Launched in 2005 by Sebastian Kopp and Ghislain Morillon, Veja is a brand of ecological and fair trade footwear that works with cooperatives of small produces and social associations in Brazil and France. Every single pair of trainers are made of either organic cotton, wild rubber from the Amazon, and/or vegetable-tanned leather; all of which are ethically and sustainably sourced.
For the past 7 years, Veja has been working with ADEC - an association of growers located in North-East Brazil. These crops are cultivated without chemicals or pesticides, and are bought by Veja at around twice the market price to ensure fair pay. Veja also works with ESPLAR, a Brazilian NGO that gives support and helps farmers foster and adopt a new form of farming - agroecology. This farming technique provides on-going food for cotton growers and preserves fragile soils, and now more farmers are converting to agroecology as both a means to preserve the soil and protect their own health from dangerous farming chemicals.
Every pair of Veja trainers are made in factories located in the state of Rio Grande Do Sul, a well-developed region in South Brazil, where workers' rights are respected and extra hours are always paid. Ever since 2005, Veja has worked closely with these factories to ensure that they not only comply with the core ILO Labour Standards, but also respect their workers' freedom to unionize and their workers' rights to a high standard of living, social benefits, free speech and more.
Leather is not made under fair trade principles as it, in essence, cannot be. With that being said, Veja has ensured that their leather does not come from cattle that originate from the Amazon, where cattle breeding is a main factor in deforestation. Veja also aims to be in complete control of their leather supplier chain in order to ensure that cattle have nurturing living conditions and that their leather's dying and tanning processes are non toxic.
Veja sources the rubber for their soles from the Amazon, which is the only place on Earth where rubber grows wild. Inside the Chico Mendes extractive reserve, located in the Brazilian state of Acre, Veja works with several associations of rubber tappers (Seringeiros) which include 60 families. Also, since 2007, Veja has been working with Bia Saldanha, the Brazilian Green Party co-founder and environmental activist. She provides technical support for the Seringeiros and coordinates the rubber supply chain.