Gifts Today magazine

Research to shed light on responsible sourcing

A BRE Trust and Industry funded research project is investigating the practical realities of responsibly sourcing construction materials from overseas suppliers

A BRE Trust and industry funded research project is investigating the practical realities of responsibly sourcing construction materials from international supply chains.

'Western perceptions of conditions in workplaces abroad are influenced by media reports of incidents seeking sensationalism,” says Katie Livesey of BRE Global. “Rarely do we see a follow up to these stories and it is important to also report on remedial actions and successes. As part of this project we are visiting suppliers in countries such as India to learn the realities of working conditions there at first hand. We will use the findings to examine and enhance our own BES6001 responsible sourcing standard, which is now widely used in the UK construction sector.'

Central to the project is the participation of (and funding from) a group of construction industry companies who source materials through international supply chains. These include hard landscaping product manufacturer, Marshalls, which supplies natural stone and concrete products to the construction industry. Marshalls’ supply chains include sources in India, to which a site visit was recently conducted as part of this investigation – with very positive outcomes.

'The findings of this and other visits are being developed into case studies that will help to increase the transparency of international supply chains and the trust within them,” says Livesey. “They will provide direct insights to the varying legal, cultural and business practices in different countries. This will help us to connect the realities of the supply side with the expectations of the demand side in terms of responsible sourcing, using BES6001 version 3.'

Marshalls already has experience of BES6001 version 3, having earlier this year become the first company in the materials sector to secure BRE Global’s Responsible Sourcing certification against the newly revised Issue 3.

'We take this issue extremely seriously and we are constantly seeking ways to further enhance our sustainable credentials,” says David Morrell, head of sustainability at Marshalls. “Not only was this a fantastic achievement for us, but it also offers our clients third party assurance that they are working with a responsible partner.'

For further information please contact Linda McKeown, BRE, tel 01923 664569, email

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