The beginnings of XertifiX

Child labor expert Benjamin Pütter talks to working children in an Indian quarry

At the end of the 1990s, more and more granite blocks and finished tombstones from India flooded the German market. Large corporations rolled up the market with their cheap imports at dumping prices. Small and medium-sized (stonemasons) often remained only the alternative to declare bankruptcy or even to enter globalization (imports from India). This is precisely what several stonemasons from the Signum funeral monuments from Freiburg tried to do (among others with Jörg Bollin < / a>, Michael Storr , Dieter Schindler and Burkhard Krupp ), but who wanted to raise these trade relations without “filthiness”.

So it came to a contact with Benjamin Pütter, the child labor expert of MISEREOR, who should look in India, whether in the quarries in India also no child labor and slave labor. To everyone’s surprise, however, children under the age of 18 were found in the export quarries, which were visited unannounced, and the adults often had to pay off debts and received little or no wages far below the state-guaranteed minimum wage.

In other words, after decades of assuming that there would be little to criticize in export quarries, it was no longer possible to deny the fact that there are child labor in Indian export quarries! The idea of ​​a sealing of stones from India, which are guaranteed to be produced without child labor and slave labor, was born. In 2005, the association XertifiX was founded together with trade unions, prominent personalities, politicians and others.

Since 2006, XertifiX controls in Indian quarries and natural stone factories. There we ensure that no exploitative child labor or slave labor takes place, that all ILO core labor standards are respected and that the working conditions of adult workers are progressively improved. Since 2014, XertifiX has been active in China and Vietnam, where it also controls quarries and businesses for compliance with the XertifiX standard. XertifiX was the first in the world to make the topic known worldwide and has since made consumers, retailers and the public responsible for responsible purchasing.

It is the motto of XertifiX that through fair work for adults and good schools and education, future opportunities for children are opened up. From the beginning, we have worked together with a German relief organization to implement social projects for children. Since 2013 there is the association XertifiX social projects e.V., which implements social projects with Indian partners. The special feature: Through the controls, we determine the need for support locally, with our partners of social projects e.V. then the victims are helped directly.

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