Putting ethical trading at the centre of all it does, Natural Paving Products (UK) has partnered with Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace Prize winner 2014, to improve the lives of Indian children near its quarries and new factory.

Mr Satyarthi is a child rights activist and founder of New Delhi-based NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), which works to eradicate child exploitation. Many rural communities in India, like the ones surrounding the natural stone regions, witness widespread child labour and underage marriage due to impoverished circumstances. The United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report puts the number of child labourers in India at approximately 10% of the total labour force.

Natural Paving Products is proud to support the work of BBA and has committed to funding 10 new child friendly villages as part of its ‘Bal Mitra Gram’ programme over the next three years. These child friendly villages, set up by BBA, ensure every child up to the age of 14 gets a quality education and there is a community ban on all child labour and child marriage.

Mr Satyarthi said: “It’s great to be working with a company that takes its ethical responsibilities so seriously. Child exploitation is a massive problem in rural India and I’m keen to work with more companies to see an end to this injustice. Natural Paving Products is already doing so much to support rural communities with its investment into a new factory, but now with its further support of the child friendly village programme, it is also part of the solution to our child labour problem.”

As well as supporting Kailash and his work in the region, Natural Paving Products has recently opened a new state-of-the-art factory, which will provide further job opportunities to local people. In January this year, the new factory played host to the BBA’s launch of the Bal Mitra Gram programme, which was attended by over 2,000 people including key members of the stone industry, dignitaries and both the local and national media.

Mark Wall, managing director at Natural Paving Products, said: “Our commitment to providing a quality product and service to our customers must be measurable at all stages of the supply chain and so we believe that it is our duty to ensure our Indian operations are run with the highest regard for ethical trading. While we employ local people, pay fare wages and are members of the Ethical Trading Initiative, we wanted to do more to make a lasting positive impact in the areas we operate – Kailash’s work was the perfect opportunity to be part of a bigger initiative that is transforming the lives of rural Indian communities.”