VEJA shoes are on a tear in the sneaker market. Combining gracious style with social entrepreneurship, VEJA has set itself apart from the rest of the athletic shoe market. By integrating fair trade principles and social activism into its business plan, VEJA is making its mark on an industry crowded with options.

Here are a couple examples of the company’s environmentalism and social entrepreneurship:

  • The cotton used by VEJA is always harvested with respect for the people and environment. It’s all organic and grown by farmers’ associations in Brazil and Peru.
  • The rubber used is Amazonian rubber, purchased at five times the market price, including a bonus for quality and social and environmental services. It has been certified Fair for Life in 2019 thanks to VEJA’s support to continue improving the living conditions of rubber tappers and ensure the protection of the Amazon rainforest. The “Fair for Life” standard guarantees, among other things, long-term and direct trade relationships, fair prices, good working conditions, and the prohibition of forced labor.

These practices are unheard of in the sneaker industry and are one way that VEJA is separating itself from the competition.

In this client spotlight, we provide information about how Burris Law helped VEJA file its US design patents and explain just what helps make VEJA stand out.

Burris Law was lucky to have this client introduced to us by our friends over at French law firm Germain Maureau.  So far this year, we have secured four U.S. design patents for VEJA Shoes, beginning with our first granted patent in May. In addition, we have a dozen others pending with the USPTO.

Organic Certification

Since 2004, VEJA has been applying fair trade principles on the ground, working directly with producers and cutting out the middleman. It pre-finance harvests by as much as 50%. In other words, organic cotton is purchased a year before it’s turned into a sneaker.

At the beginning of the year, VEJA agrees on the price of cotton by signing a contract valid for two years with the producers. That way the producers know how much they will earn from the harvest before planting a single seed. This price is market-uncorrelated to make sure producers can live decently and reinvest in their farms. All of the cotton used by VEJA has been certified organic since day one.

Chemical Transparency

VEJA is continuously analyzing the chemical safety of its sneakers to ensure that its products do not contain toxic or polluting elements. As of October 2021, its material suppliers must submit a test report specifying that their products do not contain the most commonly used hazardous chemicals in the fashion industry.

To facilitate the process, control, and monitor this across the production chain, VEJA’s sourcing team has developed the VEJA Restricted Substances Policy. This policy, which applies to all sneakers for women, men and children, helps identify and reduce the impact of these hazardous substances in VEJA’s materials.

VEJA is the first sneaker brand to use fabric entirely made from recycled plastic bottles and recycled polyester. Made in Santo André, Brazil, the shoes use plastic flakes sourced from plastic bottles that are then turned into polyester fiber through extrusion. On average, three plastic bottles are needed to make a pair of VEJA shoes. Producing a pair of VEJA shoes costs five times more due to its commitment to using raw materials that respect fair-trade principles, the environment, and workers’ rights.

Eliminating Marketing Costs

By eliminating advertising, VEJA reallocates the resources that would typically go into marketing toward what truly matters – ensuring the well-being of the people producing its sneakers in the fields and factories. Part of the heart of the VEJA model is to reinject the amounts normally allocated to advertising into the phase that comes before the assembly line. Raw material producers are thus more justly compensated, social and environmental impacts are constantly optimized, and sneakers are manufactured in conditions where everyone gets the respect they deserve.

We love having special clients like VEJA! The company’s socially conscious products make our lives better, and the communities that produce the raw materials are thoroughly compensated. It is nice to work with a company that has the same values as we do at Burris Law. Many companies treat sustainability as an aspirational goal, but VEJA has shown that with the right combination of love and effort, anything is possible!

J’adore mes chausseures de Veja!