26 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 third interview is with European natural stone supplier, Amarestone, and Stone Federation’s Chief Executive, Jane Buxey, asked Amarestone’s Managing Director, Steve Turner, 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?

Steve Turner: Thanks.  We were keen to be involved as soon as we heard about the scheme.  My interest started many years ago after visiting several quarries and stone factories in France. It seemed normal practice that the quarry environment was carefully managed – many of the quarry sites were invisible from the road – sometimes, trees were planted to hide the site and then, after the stone had been removed, the land was earthed over, replanted and the nature returned. The quarries were legally obliged to have insurance guarantees in place to ensure this happened even if the quarry companies ceased trading.

This contrasted with some of my visits to quarries and factories in other countries and made me realise that this was not always the norm. Since then, I have been very keen that Amarestone is associated only with quarries working to these standards.

JB: Have you seen an increased demand from your clients for ethically and responsibly sourced natural stones?

ST: Yes. It is encouraging that we are receiving more and more questions about the sustainability and ethics of using natural stone.  Recent media coverage on child and slave labour will also generate more questions.  Last year’s case of child labour in the Indian granite quarry and the latest reports of slave labour gangs operating in construction sites under our noses in London have really highlighted the need for better controls.

It has become an issue that must not be ignored and will trigger an even greater demand for ethically and responsibly sourced stone.

JB: How will this achievement benefit you as a company that supplies stones from many different locations?

ST: Firstly, it backs up our sustainability and ethical sourcing policy.  It’s satisfying that it has been verified independently that we are doing the right thing.

Major players in the construction industry will want to avoid the potential embarrassment of unsavoury practices in their supply chain.  The Ethical Stone Register will be the safe source for natural stone and I can foresee that it will become a key resource for the specifier.

Our entry on the register puts Amarestone at the very top of the list of suppliers for French limestone which should help new customers to find us.

JB: What were the greatest challenges in meeting the criteria of the scheme?

ST: We always knew that as an ethically minded business, we were doing the “right thing” but having written proof was still a challenge.  It has led us to tracking and documenting our processes more carefully so that we can monitor our performance against the criteria. The natural stone that we supply to our clients was the obvious starting point but the scheme encouraged us also to think about all the other products that are consumed in the course of our business – even down to the hi-vis jackets and office stationery.

JB: How do you see ethics and responsibility in the sourcing of materials developing over the next five years?

ST: We are looking forward to a time in the near future when natural stone sourced through the Ethical Stone Register is widely recognised as one of the most sustainable and ethical building materials.  We hope that the Register will help to make it easier for specifiers and clients to source high quality, sustainable materials and give them a “go to” single point of contact for natural stone.


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 would like to congratulate former Stone Federation President, Peter Harrison for being the recipient of the stone industry's highest award, the Duke of Gloucester Gold Medal.

Peter was presented with his medal by the Duke of Gloucester himself at Worshipful Company of Masons' Master's Banquet in London's Mansion House.

The Medal, which was introduced in 2010, is awarded every two years, to honour an individual in the craft of stonemasonry or the natural stone industry whose work is of considerable merit and who is acknowledged by his or her peers for the excellence of their contribution.

The idea for recognition for those in stonemasonry was originally mooted in the 1980s when it was noted that stonemasonry did not have any kind of recognition or a supreme accolade.


His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, who trained as an architect and has an affinity for stonemasonry, also felt that some form of recognition should be created and was instrumental in developing the concept of a recognition for stonemasonry befitting the millennia-old craft.

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.