November 29, 2020

Vor Ort – Der nachhaltigste Sneaker der Welt

These are supposedly the most sustainable sneakers in the world.

Welcome to India! We are travelling with MELA to see what it needsto make these sneakers the most sustainable sneakers in the world.

Come and join us! Every month, the big conventional brandslaunch new sneaker models.

But somehow, nobody has come up with the ideaof producing sustainable sneakers yet.

The most pressing question is obvious:How do sustainable sneakers distinguish themselves? And why isn’t just everyone producing them? When we first started developing the MELA sneakers, we had a look at different sneakers on the market.

We had to realize:Many sneakers are produced with various mixed materials.

So we asked ourselves:How can that be sustainable? What criteria make a sustainable sneaker? For us, it was clear: Sustainable sneakers need a simple design and dismountable materialsthat can be recycled in biological cycles without creating pollutants for the environment.

So, when we cast a glance on our sneakers, we can see: In contrast to other brands, the soles are made from organic, natural rubber.

The soles of conventional sneakersare often made from synthetic materials or mineral oil.

Right now, we are at a rubber plantation.

Rubber is a natural raw material.

Here, the bark is cut so the rubber is drippingdown into a container where it is collected for its further processing for example it is used for the soles of the MELA sneakers.

It is very important to us that the attrition of our sneakersdoes not cause a further pollution of the environment Many shoe soles are made of synthetic materialsthat are harmful and even poisonous for the environment.

Once you realize that a single shoe comeswith an attrition of 100 grams per year, you see that it quickly adds upto a quite relevant impact on the environment.

So from the very beginning, we aimed at avoiding such a negative impact.

As a matter of fact the productionis an extremely complex process.

That is why MELA was trying to design the sneakersas minimalist as possible and only use the most essential parts.

It is quite special about the MELA sneakersthat the shoe itself only consists of 24 components meaning that we spare half of the piecesthat are usually used for the production of shoes.

Usually, there are about 50 components used! And also, the sneakers are particularly sustainable because they are certified by Fairtrade Cotton and the GOTS meaning that all components are certifiedby the Global Organic Cotton Textile standard and are therefore comply with toxicological limit values Also, we are producing within a supply chainthat works in accordance with the Fairtrade Cotton Standard.

So, the organic cotton comes from Fairtrade farmersthat we’re paying a fixed minimum price and a bonus.

And we’re making sure that all processesare handled in a way that is healthy for the people and the environment.

We want the people to work under good conditions.

Every international company has to consider one very important question:Who are the partners I want to work with? On our search for ideal partnerswe very critically assessed each of them and visited them.

In the end, we have achieved long-term relations.

Our producers are firms that have already reached a certain size so we can grow in cooperation with them.

They are influential producerswith a good network in India because we need reliable partners .

who also share our values and our vision, who support our innovative approach who further develop products with usand are drivers of our ideas.

Together with MELA, they identify good materials and refine them.

The producers that MELA cooperates withhere in India are quite exceptional.

The working standards in the factories are very highand all of them are partially working with organic cotton.

Here, the actual amount of organic cottonis not regulated by the factory but by the brands.

The higher the demand for organic cotton, the more organic cotton is used by the producers.

We are at Maral Overseasand here you can see hall number nine where the organic cotton is stored.

So, you can see how much cotton there is in this hall and now I show you MELA’s stackwhich is Fairtrade certified organic cotton, so it goes even one step further.

To put it in relation: There are nine halls.

Eight halls contain conventional cotton Here, the organic cotton is stored and MELA.

Again and again, it is astonishing to meto see how complex and multi-faceted the textile industry really is.

So many people are employed in that industry in different areas.

The classical image of the sewerthat we all have in our minds is only part of the entire supply chainthat characterizes our sneakers.

Nevertheless, I can clearly seethat we are an exceptional business and many more companiesshould head into the same direction we need more consumers to build an awarenessfor the issue of sustainability and fair trade so the industry can go through a transformation.

MELA is still a very young company.

and has grand plans for the future.

CEO Henning wants to access the mass marketbecause only there, he can make the biggest change We heard the same thing here over and over: it really depends on the ordered quantities whether or not the producers design their productionaccording to the wishes and values of the brands.

MELA has a very strong focus:We want to be pioneers, we want to be a lighthouse, We want to show that sustainable products are feasible and so is a sustainable production.

We want to overcome borders holding us back where it is believed to be unfeasibleor too expensive or not in demand.

It is our goal to inspire more companiesto head into the same direction.

and to convince consumersto buy our products when they really need them and in the end to be successful on the marketand set new standards.

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