We are often asked how Po-Zu sneakers are different to what’s out there in the market.
Sven Segal, Po-Zu's Founder and Creative Director, put together this article to explain how he makes sneakers that don’t cost the planet, and the health of the farmers and the shoe factory workers that produce them.
We aim to prove that a different approach is possible and make ethical and sustainable business practice the norm. Let's start by looking at STANDARD vulcanised shoes that you find in stores - compared to Po-Zu's ethically sourced and made, toxic-free sneakers.
2018 annual UK TOP100 corporate modern slavery influencers’ index rankings announced. Safia Minney, MBE, has been recognised as the #9 influencer in the inaugural 2018 Annual UK Top100 Corporate Modern Slavery Influencers’ Index.
Index recognises individuals from all business sectors, third sector, media and academia who are influencers in raising awareness to end modern slavery and labour exploitation.
The inaugural 2018 Annual UK Top100 Corporate Modern Slavery Influencers’ Index, co-created and co-curated by BRE and Sustain Worldwide, has been conceived to simultaneously raise awareness of modern slavery and labour exploitation while recognising the key influencers who are supporting its eradication. Anti-trafficking charity Hope for Justice is the official charitable partner.
The Index is based on the combination of influence on social media, as measured by Kred scores, and advocacy – policy input, speaking and media engagement – in public life, which is evaluated by desktop research. The two metrics are then aggregated via a proprietary algorithm and evenly weighted to produce the final rankings. An independent panel has verified the Index’s transparency, impartiality and robustness.
The rankings were announced on 26 September by Baroness Young of Hornsey OBE at a Recognition Dinner held at RIBA, Central London.
Safia Minney addressed more than 100 of her fellow influencers and guests at the Recognition Dinner, said:
“I am honoured to be recognised as having influence as part of this movement against modern slavery. We must all stand up for what is just and decent as human beings. For me, it’s been a personal journey of 30 years, and through the generations, as my great grand-mother was a bonded labourer in a sugar plantation. My passion and anger comes from seeing the violence and institutional corruption that silences, exploits, and abuses human beings. Our legal systems are largely dysfunctional in the developing world, where private security forces vastly out-number the police, who are in any case often corrupt. Victims of human trafficking, child labour, and forced and bonded workers rarely have recourse to the law or safe-haven. I’ve dedicated my life to proving Fair Trade and ethical business is economically possible. We all say that slavery is abhorrent, shocking and disgraceful, but we continue to buy products and services that are clearly made by people in slavery. The middle and professional classes are absolutely complicit in this. They can afford to buy and support Fair Trade and ethical brands and help create a level playing field, so these better brands like People Tree and Po-Zu, can thrive and continue to set the agenda for change.
We need to overhaul international trade. We need import controls for companies where there is not credible evidence that their workers and sub-contractors’ workers, are paid the local living wage. People around the world care and have worked tirelessly to build and be part of the Fair Trade and organic movement, but now we need effective policy from the UK and other governments.”
The rankings of the 2018 Top100 influencers can be viewed here.
Safia Minney MBE is Founder of People Tree and has been a pioneer in ethical business and a campaigner for corporate accountability and eco-friendly lifestyle for more than 30 years, here and in Japan. Safia has established Fair Trade supply chain solutions, initiated World Fair Trade Day with the WFTO, and has defined PR and marketing campaigns and the strategic directions needed to reach new markets. At the heart of everything she has done has been a creative force and passion to deliver social impact, human rights and sustainability. Safia is currently managing director of ethical footwear brand, Po-Zu and is author of 9 books, including ‘Slave to Fashion’, which exposes modern slavery in the fashion industry.
Modern Slavery is an ‘umbrella’ term for labour exploitation, forced labour, child labour and human trafficking. In 2017, 5,145 potential victims were referred to Britain’s National Referral Mechanism, a 35 per cent increase on the previous year. The UK Government has estimated there are between 10,000-13,000 people held in modern slavery in Britain today. The Global Slavery Index has estimated there are 45.8million people across 167 countries in modern day slavery.
