The Ethical Trading Initiative is made up of trade unions, NGO's and private companies. As the ETI has grown in size it has become more and more apparent that it is in the interests of certain industries to take more of an active involvement within the ETI. This has led to caucus groups springing up within the ETI. This certainly applies to ETI members involved within the stone industry and they have formed the ETI stone group. The advantage of forming individual groups under the ETI umbrella is that these individual groups can focus on issues directly relevant to their industry.
Natural stone companies are the fastest growing members of the ETI which shows our industry in a positive light and shows that our industry takes ethics very seriously. The stone group meets four times a year at the ETI's central London headquarters. The subject of the last meeting focused on supply chains. It was decided that members of the stone group would provide information on the, physical supply chains, trade relationships within the supply chains, impact on workers and livelihoods. It was also decided to assess the volumes of sandstone and limestone paving that stone group members import from India. The objective of this exercise was to assess how much leverage stone group members have over Indian sandstone producers. It is common knowledge that 90% of natural stone produced in India is for the local and national market, so it does seem as though foreign importers don't have a great deal of leverage over suppliers. On the other hand foreign companies import higher value products such as sawn paving so there is a basis for leverage.
The next stone group meeting is in February so I will be feeding back on the conclusions that have been drawn on supply chains and leverage.