SAOLA was born with a clear ambition: to offer cool, comfortable but above all innovative and sustainable productsto change the shoe industry, one of the most polluting in the world. We also knew from the start that our means of "startup" would not allow us to revolutionize everything at once and we made choices. After months of research, visits to factories and suppliers, we decided to focus in a first phase on what is responsible for around 60% - 70% of the carbon footprint of products: materials and processes Manufacturing.
We therefore use a maximum of recycled, bio-sourced materials and also technologies for optimizing manufacturing processes such as "knit / knitting" which allows simplification of assembly but also eliminates any waste of material.
"Offer cool, comfortable but above all innovative and sustainable products"
It was imperative to find a production plant in line with our social and environmental values, but one that was also close to our raw material suppliers to reduce emissions from transportation of materials.
After spending much time searching to find the ideal partner, we selected a factory near Hanoi in Vietnam, which already had been producing footwear for established brands who had social and environmental regulations in place. This allowed us to guarantee satisfactory working conditions for the employees and assure a high quality of production - something that is far from easy when you’re a startup!
Our local agent, Xavier, has been based in Taiwan for many years and is in charge of production monitoring. He regularly travels to the factory in Hanoi and has continually given us positive feedback on the quality of the factory, the working environment, and ongoing improvements in the quality of production. Thanks Xavier!
The fact is, everything is in a perpetual state of change and the only promise we can make is to remain tenacious in our search to find better social and environmental solutions to bring you truly sustainable kicks.
"I would like to set out some facts to explain to you the vision of SAOLA.
As a young brand (we have just celebrated our 2nd anniversary), we are aware that there are many points on which we still have to work ... it would not be funny otherwise! And this is what we are working hard on season after season.
In addition to France, we sell in the United States (our largest market), Canada, Germany, Israel, the Philippines and New Zealand. So yes, we are obliged to transport the goods. By wanting to sell in different countries, it is difficult to find an ideal production site (because we can only have one at this stage because of our small size but it would be a dream to get there in the coming years!).
In addition I would like to draw your attention to the "made in" because many brands can produce in Europe but with materials that come from fairly distant countries too, and according to regulations, the% of non-European materials on products " made in Europe "can be very high. We have seen it in many factories in Portugal among others. Do not hesitate to challenge them.
I spent a lot of time analyzing studies done on the carbon footprint of a pair of shoes and it appears that a large majority of this carbon footprint (70% or more) is linked to the materials and production process. . Maritime transport Asia Europe represents between 3% and 6%. Note that some studies show that a truck from eastern countries in France for example will pollute more than a boat with thousands of containers from Asia ...
Due to the targeted international distribution, we made the decision to tackle 70% first before tackling other subjects, because we cannot solve everything all at once. But believe us, our brains are running non-stop, always with improvement and optimization for the planet in mind.
Thank you for taking the time to read this long message, hoping that it will give you some additional elements for your reflection.