Today, there are around 25 million container units in the world market, and they handle around 200 million maritime resource transport each year, with 4,500 kilometer on average by sea. This logistics system handles most of the world's trade. It consumes 0.8 percent of the world's 5.5 billion tons of fossil fuels annually.
Conserving resources and paying attention to sustainability – it’s a responsibility and obligation. The global maritime transport and thus also the transport of stone, make a very moderate contribution to this balance sheet.
A container needs about three liters of oil per hundred kilometres to travel by sea. At 17,500 kilometers makes the calculated 525 liters. If one even calculates that part of the container goes back empty, this results in an average
of 700 to 750 liters per container unit. That would take a fully loaded truck 2,000 kilometers.
Air traffic needs about six percent alone the road traffic of the USA "consumes" 23 percent, which is almost 30 times more.
If American cars would consume an average of only 12 liters per hundred kilometers instead of 13 liters, the savings would be more than twice as high as the consumption of global merchandise via the sea.
The subject of child labour is far too serious to be even the least bit forgiven here. Unfortunately, there is child labour practised in certain parts of India. Dedicated research by a German television showed obvious images a few years ago.
Our course of action here is cooperation with the German agency "XertifiX", which is committed to the prevention of child labour with the help of strict conditions and continuous controls of the contractually production bound companies.
Unfortunately, poverty in the regions concerned is so high that people are ready to accept anything as a threat to starvation. However, our approach is to handle business possibly fair. We can thus promote the only source of income in the relevant regions.
There is no child labour in China. The state regulations and controls are incredibly strict in the highly available stone areas on the east coast.
The Primary School lasts until the age of sixteen, the daily working hours may not exceed eight hours. However, this may not be always followed. Especially child labour, given the strong competitiveness of the various Chinese industries on the world market, is a frequently used, but by no means justified, point of view in the consciousness of which the authority is very rigorous.
“Imports endanger domestic jobs…!"
Of course, the goods imports also mean the displacement of labour. On closer examination, however, one thing can be clearly seen as following:
Decades ago, many foreign workers were employed in the domestic industry. Today industries are entirely dependent on employing unskilled foreign workers in their own countries. In many, and above all, heavy craft sectors, we are far from being able to handle the workload ourselves.
It is very difficult for companies to find good employees, and it is almost impossible to find employees for heavy labour jobs, at least not nationals(locals).
Just as we need foreign forces, so we need imports, at least for hard-crafted products.
In return, we are able to export high quality products and know-how. Especially, Austria and Germany are very strong in it. Our domestic industry sells the hour with value adds of around 110 euros (excluding material), and with it we win. There are many efficient and well-flourishing companies that are heavily dependent on the export of such high-quality products.
China supplies us with simple products with a value added of around € 1.80 per hour work. So, if we work one hour for China, a Chinese will work about 60 hours for us.
We can share our lessons in the finest conditions, air-conditioned and occupationally medicated, and the Chinese works for one and a half week in the quarry. It's hot, exhausting and dangerous. We live well from our exports, but these are possible in the long term only with appropriate imports.
According to a modern fairy-tale,
the transport of granite by sea costs nothing.
He would’ve anyway needed it as a ballast in the ship's belly and travel therefore for free. That could’ve been in the beginnings of maritime trade, however, today's logistics draws a different picture.
When the relatively exclusive container ships are on the way in the oceans, the standardized container units are around 6 meters long and about 2.3 meters in width and in height. In it, 28 Tons of freight can be loaded. The crossing takes about 30 days, the largest ships hold up to 15,000 such container units and can be completely emptied and refilled in the most efficient ports in Europe and in Asia in just about two days.
Container transport costs between 1,500 and 3,000 euros from the seaport of Asia to the central region of Central Europe, fluctuating highly with the current sea freight rates. Hence 5.5 to 11 cents per kilogram, which is also the basis of calculation of freight for each individual product.
Again, and again it is claimed that stones are processed during the crossing at the ship. This is not possible in any situation, in view of the densely packed containers. And what economic sense it would make to keep the necessary and expensive cargo space free? To carry raw materials and machines, not to mention the people and the necessary infrastructure?
Child labour in Indian quarries is a sad reality. Stein & Co is aware of its ethical responsibilities, which is why we are the first Austrian company to join XertifiX in 2008.
With this license and agreement, we ensure to our customers that we do not import stones from unacceptable production and working conditions.
By asking the dealer for natural stones without child labour and then buying it, you are already taking a significant step. So far, XertifiX exists worldwide only as an independent licensing agency for natural stones from India without child labour and slavery, which at the same time carries out rehabilitation measures for former child laborers.
Caution! There are already fake UNESCO and UNICEF certificates claiming that the organization can confirm that the stones delivered are guaranteed to be made without child labour. Upon request, UNICEF and UNESCO Germany assured that their organizations have never issued such certificates and will not do so in the future.
At Stein & Co we are aware of our ethical responsibilites, that's why we are the first Austrian company to get certified.
We are collaborating with XertifiX since 2008.
„Stein & Co does not import goods
from unacceptable production conditions.
Mag. Bernhard Schutti