The XertifiX-Seal

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.

Traceability

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.

The standard label will be awarded if the following requirements are met:

  • Compliance with ILO Core Labor Standards
  • The right to change employer according to contract.
  • Informing all employees about their rights, the purpose of the XertifiX standard and the audit processes (especially with regard to the rights and obligations of employees to comply with this standard).
  • Payment of the minimum wage according to local laws.
  • Punctual payment according to the contract.
  • No wage reduction as a disciplinary measure.
  • Legality of the production site.
  • Traceability of the supply chain from importer to exporter, processing plant and quarry.
    • Compulsory annual improvements in working conditions, workers’ rights and environmental protection in the following two years.

 

Compliance with the criteria must be proven by two audits per year (see above). The fulfillment of the criteria of the following year is confirmed by audits or the continuous fulfillment of the criteria once reached annually proven. This means that the XertifiX certifications are only valid for one year.

 

 

The PLUS label will be awarded once all the criteria of the standard certification (years 0 to 2) are met, plus the following criteria:

  • Building and construction safety
    1. safe building structure
    2. Safety measures on machines (installation and usage) and valid inspection certificates and / or approvals for equipment (e.g. pneumatic drills) in accordance with the local law
    3. proper electrical installations (e.g. isolation of cables),
    4. elimination of tripping hazards,
    5. fire-preparedness (e.g. fire extinguishers),
    6. availability and accessibility of emergency exits,
    7. clear escape routes.
  • Written company contracts also in the language of workers. Records of all workers (including temporary, seasonal and migrant workers) need to be kept. Identity cards for all workers.
  • Setting up a workers’ grievance mechanism (e.g. through the workers’ representative and/or a complaint box, complaint phone number)
  • Payment of living wage, if the minimum wage is below the living wage (ILO Convention 131)
  • Paid annual leave and paid leave in case of sickness according to the local law
  • No discrimination based on gender and pregnancy.
  • Adequate work for pregnant women and special leave at pre- and post-delivery (according to local law, at least ILO 183)
  • Provision of adequate facilities for babies and small children at workplace
  • Equal wage for equal work (ILO 100)
  • Company takes steps to protect women against sexual violence and harassment at the workplace.
  • Compulsory annual improvements in working conditions, workers’ rights and environmental protection in the following two years.