Corporate Responsibility in the Natural Stone Sector
The Effectiveness of Voluntary CSR Initiatives in Achieving Sustainability
Thesis for Sustainable Development - International Development (MSc)
Utrecht University, Faculty of Geosciences
Author: Jennifer Franken
In the global value chain of natural stone products such as pavement, grave stones and kitchen tops, many sustainability issues prevail. Research into sustainability issues in stone quarries and factories in India and China point to violations of all ILO Fundamental Conventions and other issues: untreated waste water discharge, bonded labour, no living wages, air pollution, excessive working hours, discrimination, no payment for overtime, child labour, occupational diseases, no safety measures and no right to collective bargaining. Quarrying is often poorly regulated, which means illegal mining is abundant and there is little control over labour conditions in the pits. On the basis of present knowledge, problems seem to be more pressing in India than China. The last decade has seen a rise of joint private sector voluntary initiatives which attempt to improve labour and environmental conditions in natural stone quarries and processing factories in emerging economies.
This thesis analyses the effectiveness of five West-European Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in achieving sustainability in natural stone supply chains. To do so, nineteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with CSR initiative-, respective member company-, Non-Gouvernmental Organization (NGO)- and other natural stone sector representatives from mid-April until mid-July 2016, as well as content analysis of publicly available information of the CSR initiatives. Three initiatives certify stones: Fair Stone, XertifiX and natural stone certification by Indian-German Export Promotion (IGEP), and two explicitly do not: Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Sandstone and TFT Responsible Stone Program (TFT-RSP). The central question in this thesis is:
How effective are West-European CSR initiatives in achieving sustainability in natural stone quarries and processing factories?
- Master thesis Corporate Responsibility in the Natural Stone Sector: The Effectiveness of Voluntary CSR Initiatives in Achieving Sustainability
- Executive summary of thesis