From the Street to Your Feet

Ecu

12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action

Overview

Every day, people use a car to move around throughout the city. These cars use rubber wheels to move each day which eventually are wore out and need to be replaced. This company uses used rubber wheels to transform the waste in to another product used every day.

Author

Diego De la Garza

Diego De la Garza

School

Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM)

Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM)

Professor

Ezequiel Reficco

Ezequiel Reficco

Innovation

The innovation is the transformation of a used rubbed tire to a comfortable trendy shoe manufactured by indigenous people.

The two founders got together one day and spoke about the Mexican apathy towards recycling. They talked about the amount of waste a rubber wheel generates. They found out that indigenous people from Mexico use the rubber to manufacture minimalist sandals. From this, they created the idea to manufacture shoes for the main public. “We wanted to move on from sandals to trendy shoes to capture the mainstream population and have the impact that we wanted.” said Daniel Noroña, one of the co-founders.

The founders observed the manufacturing of sandals by indigenous people from Mexico. They transformed the concept to manufacture shoes to create scale for the mainstream population. They invited designers to elaborate the design for the shoes to make them trendy, comfortable and attractive.

The mission of the company is to inspire Mexicans to buy into a new business model that creates profit, helps the society and has an environmental impact. With this innovation, the company is making profits by using indigenous people as a source of labor, effectively integrating them to society, and recycling the used rubber wheels to avoid burning them which pollutes the planet.

“The name of the company “Ecü” means “You” in native indigenous idiom to share the idea that you are responsible for the change around you.”

From the Street to Your Feet

Inspiration

Farid and Daniel, the founders of Ecü, wanted to make a business that would inspire the Mexican population to act and do something for the community and the planet. In 2013, they came together and saw that indigenous people in Mexico manufactured for themselves sandals made from the material of old rubber tires. They saw this opportunity to recycle the rubber form the car wheels to create something to wear. They wanted to reach a more mainstream population, so they decided to pursue a creation of shoes to attract most of the population. They invited designers to elaborate the concept for the shoes. Afterwards they talked to the indigenous community to use their skills to manufacture and sell the shoes.

The founders of Ecü wanted to create a business model that integrated the social and environmental aspect to generate profits to inspire the Mexican population to generate more ideas like this one. They feel that Mexico has an enormous opportunity to create companies that benefit the society and the environment which they need. Their business model is used to demonstrate to other potential entrepreneurs that it is profitable to run a company that contributes to the planet and the society.

“Mexico needs contribution in the societal and environmental aspects as the government and current business structure have left out those components out of their business model and the country needs it.” said Daniel Noroña.

Overall impact

Creating shoes made out of recycled rubber times, creates profits for the founders and business partners to scale up their operations and create even more models at different price levels. Additionally, they can reach out to other indigenous communities, make donations to indigenous NGOs and collaborate with them while also sourcing more recycled rubber from car wheels.

The innovation integrates indigenous communities, which are left out and marginalized from business and mainstream society. They create a well-paid employment opportunity for indigenous people while also collaborating and donating money with indigenous NGOs.

The innovation uses recycled rubber from car wheels to create the shoe sole. This effectively reduces the amount of rubber burned to the atmosphere when they’ve ran their life cycle as car wheels.

The long-term effects have been the impact on the regional culture that these types of business ventures are possible, and you can help society and the environment while generating profits.

“Our shoes generate the impact before the selling to the customers. We recycled the rubber to make the shoe with the indigenous labor, therefore our impact is made beforehand, sales just push the amount of benefits we deliver.” said Daniel Noroña.

Business benefit

The innovation enables the company to generate profits using indigenous labor and recycled material and it uses digital channels to distribute and promote their products, so they have low administration and fixed costs.

Social and environmental benefit

The manufacturing of the shoes is made with indigenous labor. Indigenous people are seen and treated separately from regular society, so this generates a well-paid employment and integrated them to society. The materials used are recycled rubber from car wheels. These rubber is highly polluting materials when burned, thus the innovation reduces the amount of burnt rubber by creating another use for this material.

Interview

Daniel Noroña, Co-Founder

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Ecu

Ecu

Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, MX

Business Website: https://ecupormexico.com/

Year Founded: 2013

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Ecu was born because of a social and environmental issue; creating a shoe with tire material. Ecu contributes to recycling wasted tires by manufacturing shoes and selling them via retail.