That’s why we see little advertising of Veja

Photo: Tiraden / Wikipedia Commons

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That’s why we see little advertising of Veja

The cut V of the shoe brand Veja adorns millions of sneakers around the world. But where does this brand come from?

How sustainable is it really? Four fixed points.

Suddenly, we see it everywhere: the cut V adorning the sides of Veja’s white eco-sneakers. She is at the feet of Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton and Emma Watson as well as those of millions of other people around the world. Every year, Veja sells more than two million pairs of shoes¹.

But how sustainable can it really be? And where does this brand come from? Here are four key points.

1. Veja was founded by two dissatisfied bankers

Veja’s founders, Sébastien Kopp and François-Ghislain Morillion, were both working as bankers in the United States when they decided to leave the industry in 2003. “We were 23 at the time and we were dissatisfied with our job as we worked for a system that was constantly talking about money and how to make more of it,” explains Kopp². The two founded an NGO with which they wanted to advise companies on the issue of sustainability. during their travels in China. India and Brazil realized that the stories told by companies did not correspond to reality. Suddenly it was clear: to make a real difference, they would have to start a business themselves.

2. Veja does not advertise

The founders of Veja were faced with a fundamental question: how can shoes be produced which are competitively priced but nobody is harmed during production? The answer lies in advertising. Or rather: in not advertising. On his website Veja writes³: advertising is responsible for 70 percent of the costs incurred by the major sneaker brands. By eliminating it, these funds can be invested in fair production conditions and environmentally friendly materials. The founder of Veja Kopp comments on the decision against advertising: “We don’t have to invent our own stories, they are already extraordinary.”

3. Veja is more sustainable than other brands but it’s not perfect

Can a product that sells millions of pieces be truly sustainable? The short answer is: not sustainable but more sustainable. To be a little more verbose: Veja claims to attach great importance to transparency, to pay its workers fairly and, where possible, to use organic or recycled materials. For a long time, Veja was criticized for not being able to produce certificates. Meanwhile, at least some of Veja’s cotton has been certified4; as «Global Organic Textile Standard» and comes at least 70 percent from organic farming.

Founder Kopp candidly admits5: «We are not perfect.» The brand communicates6 in full transparency that between 2015 and 2016, due to the drought, she had to use recycled cotton instead of organic cotton and that she had to go back to using conventional dyes because she was not satisfied with the quality of the natural pigments. Also, according to Cosmopolitan7 one out of three Veja sneakers is vegan.

4. Veja proves it: sneaker brands could be more sustainable

When Sébastien Kopp and François-Ghislain Morillion founded Veja, they didn’t have any fashion experience, but both wanted to found a company that produced fairly and sustainably. One day they came to the conclusion that the ideal product could be a sneaker. For Kopp, Veja’s success is more than just a good story. It is proof that a fair and ecological fashion industry is possible: “if two Frenchmen have succeeded with no idea of ​​shoes, fashion or anything else, then all the big brands can do it too.”


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