“What are the costs to France of importing natural stone?“ asks a study by the French stone association

On its website, SNROC shows a photo of the enormous limestone foundations on which the Eiffel Tower rests.

The SNROC association presented a typically French perspective on the sustainability subject at the Rocalia trade fair in December 2023

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A new study from France poses the question of the “real cost of natural stone from abroad,“ as the subtitle of a video puts it. The result is not surprising: they are more expensive when the consequences of the lack of added value in France are added to the climate concerns. In other words: the real costs can be seen differently than the prices. Or: buying local stones supports the whole region and the whole country.

The study was presented at the 3rd edition of the biennial Rocalia trade fair in Lyon in December 2023. It was initiated by various natural stone associations and carried out by the Institut Veïa, based in Brittany. The scientists focused on two central aspects:
* What are the monetary consequences of using imported products instead of those from domestic sources?
* How can the climatic consequences of long transportation routes, i.e. the emission of more greenhouse gases, be represented in monetary terms?

The result is an easy-to-understand table that compares French granites with those from Spain, Portugal, and China, and makes the same comparison with limestones from Spain and Turkey.

We show the two tables. Explanations: The prices for stones from France are estimated as base costs, so to speak. At the end of each column of the table, you can see how much higher the costs of imports are.

The real cost of local versus imported granite in France.The real cost of local versus imported limestone in France.

For a better understanding:
* The calculations were carried out for a typical project in Paris with 5000 m² of granite paving or 2000 m² of limestone paving.
* The white columns indicate the sales prices that customers would encounter in France.
* The green column includes the environmental impact of transportation. This applies not only to foreign deliveries, but also to domestic transportation within France, which is ultimately also incurred.
* The blue column is devoted entirely to financial considerations. For France, these are the revenues for municipalities and the state (taxes), the importance of jobs for a region, etc. However, they do not appear in the table because they are included in the sales prices. In the case of foreign deliveries, however, they are not incurred at all in the destination country France, i.e. they are negative revenues, so costs that these products entail for the general public in France.

This type of calculation makes it possible to compare all the financial aspects of stone imports in € sums.

The CO2 transport balances of domestic versus imported granites in France.

In terms of environmental concerns, the costs are two to four times higher than for domestic products. In terms of transportation, trucks were assumed for Spain and Portugal, respectively, and ship plus truck for Turkey and China, respectively.

As far as jobs are concerned, VËIA puts them at ten direct jobs (stone extraction, processing, sales) plus ten indirect jobs plus three more in the construction and interior finishing sectors.

In total, according to SNROC, the stone sector in France comprises 750 companies, 6100 direct jobs, 599 quarries and achieves an annual turnover of € 524 million. Exports only account for around € 89 million per year, while imports of finished products total € 393 million and raw products € 57 million.

Around 50% of stone consumption in France is met with foreign deliveries, writes SNROC.

The study was initiated by the natural stone association SNROC (Syndicat National des Industries de Roches Ornementales et de Construction Pierre Naturelle) with the support of the technical association CTMNC (Centre Technique Industriel des filières Terre Cuite, Roches Ornementales et de Construction) and the regional stone associations of Brittany and Bourgogne. Veïa is the Institut Économique des Territoires.

Rocalia: press release on the study (English)

Video of the presentation at Rocalia (French)

Tabellen: SNROC

The deposits of natural stone in France.

See also:

(14.02.2024, USA: 02.14.2024)