Facing up to difficult issues.

ETI clamps down on false claims in UK stone sector

Published:  16 June, 2010

LONDON: The Ethical Trading Initiative is warning merchants that a number of companies in the stone sector are misleading their customers by suggesting that they are members of the ETI, and that their stone is 'ethically sourced'.

ETI has written to several companies in the past week asking them to remove all statements that wrongly infer that they are ETI members from their websites and other promotional material.

Said Martin Cooke, ETI director and chair of ETI's Stone Group: "The recent upsurge in ETI membership among stone importers is a sign of a bold new resolve within the industry to face up to some of the difficult labour standards issues that exist in supply countries.

"It is therefore worrying to see some unscrupulous companies making statements which not only suggest membership of ETI but also distort what ETI membership stands for. This threatens to undermine the credibility of ETI and ethical trade in general. We take such abuses extremely seriously.

"Where unauthorised use is made of the ETI logo or of copyrighted pictures on websites and brochures, we will not hesitate to take legal action, if necessary."

The ETI Stone Group meets regularly to share best practice in tackling workers' issues in the stone sector. It works in parallel with organisations in the Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia, whose members are importing often from the same sources, particularly in India and China.

ETI member companies within the stone sector are: Marshalls, Brett Landscaping, BBS Granite Concepts, DNS Stones, London Stone Paving, Natural Paving Products, Unique Building Products, Pavestone and Stone Masters.

Last year, ITN highlighted the harsh conditions in the Rajasthan stone industry, which supplies 250 000 tonnes of sandstone to the UK.

Often working without appropriate safety equipment, workers are vulnerable to serious accidents and health problems, including silicosis, which can lead to premature death.

The ETI is an alliance of companies, trade unions and voluntary organisations that works in partnership to improve the working lives of people across the globe who make or grow consumer goods.

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