Feasibility of a Code of Conduct for the Dutch natural stone sector; Growing insights through a pilot project with RMP Grafmonumenten and engagement of Indian stakeholders

Feasibility of a Code of Conduct for the Dutch natural stone sector; Growing insights through a pilot project with RMP Grafmonumenten and engagement of Indian stakeholders

Assessing the feasibility of a Code of Conduct for the natural stone sector

The Dutch working Group on Sustainable Stone developed a Code of Conduct for the natural stone industries, covering societal, labour, environmental and operational norms and criteria aiming to bring sustainability.To refine the Code of Conduct and assess its feasibility in practice, a pilot project was carried out with one of the companies supporting the implementation of the Code of Conduct, RMP Grafmonumenten (RMP), which receives its supplies from India. This report presents the findings of the pilot project, and is to a large extent based on interviews with Indian stakeholders.

Findings of the project include:

  • the opinions with respect to the different sustainability issues vary significantly between stakeholders. Generally, the business society tends to have a much more positive view concerning the level of sustainbility currently achieved than the NGOs
  • the willigness of stakeholders involved to contribute to a higher sustainability level in the sector is high, although opinions differ as to the extent of this still being necessary
  • export quarries seem to comply better to labour and environmental laws and regulations than local quarries
  • the implementation of the Code of Conduct cannot take place overnight.


Based on the pilot project a number of recommendations emerge. While te recommendations are based on the findings in the Indian context, the majority of the recommendations is relevant for all supply chain partners and countries producing natural stone.

 

  • it is essential that thoroughinsights are obtained in sustainability issues in the Indian part ofthe natural stone supply chain through in-depth research

  • mapping and publicising bestpractices and worst cases can motivate willing companies in thesector and give input to buyers’ selection processes

  • a good starting point for supplychain partners in implementing the code would be to designenvironmental and social policies covering the relevant topics toensure that sustainability issues will be dealt with systematically

  • following this work, it isrecommendable to identify natural stone supply chains willing toactually work towards implementation of the Code and toassess verification options to guarantee compliance.