising speeches are spreading around. Actions remain scarce but words abound. Beyond movies about the environment, beyond multinational companies building green windows to hide disasters, beyond the Copenhagen speeches filled with words and political promise….
And despite this green-fronted economy, let's try to offer a different vision which combines fair trade and ecology and links together economy, social initiatives and the environment. A vision that proposes cultural change.
This is what Veja is all about. Shoes for a purpose.
FOLLOWING THE THREAD
Located in the Northeast of Brazil, the state of Ceará has vast wealth inequalities, fragile soils and a tendency towards drought. In contrast to the predominant monoculture farming system, a group of small producers grow cotton and food plants under agro-ecology principals which ban agro-chemicals and pesticides.
For those small-scale farmers (1 hectare of land on average), farming development goes hand-in-hand with environmental protection.
Veja buys cotton from 320 families who live from organic farming. Respecting fair trade rules. This cotton is spun then weaved into canvas for Veja sneakers and accessories.
Veja does not advertise.
The ressources saved are integrated into the production chain.
This means the farmers and producers Veja works with are fairly remunerated – to accomodate their social and environmental requirements.
Veja’s fabrication costs are 3 to 4 times higher than other footwear brands because the trainers and bags are produced with dignity. But Veja’s “no advertising” policy makes it possible to sell trainers at a price which is equal to competitors.
Veja tightly controls its production and only produces orders placed six months in advance.
There is no extra stock produced. Production has to adapt to the availabilty of organic cotton which may vary.
This means sometimes having to reduce the quantities ordered by retailers to reflect the harvest.
KEY PRIORITY : CO2 REDUCTION
While some people are planting trees and others are building CO2 injection wells, the most important priority is the reduction of emissions and energy use. In order to reduce, we need to change our methods of transportation, organization, production, conditioning and consumption.
All Veja trainers are transported by boat from Porto Alegre, Brazil to Le Havre in France. Upon arrival in Le Havre, the trainers travel in barges along the canals to the Parisian suburbs.
Veja’s packaging is made of recycled and recyclable cardboard. The size of the shoe-box was reduced in 2002 to optimize efficiency.
Finally, Veja uses ENERCOOP (a cooperative of green electricity), in its Headquaters instead of EDF (the French national nuclear energy supplier).
Image Credit: Veja