Po-Zu will be running a 25% website wide sales promotion of slavery-free, ethically produced sustainable footwear to celebrate, use code GLOBAL25
Safia says: “So honoured, thank you #sustainworldwide, lovely to be in a room amongst such an inspiring community, with great friends Livia (@liviafirth) and Lucy (@theseagull). Please join me to take a stand and only buy slavery free products.”
I’m dreaming of a revolution that creates a truly sustainable world – want to join me?
I thought it was completely normal to dream about sustainability… The world where I walk in is a land with fields, past rivers and oceans that are teaming with wild life, where people work and play with respect of their natural surrounds. It’s a jolt to wake up to such a different reality, that the world we love is becoming smothered by plastics and swamped by pollution. And that workers health is suffering profoundly in this race to the bottom. We don’t pay the true environmental cost or social cost for the products that we buy. We also know that it doesn’t have to be that way…
I founded Po-Zu, because many people around me felt like I do and wanted pozu-tive shoes. As a shoe designer, the challenge has been how to design a collection as environmentally-friendly as possible, using sustainable materials like organic cotton, natural latex, cork, pineapple leaf-fibre, whilst keeping the styles strong and without compromising on comfortable and durability. Knowing that the workers are treated well and that we are not using toxic substances in the shoes makes me feel proud of what we have created at Po-Zu. We are rapidly growing our business thanks to your support and spreading the love – of people and planet.
Please join us in the sustainable shoe revolution on this anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals and introduce us to friends with a celebratory 25% off your favourite sustainable shoes this week until midnight on Sunday *.
SVEN SEGAL Founder & CEO, Po-Zu
* The 25% offer is valid on everything when you enter code: GLOBAL25 at checkout. This offer runs until Sunday 30th September 2018 23:59pm BST.
Fashion week always sets off with a bang. Following the welcome news that Burberry will stop incinerating some £28.6m worth of unsold clothes and perfume and London Fashion Week goes fur-free. We feel that real change is happening at Po-Zu.
We love the fact that the vegan dialogue is central to the discussion at London Fashion Week this season. 85% of our new SS19 Collection is vegan and we are actively working to increase this for following seasons. We are excited to be leading the movement for ethical and cruelty-free footwear.
For us, it is an incredibly exciting time in the industry with events like the Bare Fashion Show and Wear the Walk’s Off-Schedule Fashion Showcase taking place at the Groucho Club. This shows a continued shift towards better practice in the industry.
In 2015, Po-Zu set up the Better Shoes Foundation to raise awareness to the harmful substances and destructive nature mainstream shoe production causes to the environment and the people within the supply chain. When "less 5% of post-consumer shoes are being recycled" there is great concern about the environmental effect of the vegan and fur-free fashion revolution when it looks to synthetic materials as the solution.
When it comes to vegan footwear, highly synthetic materials like PVC and PU often replace natural substances to simply tick the cruelty-free fashion box. Unfortunately, these materials are highly exploitative and pollutive to the natural environment and workers who make them. They usually take hundreds of years, if not more to biodegrade, releasing toxic chemicals into the ground as they do.
At Po-Zu we are seeing a shift towards vegan fashion that is not just cruelty-free but also plastic-free and environmentally-friendly.
Working with naturally vegan and biodegradable materials, Po-Zu aims to raise awareness about the importance of sustainable, ethically-sourced, biodegradable products that look after the people and planet. Our new fair and ethical line in Sri Lanka uses organic cotton and certified Fair Trade rubber, in a more accessible way than ever before. It has been a very exciting development.
We challenged ourselves to design a sustainable alternative to the commonly used synthetic EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) running shoes Midsole*. After churning through quite a few prototypes we have successfully constructed it from locally sourced Portuguese cork, which is not only biodegradable and renewable but its also featuring some remarkable technical properties.
Cork is a naturally springy material that can absorb huge amounts of energy, and it is also an exceptional insulator; even NASA uses it in their rockets!
Robert Hooke, an English physicist who discovered the honeycomb-like structure in cork using a primitive microscope back in the 17th century, came up with the law of elasticity. He also coined the term "Cell" for the individual compartments he saw in the cork cellular structure.
