All who create landscape have a great responsibility, for they form the space in which we live. Our function is to facilitate that task. For over 40 years, CED has developed and extended its range of natural stone products that has become the basis of good design with long-lasting results. We keep extensive stocks in all our depots, but we will arrange the manufacture of almost anything - as long as it is natural. Stone cannot be made - it exists. One designs in accordance with the qualities of a particular material. In CED, we have the responsibility of giving the right advice to assist all to achieve a good long term result. When it is beyond our capability, for we are not consultants, we will suggest where help may be found. Our desire and need is for stone to be used so successfully that good examples abound that can be followed. Looking at past practice, there is much excellent work that has survived in top condition for a hundred years or more. Delightfully for us all, these materials often look better the older they are and there exists still a lively market in reclaimed flags, setts and kerb. However, the same aim at best practice applies just as much to the choice of aggregate for precast concrete or pebbledash, footpath gravel or resin formulations for paths and drives.
Natural Stone paving is beautiful but to make a good choice much needs to be considered - we have to know if it is for private or public use, inside or out, traffic or pedestrians. Before even thinking about the colour, are there disabled requirements, problems of oil, fat, wine, coffee, skid resistance, frost and salt, deliverymen or skateboarders? And that is just a start. (Please ask for our checklist of such matters or see our article considerations in selecting stone.)
How is a stream or a beach to look? To create a natural appearance is an art in itself. We look for the materials to make it possible, bringing them from throughout Britain and from faraway places.
We are now reaping the benefits that come with greater volumes. Many prices are down, often astonishingly. Not only is stone the winner on a whole life comparison, but it is often simply cheaper in the first place. We supply much British and European material but we also have the pleasure of importing from some of the developing countries that have great craft skills. Thus we add to their wealth and aid an improvement in their lives.
It matters not whether our clients are specifiers, contractors or suppliers in the builders merchant, D.I.Y. or garden centre trades, we seek correct and effective use of the products we sell and will assist whenever we can.
We aim to be reliable and honest and have many staff with years of experience. But nothing stays still and the pace gets quicker. We keep adapting to new opportunities and it is most rewarding to see that natural stone is now the first choice.
We hope you enjoy this website and continue to encourage us to break new ground in every area of the business.
Civil Engineering Developments Limited was formed in 1959 to devise applications for calcined flint within resin technology, but it was soon clear that the venture was unfortunately beyond the resources of the family. It was in 1978 that Michael Heap recognised that the company had the basis to become a supplier of specialist aggregate and stone.
The family’s involvement with stone, specifically flint, dates back to the middle of the 19th century, supplying raw flint from France to the ceramic industry by ship and canal boat. When similar flint became available in Essex as a by-product from chalk extractions for cement manufacture, Michael’s grandfather A.L Walley installed a small processing unit at West Thurrock in 1931. When his death soon after was followed almost immediately by both sons, Nora Walley, then a 23 year old budding tennis player, bravely took over the management. Flint supplies from France were cut off by the war and West Thurrock production became vital to the ceramic industry. Many other applications for calcined (cooked) flint were developed in the 1950s and 1960s and the business prospered but after the closure in the late 1970s of the last local cement works, the calcined flint production business was sold.
From very small beginnings, CED has grown by fulfilling market needs within the field of natural materials ranging from technical uses for fine dried aggregates to beautiful pebbles and huge boulders. By making the relatively unusual readily available, CED has enabled landscape architects to effect exciting designs for lakes, rivers and specialist water features. In the field of paving, first by buying and holding in stock large quantities of reclaimed granite setts, kerbs and York flags, these materials became practical for specifiers to consider, and secondly, by actively marketing a whole variety of new stone. CED has prompted, encouraged and led the moves to improve the hard surfacing of public and private areas alike.Now with five depots spread nationwide, together with a broad exciting range of products, CED has the foundation prepared to deal with the growth in demand which it has itself done so much to foster and which is so welcome in the improvements being made to urban paving. At last it is again recognised that stone is not only aesthetically pleasing but it is often cheaper when compared on whole-life costing.
CED Stone are full and active members of the ETI (Ethical Trading Initiative), classed at Achiever level within their scoring structure. The ETI is a leading alliance of commercial companies, Trade Unions and NGOs, that promotes respect for workers’ rights around the globe. Their vision is a world where all workers are free from exploitation and discrimination, and enjoy conditions of freedom, security and equity.
Global supply chains are highly complex and challenging for companies committed to trading ethically. Workers rights issues are often deep-rooted and widespread and are best tackled through collaborative action. Through our involvement with ETI we are able to harness the expertise, skills and resources of their alliance members to identify these issues and help develop innovative, long-lasting solutions. Our measure of success is that workers can negotiate effectively for a better working life where their rights are respected.
We insist that all suppliers in our supply chain sign up to the ETI Base Code of labour practices. As well as our own Ethical Suppliers Guide and our Ethical Business Contract. The Base Code has been drawn up by The Ethical Trading Initiative, based upon the labour standards set out by the International Labour Organisation.
The key pillars of the Base Code are as follows:
Employment is freely chosen and there is no forced or bonded labour.
