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You will have seen recently many reports of quarries in India having been found to be using child labour to quarry natural stone. In these quarries children work in very dangerous working conditions, often with corrupt trading practices that offer no responsibility for environmental management.
Marshalls is very conscious of its Corporate Ethical Responsibilities in trading with developing nations such as China and India. To this end, we have conducted a rigorous screening process to ensure that our imported natural stone is processed and supplied to the highest ethical standards and in particular, to make sure that no child labour is used in its manufacture.
To ensure we are fully able to act on this commitment Marshalls plc has became a member of the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI). Members commit to adopting the ETI Base Code on a progressive basis throughout their supply chains. The Code is based on ILO (International Labour Organisation) conventions and, as such, is widely acknowledged as a model code of labour practice.
Chris Harrop, Marshalls Group Marketing Director, said: “We are very proud to be able to state that no child labour is used in the manufacture of our imported natural stone. At Marshalls we believe it is our duty to be able to demonstrate the highest ethical standards and we are pleased to be leading the industry in this area. As part of the ETI we will continue to undertake regular screening and auditing to ensure that the highest standards are maintained at all times.”
As a member of ETI we have committed to improving the lives of workers who make our products. Our Code of Conduct is based on the following principles:
• No-one should be forced to work
• Workers are free to join and form trade unions and bargain with management
• Working conditions are safe and hygienic
• Child labour shall not be used
• Living wages are paid
• Working hours are not excessive
• No discrimination is practised
• Regular employment is provided
• No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed
As well as adopting the ETI Base Code, members also commit to:
• Monitoring and independent verification of their supply chains
• Reporting annually to ETI on their progress
• Awareness-raising and training
• Driving year-on-year improvements
• Assessing the impact of their core business activities on labour standards
• Participating in ETI projects
Marshalls has employed independent organisations such as SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company, to audit our main Chinese Granite supplier and AQSR to audit our sole Indian Sandstone supplier for their compliance with the ETI Base Code. Both have now achieved full compliance.
As a company, we only work with reputable and reliable suppliers that meet our own stringent requirements and those within our industry. In China and India, our supplier partners have both achieved ISO 9002 Quality Assurance accreditation.
The audits that Marshalls have undertaken, using these independent experts, have clearly shown that:
(i) There is no evidence of child labour in use in our supply chain
(ii) Our supply chain produces the best possible working conditions within the quarrying environment, together with provisions for both safety & hygiene
(iii) Our supply chain provides regular employment, fair rates of pay and reasonable hours of working
(iv) The granite factories visited were operating 3 x 8 hour shifts (7 days/week) and provided accommodation on site for the workers (and the workers’ families), together with hot meals. The operatives typically work 1 x 8 hour shift, 6 days per week
(v) The Indian sandstone factories visited were operating a single 9 hour shift for an average 5-6 days a week depending on the time of year/seasonal weather conditions
(vi) Our suppliers carry out a controlled quality audit at all stages of production