Today’s challenges – from climate change to plastic waste, via inequality to racism – are enormous. As VAVA approaches our 10th anniversary – happening in 2024 – it is past time to have a written commitment to sustainability and inclusivity, supporting the lives of future generations.
In 2019, demands for immediate action on climate change grew, and a clarion call rang out for us all to commit to limit global warming to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels, a target that was set out in the Paris Agreement. This will require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all sectors of society, if we are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid complete climate breakdown.
“In 2021, with the launch of THEOREM, we are entering a new phase, an era where sustainability plays the leading role”
Back in 2014, VAVA was already putting all of our efforts into creating a more sustainable product – a task in which we succeeded – but since then we have put so much of our energy – as so many start-ups do – into trying to navigate through the big waves of the industry. But WE – and society as a whole – need to do much more because the changes required simply are not happening fast enough.
Today VAVA shares this sense of urgency. We must act now.
In 2021, with the launch of THEOREM, we are entering a new phase, an era where sustainability plays the leading role, and this will be our most important project in the coming years. We are working hard to play our part in the global transition and create a more sustainable product, all whilst being a business who truly lives by its values. Protecting our planet must go beyond downsizing our own environmental footprint.
“It is vital that independent labels lead the way and implement advanced sustainability programmes”
For VAVA, it also means using our voice to create a better world. A voice that can be expanded through your voices – only together can we create a movement within the independent design industry that involves all stakeholders: Raw material suppliers, eyewear producers, brands, stores and customers. We must raise our voices to demand change inside and outside of the industry, pushing continuously against the barriers that exist and are preventing us from embracing a more sustainable and equitable world.
As our label matures, we promise to increase the transparency of our supply chain. It is vital that independent labels lead the way and implement advanced sustainability programmes.
Of course, we recognise that sustainability is a complex matter, and we cannot pursue it in a frivolous, half-hearted way. Because it is not just about decarbonisation or plastic elimination, nor the circular economy, ethical consumption and/or technology. Neither is it just about planting trees or even supporting worthy initiatives. It is all of these things, plus the added responsibility of creating value for the company, the store and society itself, wrapped up in a promise that it IS possible to halt global warming and the destruction of our planet.
For all of the aforementioned reasons, VAVA started a consultancy programme with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in order to build a 360º sustainability strategy with clear goals and deadlines. We also recently joined the internationally renowned organisation, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD).
A 360º approach in the pursuit of a 1.5ºC world is a perspective that also includes our production partners in Italy and Germany, as well as our customers around the globe. VAVA is always open to joining forces with other independent brands because we are stronger together and climate change is, after all, a global problem which needs a global solution.
THEOREM is also about providing customers with true design independence, which is in direct opposition to mass production, monopolies and uniformisation.
“Where the pride of owning a pair of glasses does not only lie in the excellence or exclusivity of the product, but also through its sustainable heritage”
VAVA hopes that we can act as a catalyst to spur on the wider industry to take action, forcing corporations to implement worthy sustainability programmes, instead of merely greenwashing, since they are the ones who can really make the difference with their impact on scale. Independent labels and stores, however, are in a much better position to make the first moves towards this future goal, because we do not rely on greedy investors and cannibalistic structures.
We are truly independent. And together, we can make a difference.
Moving forward with each piece of reportage, we will use these opportunities to build a company culture which is progressive, environmental and social, and at same time bravely face, head on, the areas where we can still improve. VAVA knows that we still have a long way to go, but our hearts will guide us on the way to the FUTURE.
VAVA wants to deliver excellence to the final customer in the design, production and distribution of exclusive collections of independent eyewear, where the pride of owning a pair of glasses does not only lie in the excellence or exclusivity of the product, but also through its sustainable heritage. At VAVA, we believe that the most important attribute is to lead with actions, not words. We know that we will be in a truly sustainable mode when there is no longer a need to keep talking about it.
Addressing the demand for fast-paced changes to a centuries-old paradigm requires more than simply discussion. It is imperative for us all to become part of the change by using – and truly incorporating – terms like equality, diversity and equity.
We believe that our approach to sustainability will ultimately help us to be trusted, valued and supported by society.
Put simply, VAVA is exclusive, sustainable eyewear that invites you to participate in a forward-thinking movement and help us build a more sustainable future, together.
José Pedro Silva, Founder