Workers are able to form and join trade unions and bargain collectively.
Working conditions must be safe and hygienic.
There shall be no use or recruitment of “child labour”.
Living wages are paid.
Working hours are not excessive.
No discrimination is practised.
Regular employment is provided.
No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed.
Visit their website for more information on the work that ETI are involved with and to view a copy of their Base Code: www.ethicaltrade.org
CED Stone Group are a market leading UK based supplier of natural stone and hard landscaping products. Operating from six main sites and trading for over 40 years, we import finished materials from source factories based mainly in China, India, Portugal, Spain and Italy.
Through our trading relationships and collaboration with independent bodies, we have formed a deep understanding of the many ethical and social issues occurring in these countries and how they can impact negatively on workers in our supply chains.
As an organisation we are fully committed to trading in a responsible manner. It is our intention to constantly address the social concerns connected to our industry and continue to implement changes to ensure that we are fulfilling our obligations as an accountable and conscientious business. This policy identifies the criteria and general practices that we adopt and comply with in order to deliver ethical services and products that our customers can trust.
The Covid19 pandemic has heightened the risk factors at factory level across our supply chain and makes our commitment and proactive actions even more important than before. Health and Safety of the workers during this time is paramount and ensuring our trading partners optimise factory layout for practising social distancing is crucial. As well as providing sufficient facilities for hand washing and supplying ample cleaning and disinfecting products to help avoid transmission of the virus. Covid19 protocols are now prioritised across our ethical strategy.
CED Stone Group initially joined the ETI (Ethical Trading Initiative) in April 2012 and we are currently one of very few UK Natural Stone companies who are full and active members. Through our involvement with the ETI, we are able to harness the expertise, knowledge and resources of all the affiliate members to understand and identify ethical issues and concerns in our supply chain; helping us to develop innovative and sustainable solutions.
We build long-term relationships with our overseas trading partners, giving us a strong base to overcome cultural barriers and form partnerships built on mutual trust and respect. This builds a progressive platform for us to hold open ethical discussions. Increasing our ability to influence change when identifying potential issues with working conditions and allowing us to work in close conjunction with factories when implementing improvements. Supplier collaboration is key to establishing long-term sustainable ethical solutions.
Ethical Trade is at the core of our business practice and is a cornerstone of our Corporate Social Responsibility activities. We conduct a strong internal ethical training regime across all our departments, with regular meetings up to Board level, discussing our ethical strategy and practices. We ensure that all our staff are equipped to combine good business decisions with full and proper consideration for ethical impacts. We generate staff awareness so that fair pricing and manageable production times are always considered, ensuring that our orders will benefit and enrich rather than hinder and harm.
It is pre-requisite that all our Tier 1 suppliers commit fully to the ETI Base-Code of labour standards and sign up to say they will adopt the Code in full. They must also confirm that they will abide by local and national labour laws in their work place. We recognise that suppliers in some countries face significant, often deeply entrenched, challenges to meet all the standards. We support our suppliers to comply and collaborate on several projects; such as financing the distribution of good quality protection equipment and work-wear to factories in China and arranging training programmes on H&S and HR practices to production centres in India.
We respect labour rights in our supply chain and encourage the formation of Working Groups, at factories where there is no formal grievance procedure in place. We arrange Worker interviews to “hear their voice”; giving us enhanced knowledge, allowing us to focus on targeted improvements that align directly with the Workers specific priority concerns and needs.
We have a structured programme of SMETA based audits which we carry-out at factories in our supply chain. These inspections are audited on both the ETI Base-Code of labour standards and relevant local and Country specific employment laws.
We encourage transparency right down through our supply chain and conduct regular, (CED staff), factory inspections to assess working conditions first hand. On occasion these factory visits are client accompanied, allowing them, first-hand knowledge of the working conditions, Health and Safety practices and Human Resource standards in place at these sites.
We include Ethical topics in the CPD presentations that we run for Stone Industry professionals such as architects, garden designers, landscapers, contractors and commercial bodies. These are used to inform and build awareness; keeping Ethics and responsible behaviour at the forefront of all that we do.
All information regarding our ethical requirements from our trading partners and our commitment to responsible sourcing are communicated to supplier factories regularly by means of Buyers Guide documents, tagged information with orders, leaflets, posters as well as on this Ethical Policy statement.
We are committed to following a Due Diligence process in our ethical trade activities as well as in our engagement with workers, their representatives and any connected NGO or TU bodies.
We adopt a strict and detailed New Supplier Policy - “Crossing the Ethical Road”. This involves sharing the ethical standards that we expect and require if trading is to begin. We assess their abilities and the risk factors involved, taking action to fix any serious unethical practice. If we are unable to resolve then no commercial relationship will be established.
Our approach when dealing with and discussing issues that impact ethical trade within our supply chain is always to be open, honest and to act with integrity. Experience has taught us that this is the best way to affect positive change.
