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It is highly important to us that the people who make the shoes we sell are treated fairly. On the one hand, the vast majority of our shoes are sourced from within the EU, and there are already strict laws to ensure the protection of employees within these countries. In other cases, we only source shoes from sustainable suppliers who treat their workers fairly.

Certificates, papers and promises can, as we all know, say a great deal, but mean nothing. That’s why we like to check things out first hand.

We have our own quality and ethical assurance staff, who are sent to the factories of all non-EU suppliers, wherever those factories may be. Companies that do not agree to an inspection are not even considered for inclusion in our range, and if any doubt arises regarding one of our suppliers, we remove that company’s products from our range.

Sole Runner Production in Indian Factory © avesu

How are the shoes and materials transported?

A large part of the carbon footprint of nearly any product we buy is the transportation involved in getting that product to the store. We know it is much better for the environment to keep these distances to a minimum, and by as efficient means as possible. It is therefore not without reason that most of the shoes and other products we stock are manufactured within Europe, and this proportion is set to increase in the future.

When it comes to deliveries from our online store, we ship using DHL GoGreen – 100% carbon-neutral shipping. By using DHL GoGreen, all the CO2 emissions are offset through projects to protect the environment that are certified according to international standards.

Our company vehicles include an electrobike and electric car. We use both of these to transport not just ourselves, but also our products between storage, stores and local events.

Unfortunately, in spite of all this, it is unfortunately still necessary to transport many items through conventional means. avesu is actively committed to and supportive of alternatives, where these are or become available.

How do you approach sustainability within avesu itself?

avesu’s entire business model is based around sustainability. The first store on Schivelbeiner Straße, Berlin, is in what is known as a “passive house” – a building that is excellently insulated, to the extent it generally does not require any additional heating. On top of this, we only use green energy for our electrical devices, and we work with an organisation that plants trees to offset the CO2 emissions created by our online store.

Wherever possible, we opt for sustainable and recyclable materials in all our shops, offices and warehouses. We also only use sustainable wood in our stores. As a business selling shoes, we of course get left with a lot of packing materials – but even those do not go to waste: they are reused when we send products out to our customers by post.

Repairing and proper recycling of old shoes is also an important step we can take for the environment, if you will pardon the pun. We will attempt to repair shoes or at least correctly dispose of them, should they become worn out or broken.

Most importantly, we are committed to sustainability and improving the world we walk on. We are always searching for new ways to make avesu more sustainable and efficient. We know this is the right path.

Are you an ethical employer?

It is really important to us that we practice what we preach. After all, there’s something ironic about buying fair trade coffee from a store that is known to abuse worker rights, don’t you think? We think the same applies to shoes. That’s why our valued sales staff are paid well, and valued for their commitment to our work and cause. We all know, like, and care about each other, too, so we also take individual needs, circumstances and commitments into account when it comes to both wages and working hours. Our staff are human beings, so we all try to be flexible when someone has to pick up their child from school, look after their sick dog, or leave early to make band practice.

All members of the avesu team have direct interaction with one another – from sales staff to co-founding directors. Hierarchies are not our thing. We also hold regular informal chats to discuss various sensitivities and needs.

In line with other aspects of our ethical policy, but also in the people who make up our team, all the essentials used in our offices are organic, recycled and non-toxic – including everything from soap to toilet paper, tea bags and office materials.

As an ethical, modern employer, it is also fundamental to our company philosophy that nobody is discriminated against for any reason. We care about all living things – and this naturally includes the people who work for and with avesu!