two people enjoying a drink in a garden.

Indian sandstone: busting the myths

Darius Negahbani Darius Negahbani Wednesday 12th April, 2017

In recent years, Indian sandstone has grown in popularity as a landscaping product, and with its warm hues, versatility and attractive finish, it’s easy to see why. Quality Indian sandstone certainly has many qualities to recommend. However, there is a dark side to the manufacturing of some Indian sandstone, as not all UK suppliers take responsibility for where their products are sourced from.

Behind the scenes

Research has shown that child labour is rife in India’s quarry sector – around a fifth of workers are children, some as young as six-years-old. Bonded labour is another major concern – when someone is put to work as the means to repay a debt. It’s vital you make your buying decision armed with the right information.

Aside from the ethical considerations when selecting an Indian sandstone supplier, there’s also the question of quality. Although they initially may look perfectly acceptable, softer sandstones absorb water and before long can become a breeding ground for algae and mould. In fact, these substandard sandstones are porous – they suck in water like a sponge, making them wholly inappropriate and very disappointing as paving material. This is particularly true in cold, wet countries like Britain, where the water has no chance to evaporate between days of rainfall. Soft, substandard sandstone is cheaper to manufacture than high-quality sandstone, meaning it often boasts a seemingly more attractive price tag. However, it’s a case of buyer beware.

Making environmental improvements

If you’re looking to invest in a high-quality sandstone with the soundest of ethical and environmental credentials, Marshalls’ Fairstone is the solution. Our Fairstone quarries are in the Kota region of India, a geologically significant area where the sandstone is particularly hard. This density makes the stone more difficult to mine and therefore marginally more expensive to buy, but the investment delivers a range of excellent benefits. As well as being an ethically sourced, environmentally friendly product, Fairstone can ensure your outdoor space remains stunning for years to come. Its low absorption levels mean water runs off its surface, leaving the stone free of algae and dirt build-up. In turn, the product retains its attractive finish with no need for you to spend time cleaning and maintaining it.

The work of the Ethical Trading Initiative

It’s important to Marshalls that the households that eventually enjoy Fairstone products, as well as those who work to produce the paving, receive a good, fair deal from the process.

Marshalls is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative, which is a collective of brands and retailers committed to ethically sound employment practices. By signing up to the ETI Base Code, Marshalls has pledged to ensure Fairstone is produced in safe, healthy working conditions, in which there’s no child labour, and employees are given reasonable hours and a living wage.

Indian sandstone is a fantastic material that can transform a garden or patio beautifully. With Fairstone, you can enjoy the very best grade of the versatile stone safe in the knowledge that the product was manufactured in an ethically sound and environmentally respectful way.

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