Rajasthan Sandstone Working Group (RSWG): In collaboration with the Ethical Trading Initiative, other Commercial bodies, NGOs and Trade Unions, we are actively working on a long standing project in the Kota region of Rajasthan in India. The main aims of the project are to improve the lives, livelihoods and health of workers in sandstone quarries, stocking units and factories in the region. Concentrating initially on H&S and HR issues we are now starting to advance the programme to look at the prevalence of Silicosis amongst quarry workers and ways to improve dialogue with the workers in the supply chain.
Iberian complete compliance: A series of audits and follow up audits within our complete supply chain in Portugal and Spain. This is an ongoing project which will mean continuous reassessment over the coming months and years. This project has already led to several improvements in working conditions for the workers in our Iberian supply chain.
Indian school charity sponsorship: Together with our key Indian supplier we are the largest contributors to a charity run by K. N. Maheshwari, which funds a school set up for poor Indian Children living in slums in Jaipur. Children aged from 5 to 16 who would otherwise be just wandering the streets or collecting rubbish are educated in an interactive, fun and safe environment. Teaching eventually to graduation level the volunteer teachers there do a fantastic job and personally collect and then take home the children each day. Without charities such as this one; The Shri Radhey Sewa Trust: these children would face a very bleak future.
Dust mask distribution – Shandong province, North China: We are undertaking a regular distribution of dust masks to the 4 main factory / production centres that we use in this region. Inhaling dust when cutting and working stone over sustained periods can lead to serious lung conditions such as silicosis. We intend to move forward soon with training initiatives to help educate the workers on the importance of wearing these masks whenever stone dust is present.
We have established this quality policy to be consistent with the purpose and context of our organisation. It provides a framework for the setting and review of objectives in addition to our commitment to satisfy applicable customers’, regulatory and legislative requirements as well as our commitment to continually improve our management system.
Customer focus: As an organisation we have made a commitment to understand our current and future customers’ needs; meet their requirements and strive to exceed their expectations.
Leadership: Our Top Management have committed to creating and maintaining a working environment in which people become fully involved in achieving our objectives.
Engagement of people: As an organisation we recognise that people are the essence of any good business and that their full involvement enables their abilities to be used for our benefit.
Process approach: As an organisation we understand that a desired result is achieved more efficiently when activities and related resources are managed as a process or series of interconnected processes.
Improvement: We have committed to achieving continual improvement across all aspects of our quality management system; it is one of our main annual objectives.
Evidence-based decision making: As an organisation we have committed to only make decisions relating to our QMS following an analysis of relevant data and information.
Relationship management: CED Ltd recognises that an organisation and the relationship it has with its external providers are interdependent and a mutually beneficial relationship enhances the ability of both to create value.
Our policy is also to meet the requirements of other interested parties and in meeting our social, environmental, charitable, regulatory and legislative responsibilities.
Natural stone production worldwide has some very complex supply chains. There can be some very good visibility at tier one factory level but much less further down the chain at sub-contract and quarry level. Due to the weight, awkwardness and cost of moving raw natural stone quarry blocks they are often processed into finished products at factories located beside the quarry source. In large countries such as China, this means that a lot of production occurs at partner factories to the actual suppliers, that importers are dealing directly with. Also as with other industries there can be a substantial amount of sub-contract work done, as jobs are shared by neighbouring factories to manage lead-times. There are seasonal “highs and lows” in our market place and this can mean that there is a substantial amount of labour who are temporary and not employed directly by the factory. These temporary workers are often in a much more vulnerable position than the permanent workers, being less likely to have formal contracts or insurance cover and are more at risk of suffering labour rights abuses. Often it is illegal and unchecked mines and quarries that can be responsible for bonding workers. Ultimately it will be the build up of pressure on local and national Government bodies, to ensure enforcement of local and International Labour Organisation laws, that will bring about the necessary changes. When you drill down into the whole concept and reasoning behind the Modern Day Slavery Act, it is to protect the workers that produce the goods that we consume here in the UK. When you buy something that costs very little it is probably the case that the workers who produced the product are being taken advantage of in some way. Low pay, long hours, physical and verbal abuse, forced and slave labour are all the more likely. It is a conundrum which is hard to solve. We all look for a bargain but do not always consider the cost. In our industry when the contractors have the orders to place, their buyers have the job of finding the cheapest price. Our investment in Ethical work and the fact that we will only trade with ethically supportive factories, means that there is an extra overhead to be considered. The more pressure that the UK consumers place on business and Government to demand evidence of ethical sourcing the better. This is the best way forward for sustainable change.
CED Ethical Supply Structure:
CED Business Ethical Principles:
CED Business Ethical Process and Due Diligence:
Current work and strategy:
Targets to increase the effectiveness of our strategy to tackling Modern Day Slavery:
40 years experience
Specialising in the supply of natural stone paving and facilitating the use of stone throughout the landscape and construction industries.
Often involved at design stage offering good sound practical advice‚ marrying together creative designs and specialist materials. CAD drawing service available.
Showroom display areas in our 6 nationwide depots. Small samples provided free of charge. Representatives available to visit.
Products sourced directly from the best producers in the UK and overseas. We also buy and sell surplus and reclaimed stone‚ we don’t like to see any wastage.