In a consumerism driven world, people have become increasingly disconnected from the people who design, and more importantly make our clothing, footwear and other consumer goods. In the US alone, 95% of items are made overseas. It’s therefore becoming increasingly important that we ask where, how and who is making all this stuff we’re buying.
Vivobarefoot are part of a dramatic shift in brands keen to fully understand and be able to clearly communicate to the consumer the full story behind the scenes – from fair wages and innovative Fabrics, to Factory names and locations of the suppliers we have partnered with to make our stuff.
In 2015, we began working with MODE Tracker, the organisation striving to make sustainable fashion common practice. MODE Trackerenables fashion brands and retailers to make clear sustainability progress through a holistic and transparent, tracking tool.
“The MODE Tracker process has made us stronger, challenging us to change the way we work. It has given us a long term sustainability strategy, helping to make progress year on year and to communicate this journey, by looking back and comparing year two with year one and so on.”
Damian Peat, Operations and Sustainability Director, VIVOBAREFOOT
Click here for full interview
MODE TRACKERMODE TRACKER
Transparency by MADE-BY
MODE Tracker has forced us to look at every area of our business in detail to a level that we’ve never looked at before. We have discovered that, in the last six months, we have let some of our disciplines slip somewhat through focusing on the health aspects of barefoot shoes more than other areas of sustainability. But it means a great deal to us and is at the heart of why we started in business.
Creating barefoot shoes may sound a simple process, but it isn’t. The softer and more flexible you make the shoe, the harder it is for the factory to produce. We were focusing more on the durability and sourcing of the materials, which arguably is a sustainable thing to do. MODE Tracker means a lot in terms of just ‘getting back on it’ and being able to be genuinely proud and honest about what we’re doing.
We’re a small team of 20 people and don’t have a dedicated CSR department. Being able to take a step by step approach in selecting your cubes makes the process more manageable for a small brand like us.
We are on a quest to set the gold standard within the shoe industry – for healthy movement and sustainability.
We are 100% committed to Wide, Flat and Ultra-Thin, foot shaped shoes that are innovative and sustainable whilst reconnecting us to nature and humanity. The most sustainable shoes in the world are probably still made by indigenous cobblers who make shoes to demand from the local and appropriate materials for the climate and terrain. The shoes are made for each person and by-and-large designed like gloves for feet to allow the foot to do it’s natural thing.
The future of sustainable and ethical shoe production must respect natural movement and allow humans to move freely and healthily (which most shoes actually get in the way of). 3D printing offers an exciting opportunity to get back to making shoes to demand from essentially local materials without mass industrialization, migrant labour and build up of big stock piles of materials and products that then get forced out into the market and mostly end up in landfill.
Click here to read Interview with Galahad Clark, CEO on sustainability and consumption
We understand that the footwear industry can often source its factory and production locations in some of the world’s poorest countries. However, we also understand that this is not necessarily a bad thing. Our industry is often the first step to greater prosperity for developing countries providing that growth happens in the right way.
To us, being ethical is about doing the right thing. Respecting laws and regulations wherever we operate, but also striving to make change if we do not believe they respect basic human, ethical rights.
We want to encourage social dialogue and consequently collaborate with international organisations such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and Better Work Global / Cambodia. (when moving production over)
“product use and durability”
Use & Durability Strategy
Use & Durability Strategy
The ‘natural’ human foot is a miracle of evolutionary biology; STRONG, STABLE and SENSITIVE. Shoes that let your feet do their thing, so you can move naturally, exactly as nature intended. The earth is your home, not yours to conquer, but to live with in harmony.
We conserve energy through the development of new technologies and leverage existing ones to create cost- effective improvement. It is the task of ‘reusing’ which has become to most difficult to tackle without consuming more. Today, far too many pairs of shoes go out with household waste to end up in landfills. When the product is no longer at 100%, we have a tendency reject it. At VIVOBAREFOOT our aim is to ensure our barefoot shoes help you to reconnect with your natural past, and keep you moving barefoot without compromise.
The worst thing we can do is make products that don’t last, are quickly discarded and end up in landfill. Making soft, thin, flexible shoes that last longer is our unique challenge and we are continually striving to make strong, robust shoes that still allow for freedom of movement.
Packaging & Transport
Packaging & Transport
As a brand, we have the power to hugely reduce our carbon footprint, especially through the use of Shipping methods, and carefully chosen packaging solutions. With an increased global focus on the climate, we are happy to see initiatives such as Fossil Free Sweden, contributing towards the effort, and pushing political and environmental boundaries – something which we hope other countries will follow.
For us, it is much about educating as it is doing. If we do not provide a platform for our employees and customers to follow by example, a longer term strategy is not possible.
We believe that sustainable, long lasting design can only be achieved using the following principles; hand-crafted, traditional shoe making methods, following the rules of your foot and using an automated, long lasting creation processes. Take for example long lasting design. This does not just apply to footwear, but to every aspect of design – shoe boxes and shipping bags/boxes included.