A considerable portion of the natural stone available in Germany is imported from Asia. What consumers and public purchasers usually do not know is that these natural stones have been partly dismantled and produced under catastrophic working conditions and by child laborers. The XertifiX Association has therefore developed two seals, which are awarded when clear standards are met: XertifiX and XertifiX plus.
Since 2006, XertifiX has been inspecting quarries and natural stone companies in India, since 2014 in China and Vietnam. The controls are used to check compliance with the XertifiX standard. As a result, XertifiX ensures that no child labor or slavery is carried out, that all ILO core labor standards are observed, the working conditions of adult workers are progressively improved and basic environmental protection measures are observed. When the requirements are met, the imported natural stones can be certified by XertifiX.
Special characteristics of the seal
Not only are processing companies, but also all quarries checked. The production sites are controlled relatively frequently (2 times per year) and one of these controls must always be unannounced. This is the only way to ensure that the ban on child labor and the improvement of working conditions in quarries and factories are actually carried out, especially because an audit is not announced.
The XertifiX PLUS-Label
It is awarded when all XertifiX compulsory criteria are met and 2/3 of the XertifiX criteria as a whole. If not all criteria have been met, the supply chain companies will be given one year to improve. This must also be confirmed by unannounced controls. The XertifiX compulsory criteria include:
- Compliance with ILO core labor standards
- Fair working hours (ILO Conventions No. 1 and No. 14)
- Payment of statutory minimum wages according to national legislation
- Provision and use of personal protective equipment (e.g., boots, helmets, eye protection, ear protection, mouthguards)
The XertifiX labels are attached to the transport boxes for the natural stones. Due to the unique label number, additional check digits and the unique assignment to the container, the process is counterfeit-proof and allows the traceability to the processor and the quarry. In the case of individual supply chains, the practicability of the marking of the raw blocks in the quarries is currently being tested in a pilot project.