Ethical Policy Statement
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.
• 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”, 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.
• As we transition to slow the pace and devastating impacts of climate change already being felt across the globe, as a responsible business we must consider the serious impacts on workers in our global supply chains. Too often, as business adapts workers can find themselves disadvantaged and unable to earn enough to support themselves and their families with basic food and shelter. Changing temperatures, rising water levels, droughts and natural disasters can lead to companies making immediate and drastic changes in the workplace. From reducing staff levels, changing job roles and temporary closures to complete relocation of the business. We are working to ensure that vulnerable workers and their rights are prioritised in decisions and planning for business transitions. It is imperative that “People Plans” are put in place for climate change eventualities and that workers are considered and involved in forward planning solutions.