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‘Ethical trade – the next decade’

There are now only 30 days left to register for the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI)’s 10th anniversary conference – a must-attend event for the increasing numbers of retailers, suppliers, agents, trade unions, NGOs and auditors involved in improving workers’ lives throughout the supply chain.

‘Ethical trade: the next decade’ will be held on Thursday 23 October 2008 in West London and marks the Ethical Trading Initiative’s 10th anniversary.

Says ETI Director Dan Rees, “The first decade of ethical trade put workers’ rights firmly on the map: most retailers and brands now recognise their responsibility towards the workers who make their products. And ethical trade has moved out of the niche and into the mainstream: more than ever before, consumers are asking tough questions of companies about the workers who make their products, which we welcome.”

“But although we’re proud of the progress we’ve made, the scale and pace of change being achieved to the lives of millions of workers across the globe is not enough. We’ve picked all the low-hanging fruit now. It’s time to get radical. It’s no longer acceptable for companies to hide behind their audit reports – they need to drastically improve their business practices.”

ETI’s 10th anniversary conference will draw on the achievements made in the first decade. It will be bold and challenging and provide inspirational ideas and guidance on driving forward radical new approaches into the next.

Marshalls Plc were the first company in the Natural Stone sector to join ETI in December 2005, making a commitment to tackling the conditions of workers in the Indian and Chinese natural stone supply chains. Stone Emporium, Bretts and most recently, Pavestone have also since joined the Initiative.

Chris Harrop, Marshalls Group Marketing Director says “Membership of ETI has been a very important part of our ethical trade journey. ETI’s 10th anniversary is an important milestone and shows how UK businesses are taking responsible sourcing seriously and are showing leadership.”

Speakers at the conference include Gareth Thomas, Minister for International Development and Trade at the Department for International Development (DFID) – which is a key supporter of ETI – who will comment on the importance of harnessing global trade for poverty reduction and how the Government intends to help drive forward ethical trade.

Gareth Thomas says of the future of ethical trade: “The challenge is to make sure that if trade increases from developing countries, which we do want to see, that there are more people benefiting at higher wages and that conditions continue to improve.”

The ETI conference is one of several initiatives to mark ETI’s tenth anniversary year. Since its inception, ETI has established itself as a global authority on corporate responsibility for workers’ rights. It has demonstrated that ETI members’ activities are bringing material benefits to workers: last year, member companies registered over 50,000 separate improvements to workers’ conditions, collectively touching the lives of over 6 million workers.

To register for the conference please go to www.eticonference.org.

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Further information

Julia Hawkins/Jane Lyons at the Ethical Trading Initiative

0207 841 5180

julia@eti.org.uk/jane@eti.org.uk

Notes to editors

1. The Ethical Trading Initiative (www.ethicaltrade.org ) is a not-for profit alliance of companies, trade unions, charities and campaigning organisations. Our 52 corporate members, which include many of the UK’s leading retailers (Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer to name a few) have a combined turnover of over £107 billion; dedicate 404 staff to ethical trade and last year instigated 54,000 separate actions to improve worker conditions among a 38,000 supplier base, collectively touching the lives of more than 6 million workers.

2. Companies that join ETI must sign up to the ETI Base Code, a set of principles derived from the standards of the International Labour Organisation. They must also:

 develop and implement a credible strategy for improving working conditions in their supply chain

 address the impact of their commercial practise on their suppliers’ ability to provide decent conditions for workers

 participate in projects that aim to develop good practice in ethical trade, and

 report annually to the ETI Board on the progress they are making.

3. ETI has four members from the Natural Stone sector:

 Marshalls - joined 2005

 Stone Emporium - joined 2007

 Bretts - joined 2007

 Pavestone - joined 2008

Julia Hawkins

Media Relations and Communications Manager

Ethical Trading Initiative

Cromwell House

14 Fulwood Place

London WC1V 6HZ

t: +44 (0)20 7841 5180

f: +44 (0)20 7831 7852

To contact our press office please call:

sophie.rowe@marshalls.co.uk

Public Relations Team

T:01422 312 902M:07583 931 482

E:sophie.rowe@marshalls.co.uk