I am the proud owner of new Veja sneakers. Remember in High School when it was oh so important to wear the right labels and logos on your clothes? Since caring about sustainable living, I want to be the person sporting eco-fashion labels, and Veja is a logo I'll wear with pride.
Veja are a French brand who produce their men and women's sneakers in Brazil to sell all over the world. They use their business to do a heap of good stuff but I want to particularly spotlight their Fairtrade cotton and sustainable rubber...
- Organic, Fairtrade cotton - Veja buys their cotton from 320 Brazilian families whose livelihood depends on their farm. Their cotton is organic which means that the farmers aren't exposed to synthetic pesticides or fertilisers which is infamously harmful to their health. Cotton is also a great natural fabric which decomposes, unlike the synthetic fabrics which dominate 60% of the materials garments are made from today.
- Sustainable Rubber - If only rubber grew on trees, eh? Actually, it does. The only place in the world where rubber grows wild is in the Amazon rainforest and Veja buys their rubber from there - from 60 families who live in this forest. Most rubber we use today is synthetic (made from petroleum) and this industry is detrimental to wild rubber farmers (who struggle to compete with low production prices). In the Amazon, it's more advantageous for farmers to use their land for cattle farms (we rely on a lot of cows) or for wood extraction, both contributing to deforestation.
Beyond conscious materials, Veja are doing other things right too. They transport their shoes from Brazil via boat or barge to lessen their carbon footprint, and their packaging is recycled and recyclable. In their European offices they use green energy and they have chosen not to spend money on advertising but instead to invest in their production line so they can keep the cost of their shoes as low as possible.
Check Veja out! The soles of my shoes are helping stamp out deforestation in the Amazon and the cotton is employing farmers to run their businesses with dignity. That's pretty cool.
The garment industry has long functioned with low accountability, dependant on consumers who don't ask questions. I've started to filter who I buy clothes from according to how transparent their website is. Companies like Veja have nothing to hide so you can find out all about their production line and business practices on their website. Other (ahem, huge) companies aren't so honest about their dealings online. I want to support those who are trading and creating products honestly, not just with verbal support but through buying their products too.