Beautiful & sustainable stone

As the trade association for the natural stone industry, Stone Federation is passionate about promoting the use of natural stone as an attractive, sustainable building material. With over 200 members it represents a wide sector of the industry providing architects, designers, specifiers and homeowners with a one-stop shop for all things stone. Matt Rob from the Stone Federation discusses the ethical sourcing and sustainability of natural stone and what the federation can do to help

Sustainability and ethical sourcing are the hot topics not just in the stone industry but in the business world in general. Buyers now make much more informed decisions when choosing products, services or brands and the sustainability and ethical sourcing questions are high on the agenda.

Stone Federation has always been a passionate advocate of the sustainability of natural stone. In essence, natural stone is a ‘cradle to grave’ material and by most accounts, the oldest sustainable material on the planet. What’s more, the mechanism of earth building is ultimately a continual process of erosion, deposition and formation, creating a naturally sustainable material. Thanks to its durability, a stone’s lifecycle may not be limited to usage on one project. The re-use of natural stone is commonplace, adding even more weight to the case for natural stone as an inherently sustainable material.

Ethical sourcing is another subject high on the Federation’s agenda. It is working closely with its members to create a meaningful ethical sourcing statement, which will afford complete peace of mind to any architect, designer or specifier working with federation members.

There always has been and there will always be firms that look for loopholes and shortcut in the acquisition of materials and as an end user it can be a challenging task to ascertain the true credentials of a firm.

This is where Stone Federation can help. It has over 200 vetted and monitored members who, as part of membership, have to adhere to the highest standards and methods of operation.

Through a range of courses, publications and online training the federation ensures that all its members are up to date with the latest in official regulations, guidelines and codes of practice.

One example of this is the newly updated CE marking regulations. In the simplest terms, as of 1 July 2013, it has become a legally mandated obligation for construction products covered by a harmonised standard (EN), or conforming to a European Technical Assessment (ETA) to have a Declaration of Performance (DoP) and be CE marked.

In response, Stone Federation has produced an information booklet and sample certificates and DoP to ensure Members are providing their clients with the necessary information for their products.

In short, Stone Federation works to ensure that architects, designers and specifiers can work with any one of its members and enjoy the same approach to ethical sourcing and sustainability.

It is not just Stone Federation member companies that can enjoy the wide array of membership benefits; there are also avenues of involvement open to architects.

The Stone Federation’s newly launched Architects’ Club allows architectural professionals to enjoy a selection Federation membership benefits specifically aimed at enabling them to correctly specify and select the most appropriate material for a project.

As a member of the Architects’ Club you will enjoy free technical, sustainability and CE Marking helplines, access to exclusive members only events, courses and seminars, discounts on publications and first class networking opportunities.

If you would be interested in reading more about the sustainability of natural stone, the Federation has two publications – Natural Stone: The Sustainable Solution and Demonstrating Your Company’s Sustainability Credentials, both of which are available to architects.