Marshalls is fighting to improve the conditions of people in its supply chains so mothers do not bring their children into quarries, risking injury and exposure to silica dust, which can cause cancer.
Marshalls PLC – one of the UK's leading manufacturers of hard landscaping products, including natural stones sourced in the Far East – has become first to be verified against BRE's new Ethical Labour Sourcing (ELS) Standard.
BRE Global, the certification arm of consultant BRE in Watford, Hertfordshire, verified the standard for Marshalls.
The ELS standard provides organisations with a framework to verify their systems and processes in relation to the Modern Slavery Act and continuously improve their ethical labour sourcing practices.
Commenting on Marshall’s achievement, Dr Shamir Ghumra, BRE’s Director of Sustainable Products, said: "The requirements of the Modern Slavery Act are underscored by the findings of the 2016 Global Slavery Index, which estimates that some 46million people are in some form of slavery worldwide. This puts the onus on businesses to demonstrate exactly how they are taking positive action to eliminate modern slavery within their operations and global supply chains. While the number of people affected in the UK is a relatively low (13,000), the figure doesn’t reflect the complex supply chains of most sectors – none more so than the construction sector. It is a credit to Marshalls that the organisation is leading the field in terms of ethical labour standards."
The ELS Standard certificate was presented to Marshalls at Ecobuild this month (March). Chris Harrop, Marshalls' Marketing Director with responsibility for sustainability, said: "We are absolutely delighted to have not only achieved BRE Global’s ELS Standard but also to be the first to do so. This is a prestigious external validation of our ongoing commitment to ethical labour standards and our day-to-day actions on the ground in pursuit of this."
ELS was developed with a 150-strong stakeholder group including clients, manufacturers, non-governmental organisations and contractors with complex international supply chains to ensure it would be relevant and drive positive change within industry. The verification approach allows organisations to develop their ethical labour sourcing practices in a manner that is risk-based and pertinent to them in enabling them to demonstrate continual improvement against a set of benchmarks.