13 Feb 2018

Ethical Stone Register - Pilot Scheme Member Interviews

Stone Federation recently launched The Ethical Stone Register, a unique resource created specifically for the natural stone industry, in response to The Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the issues of sourcing materials responsibly.

Following the launch, we have been speaking with the pilot scheme members to find out about their journey on the scheme.  These interview will provide contractors, architects, designers, clients and natural stone firms with an insight into the workings and systems of the Ethical Stone Register.

The second interview is with British quarry operator and supplier, Burlington Stone, and Stone Federation’s Chief Executive, Jane Buxey, asked Burlington’s Technical Sales and Production Manager, John Penellum, about their Ethical Stone Register journey and achieving Verification Level.

Jane Buxey: Congratulations on achieving your Verification Level – what was the motivation for engaging with this scheme?

John Penellum: Thank you, Burlington see ethical sourcing as very important and hope that architects, clients and contractors all appreciate that project costs should not over rule the need for responsible manufactured products to be used on their projects.

JB: What are the commercial benefits that you saw in taking the time to complete the process?

JP: We believe that this is the way forward in the stone industry and like any other everyday products, you should have the choice of using a material that has been manufactured to the highest standards whilst working towards and maintaining an ethical ethos.

JB: Do you find that proof of sustainable procurement is a major influencing factor for your clients?

JP: Yes, and as the industry moves forward, we see increasingly that clients want to know more and more about where the stone has come from, and at what cost to the environment. Especially with Burlington being based in and adjoining the Lake District National Park, soon to be a “UNESCO world heritage site”. Being verified by the Ethical Stone Register helps promote the fact that we have considered every impact that our business has on humanity and the planet.

JB: How, as a British Stone quarrier do you feel that this achievement will add to your unique selling point?

JP: As one of the Stone Federation Ethical Stone Register pilot scheme companies, we already have an advantage within the industry, being able to meet the highest standard of projects.

Burlington stones major unique selling points are that we can offer one of the finest most durable natural materials in the world, with eight quarries in the heart of the Lake District, using skilled British craftsmen to deliver an amazing product all around the world.

Established in 1843 we are a British family run business with long traditions and values, we are currently assessed to ISO14001, ISO9001 and environmental profiles.

Being part of the Ethical Stone Register is essential in maintaining our reputation of being one of the best in the industry and setting a standard for others to follow.

JB: What development do you think there will be within the British quarrying sector, in relating to the issues of ethical and responsible sourcing, over the next 5 years?

JP: I believe that as more clients become aware of ethical sourcing there will be increased demand for suppliers to meet their expectations. It will become unacceptable to not question where and how stone is produced. Being able to show accreditation for this will help clients choose between similar products, some of which may not be ethically sourced. This will offer the customer a clear choice and possibly an explanation for the associated cost differences between alternative products.


There are three tiers of membership of the Register, Declaration, Verification and Accreditation and the requirements of each level are explained below.

Declaration - At this tier, companies will have to complete a questionnaire looking at the responsible and ethical sourcing practices of their business. To achieve this level, a company will need to meet 100% of the criteria. The claims and assertions made by a firm at this level will be by means of self-declaration.

Verification - At this tier, the claims made by a company at the Declaration level will be externally verified. The initial verification will be for the company rather than each material they supply, however, they may choose to have some or all of their stones included at Verification level. This will involve an independent auditor assessing the journey of the material and ensuring that the responsible and ethical sourcing criteria are met the whole way along the supply chain. Only verified stones will appear on the Register itself.

Accreditation - At this tier, members will have met the requirements of the Declaration and Verification tiers, and will be further audited for this level. The aim is to have the scheme recognised and to gain credits within schemes such as BREEAM and LEED at this tier.

To find out more information about the Ethical Stone Register, go to or email



Members' News

Stone Federation are a member of EuroRoc, an organisation made up of the various European Federations for the dimensional stone industry.  The aim of the group is to coordinate questions of common interest and find solutions while promoting the use of dimensional natural stone.


The Federation's EuroRoc representative, Michael Poultney of Albion Stone along with Peter Harrison of Harrison Goldman, attended the latest meeting held at the Verona Stone Show in October.


There were a range of topics discussed, but shown are four discussions points that will be of particular interest to members.


1. Ethical Sourcing - There are various different degrees of controls of ethical sourcing across Europe and some is at a very local level.  It was accepted that the EU should be encouraging stones from ethical sources but there was some scepticism that a system with a high degree of certainty could be found in the short term.  It was agreed that the starting point should be to pool all the experiences from the differing methods currently being used by different, Countries, companies and organisations.

2. Geographical Protection - There was considerable support from across the EU and the robust comments from the UK were considered positive.  It is back with the European Parliament on what could be a long journey to possible implementation.  

3. Reporting Figures - There was concerns that the code numbers used for reporting production, imports and exports are not recording the dimensional stone figure accurately.  It was suggested that these should be related to the harmonised Product Standards (BS EN). Michael Poultney has been in dialogue with BGS and Eric Bignell at the Natural Stone Specialist magazine about the topic earlier in the month. Euroroc will progress the matter with the relevant authorities.

4. Silica Dust - There was a mixed response about the danger of the implementation of the dust regulations and the prospects of reducing the code.  It was agreed that the experiences from the implementation from national authorities will be requested.


With the island of Portland, from which the famous Portland limestone comes, being just off the Dorset coast from Weymouth, there could not have been a more appropriate material to use for a sculpture of the Olympic rings that has now been installed in the town that is hosting the Olympic sailing events. 

Burlington Stone has acquired the rights to quarry at Petts Quarry on Kirkstone Pass and Brathay Quarry near Ambleside following the regrettable demise of Kirkstone Quarries Ltd.

This new monument, costing £5 million, will commemorate the 55, 573 crew members of the RAF's Bobmer Command who were killed between 1939 and 1945.  The average age of those who lost their lives was just 22.

Albion Stone has recently purchased a new ‘JCB Fantini’, tractor mounted stone saw which will be used to increase efficiency in the Quarry & Mine.  This is the first machine of its type to be imported into any UK stone extraction operation. 


TV presenter, journalist and former conservative politician and Cabinet Minister, Michael Portillo made a fascinating tour of local natural stone producer, Burlington Stone of Kirkby-in-Furness, shown on 26th January on BBC2 at 6.30pm, as part of series three of the BBC’s popular travel documentary, Great British Railway Journeys.


A £500,000 investment into an innovative new roof for Albion Stone’s Factory is set to save thousands of pounds a year on their electricity bills.

Albion Stone supplied over 3m³ of Jordans Basebed and Jordans Whitbed in the form of treads risers, paving and memorial stones.

Taking centre stage on The Marshalls Garden That Kids Really Want! at the 2008 RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May the company utilised its own indigenous natural Yorkstone block to create two striking central features in this amazing organic playground.