Since its inception in 1979, Melissa, the iconic Brazilian-based footwear brand, has been at the forefront of sustainable fashion. With over four decades of experience, the brand has consistently crafted stylish, 100% vegan shoes through mindful production practices. Grendene, Melissa’s parent company and Brazil’s largest sandal exporter, has played a pivotal role in this journey, diligently monitoring key production factors to reduce waste and environmental impact.
Melissa‘s story is one of innovation and disruption. The brand’s initial inspiration came from the footwear worn by French Riviera fishermen, leading to the creation of the Aranha sandal. This was soon followed by the introduction of the iconic Possession sandal, which quickly became a pop culture sensation in the 1990s. Today, the Possession continues to be Melissa’s best-selling sandal style, embodying the brand’s commitment to sustainable production.
The Possession sandal is made with Melflex, a proprietary hypoallergenic material that is a durable form of PVC. Remarkably, 25% of Melflex is sourced from renewable and plant-based raw materials, earning it certification from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The material’s recyclability, water-resistance, and increased elasticity have become synonymous with the Possession sandal, available in various colors for both adults and children.
In 2022, Melissa achieved a significant milestone by reducing CO2eq emissions for the Possession sandal by 30%, making it carbon neutral. The same year, the sandal was certified Climate Pledge Friendly by Amazon, further solidifying Melissa’s commitment to sustainability.
Carlos Andre Carvalho, Sustainability Manager for Grendene, emphasizes the brand’s continuous efforts towards increasing the recycled and biobased content in their products. He envisions a future where the brand leaves a smaller carbon footprint.
Melissa’s production takes place in Grendene’s 11 factories across Brazil, providing over 16,000 local jobs. These factories rely on 100% clean and renewable electrical energy, including solar power. Grendene’s commitment to sustainability extends to its facilities, where water consumption is limited through reuse systems, and industrial waste is responsibly managed to uphold a zero landfill policy.
Melissa’s commitment to sustainability goes beyond its production process. The brand’s shoes are vegan and cruelty-free, with no animal components or testing involved. In 2021, Melissa introduced new product packaging developed with 100% recyclable materials, resulting in 68% less CO2eq emission during its production process.
Over the past decade, Melissa has manufactured more than 32 million pairs of shoes. In the U.S., Grendene Global Brands (GGB) was formed in 2021 as a joint venture between Grendene and 3G Radar, aiming to accelerate brand growth beyond Brazil. According to GGB, Melissa is set to double the volume sold of the Possession sandals in 2023.
Melissa and Grendene continue to invest in innovative ways to increase sustainable productivity and provide the best footwear for consumers. Their commitment to sustainability and style is evident in every pair of Melissa shoes, making them a leader in the world of sustainable fashion.