Natural stone is obtained from quarries in numerous places in the world, from South Africa to Norway and from Brazil to India. Each resource-rich area has its own unique colour and look.
The material is taken from the earth using explosives and large industrial equipment and is then transported in blocks of 20 tons to the processing industry. where they will convert the blocks of granite into slabs which we can subsequently purchase to turn into worktops.
The processing industry for almost all types of granite is located in Italy, where the blocks of natural stone arrive by boat from all the corners of the world. The only exception being the natural stone varieties from India where the processing takes place domestically and where we purchase our material from a local block processor.
As many types of natural stone are obtained from countries where working conditions and wages are often totally different from those in Europe, and where child labour and debt slavery could still occur, Jetstone considers it hugely important to select its suppliers with the utmost of care. This means, among other things, that we, as well as an independent local inspector, will personally visit companies and quarries and that we will immediately cease the collaboration if we have even the slightest inkling that such practices could be taking place.
From an early stage, Jetstone was also involved in the Werkgroep Duurzaam Natuursteen (WGDN), a working group focusing on sourcing natural stone in a sustainable and responsible manner. Unfortunately, this working group was discontinued by the Dutch government and was incorporated in TFT (The Forest Fund), an international organisation that is strongly represented in the cocoa and palm oil sectors. Furthermore, TFT does not strive for an international quality mark for the entire chain, although Jetstone (and many other businesses in our sector) would consider this highly desirable. A label such as FSC in the wood sector could also provide a lot of clarity for natural stone.
As a company that acquires many of its materials abroad, Jetstone obviously meets the regulations imposed by the Dutch government where sustainable and responsible acquisitions are concerned. At Jetstone, however, we take this much further by working according to a ‘Code of Conduct’. In this document, Jetstone commits itself and its suppliers to a number of important legal, ethical, environmentally technical and social norms and standards. This Code of Conduct was signed by all our Indian suppliers and is also discussed with possible new suppliers, which is an important step in a country where much information is still quite obscure.
An important recent development in the field of sustainable granite is the ‘International CSR Covenant‘ under the leadership of the SER (The Dutch Social and Economic Council). Through its sector organisation DI-Stone, Jetstone is closely involved in this Covenant. Substantial improvements in this field will, undoubtedly, take a great amount of time, but as a sector we need to address this topic (preferably internationally). Sitting back is not an option!