By Sue Adkins, International Director, Business in the Community 

Marshalls’ supply chain programme in India has made a positive impact on its suppliers and improved the lives of quarry workers and their families. It has also launched Fairstone, an ethically sourced range of natural stone, and partnered with Unicef to support the drive to effect systemic change in the industry.

Social impacts

  • Through a partnership programme, Marshalls set up health camps and schools in rural India, providing vaccination and immunisation for children, literacy programmes, insurance workshops, and health and safety training for quarry workers.
  • Marshall’s supplier in India built on the foundations of the supply chain programme to provide a blueprint for ethical supply chain management for China and Vietnam.
  • Marshall’s partnership with UNICEF provided a platform to raise awareness of child labour and human rights issues with a wider audience.

Business impacts

  • Since the launch of Fairstone, sales of added value natural stone products with the Fairstone mark have increased by 50%, with significant double digit growth year on year.
  • The partnership with UNICEF gave Marshalls a global partner with which to build on knowledge of the issues and the industry, effect systemic change and drive commercial and competitive advantage.
  • Through collaboration with Indian partners, Marshalls formulated a way of working that was replicated in China and Vietnam for the Fairstone range of natural paving.

In 2005, Marshalls became the first company in the hard landscaping industry to join the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI).

This led to an ethical supply chain management and community partnership programme in India, involving Marshalls' Indian sandstone supplier and a local NGO. This took the ETI Base Code as a minimum and worked towards changing the lives of quarry workers and their families.

This led to a move to educate the industry and customers about conditions in Indian quarries. Marshalls created a sustainability website and information booklets and launched Fairstone, an ethically sourced range of natural stone.

The latest step is a partnership with UNICEF on a programme of work to eliminate child labour in India’s stone quarrying sector.

What Marshalls' CEO said:

"Marshalls’ long-term commitment in aligning the values of business with those of society is exemplary and I’m proud to be taking up the reins of an organisation which has been part of the UNGC since 2009 and which is so actively engaged in all areas; from our work on human rights, children’s rights and business principles, engagement with global authority UNICEF, upholding and promoting labour rights and working against corruption. Critically, Marshalls' approach to sustainability is rooted in demonstrating the deep seated values of the business across the sustainability agenda and as a result driving tangible commercial business benefits." - Martyn Coffey, Chief Executive Officer, Marshalls plc

Editor's Note:

This blog was previously published on Business in The Community and is reproduced with permission.

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