Diagram of cork cells as seen by Robert Hooke
*Midsole- The midsole is sandwiched between the upper and the outsole - typically found in running shoes. It’s the most important shoe component in terms of cushioning and stability.
Pace yourself before making a brisk decision… Whether you have tried our Brisks before or curious to know the main points of difference between our two types of trainers, check out the comparison table below:
Generally, the Pace feels slightly firmer but provides greater bounce, whereas the Brisk is softer and more absorbent.
Whichever way you stride; may good soles be with you.
We are delighted to interview Tolly Dolly Posh this week, we talk about Plastic Free July, The True Cost Movie, and gifs!
The brand new festival V For will take over The Old Truman Brewery in August, showcasing the best in vegan food and fashion, as well as wellness and fitness.
Po-Zu are delighted to host our Sustainable Fashion Rooms which will run from 2-5 August, where you will be able to browse our collection of vegan shoes, sneakers and sandals.
Find out about the full schedule and book your FREE TICKET Here:
And we are delighted to update and announce new speakers for the Saturday Breakfast Panel discussion click here for your ticket, £8.14
Making sustainable fashion and lifestyle choices is about awareness and creating powerful systemic change. How are consumers, journalists, bloggers doing this and what can you be part of the solution? What does our plant-based economy look like & what is fashions part in this? CLICK to join this interesting debate:
Chair: Safia Minney, MBE, author, activist, Managing Director of Po-Zu & founder of People Tree
Damien Clarkson, co-founder of Vevolution
Mark Bloom, founder of ethical fashion pioneer, Komodo
Zoe Partridge, Founder of Wear the Walk
This event is run as part of a series of events for London Sustainable Fashion Rooms, view the full programme & register.
V For will kick off on 2 August with a special edition of the hugely popular vegan night market, Vegan Nights.
Walk with us to explore the journey we have taken to create the new Po-Zu Sri Lanka collection.
Hear from Founder and CEO of Po-Zu, Sven Segal and Safia Minney, MBE, Managing Director of Po-Zu and previously founder and global CEO of Fair Trade fashion pioneer, People Tree.
View the full collection here: www.po-zu.com
Sven: Design is the process of creating a new product that in my mind has clear benefits and improvements of existing products, so in my case my angle is sustainability and my goal is to create the most sustainable shoe possible.
A Product to have high aesthetics for people to want to buy them in the first place. I wanted to create shoes that are great, and greater that than what’s available in the market. It’s really important to create a product that respects not only the purchaser, but also the people that have produced it, as well as the environment.
Safia: It’s been really fun working with Sven and the Po-Zu team. We’ve been developing the ranges, but also taking a step back to look at what we can do to to work in more sustainable materials, and to develop more social impact.
What was really exciting in developing the Sri Lankan ethical supply chain for Po-Zu and bringing my fair trade experience to bear on that and looking at these incredible sustainable materials. So you have the coconut coir foot mattress, you’ve got Fair Trade rubber, the one hundred percent natural rubber soles and the organic cotton upper, and of course that’s all put together without using any synthetic solvents.
So this is a really comfortable shoe as well as being an incredibly sustainable shoe.
Sven: It has been incredible working with Safia, I think she brings a wealth of expertise in building ethical supply chains, and working in the developing world very closely with farmers and artisans.
She shares the same passions as I do in regards to sustainable materials and production processes.
Safia: I think as an ethical consumer we want to find services and materials that really fit with our values, whether we feel passionately about human rights or sustainability or veganism, we want to find a product and company we can truly believe in. And that’s what gets me up in the morning - wanting to help to provide alternatives to what’s out there in terms of the conventional market and the mistakes being made.
Sven: it’s my hope that many more people would join us to build the shoe revolution.
Meet our Fair Rubber Po-Zu sneakers.
Made with organic cotton canvas, our new sneaker collection is available now on the website £65 / $88 for the high tops.
£55 / $74 for the low rise available here in white (with more news on colourways to come SOON!)
Also in this collection are our Star Wars PORG and FALCON and HAN SOLO sneakers are made under license with Lucasfilm / Disney.
Watch below: the making of the BUTTERFLY sneaker - please share!