Veja founders Sébastien Kopp and François-Ghislain Morillion were inspired by their visit to clothing and food factories in South America, Asia and Australia while running a non-profit group. In their visit, they were deeply concerned with how products were made.

Veja was therefore founded in France in 2005, three years after Sébastien and François established a non-profit organization that studied corporate social responsibility policies issued by companies around the world.

Aiming to manufacture sneakers made of the most ecological materials and involving ethical suppliers, Sébastien said the idea behind the brand was to “rethink the creation of a popular product”.

The pair then bought rubber from rubber tappers in the Amazon, despite its price being higher than that of synthetic materials, and made use of ecological cotton that was grown in ways that could return nutrients to the soil, rather than causing damage to it due to the usage of chemicals.

“It helps to fight against deforestation, as [they] prefer to work for us than to cut trees to raise cattle,” Sébastien told CNN, regarding the rubber.