Corticeira Amorim leads an exemplary economic activity in terms of sustainable development. By promoting the cyclical harvest of the cork, without damaging the trees, the company makes the cork oak forest viable, a natural and renewable resource, with endless environmental, economic and social benefits.
Cork oak forests are natural CO2 sinks, they regulate the hydrological cycle, protect against erosion and fire and foster a biodiversity which is on a par with regions such as Amazonia, Borneo and the African savanna.
It is the harvest of cork that maintains the vitality of cork oak forest and promotes the economic, environmental and social development associated to it, enabling thousands of people to continue to live and work in arid and semi-arid areas. This three-dimensional contribution, enables cork to stand out as one of the greatest sustainable raw materials.
Completely natural, reusable and recyclable, cork is perfectly aligned with the environmental awareness of contemporary society. In line with a strong environmental motivation, Corticeira Amorim has implemented an integrated production process, through which it ensures the reuse of all the by-products which result from the processing of the cork. Everything that cannot be reused is recycled, giving a new dimension to the old saying that «nothing is lost, everything [returns to the production process and] is transformed».
The same philosophy to value cork as a raw material motivated the company to develop an unprecedented initiative to recycle cork stoppers, which began in Portugal and has gained popular support in countries over four continents (Europe, North America, Australia and Africa).
"Aware of the uniqueness of the cork sector, Corticeira Amorim undertakes the additional responsibility in preserving the precious asset that is the cork oak forest unlike any other."
Eco-efficient products and processes
Although it is not a forest owner, Corticeira Amorim recognises the sustainable management of the cork oak forest as a strategic priority. It was a pioneer in obtaining the first Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain of custody certificates in the cork industry in 2004 and, anticipating the needs of the wine industry - the target of its main product -, it was the first packaging company in the world to obtain this certification. Today, it continues to be focused on the development of products according to FSC principles, while it maintains the goal to increase the number of industrial units certified by this well-regarded international standard.
The ongoing integration of sustainable development models involves important factors such as the implementation of eco-efficient production processes and technologies - various units are certified according to national and international standards and numerous investments have enabled energy efficiency to be increased and carbon emissions to be reduced.
Over 60% of the company's energy needs are met by using biomass (cork dust), which is a CO2 neutral source of energy. As a result, since 2006 - the year in which Corticeira Amorim began the consolidated monitoring of its emissions - there has been a reduction of over 26% in the company's carbon intensity indicator.
Corticeira Amorim was the first company in the sector to promote the analysis of the environmental impact of its products, in particular of cork stoppers and coverings. In the first case, it assessed the comparative life cycle of cork stoppers versus aluminium caps and plastic closures and concluded that cork stoppers are more environment-friendly.
The study, which took place under ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 standards, and was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers/Ecobilan, demonstrated that the cork stopper is the most efficient in six out of the seven environmental indicators assessed. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, the results are also clearly in favour of cork stoppers: Even without taking into account the CO2 captured by cork oak forests, greenhouse gas emissions associated with cork stoppers are 24 times lower than those recorded for aluminium closures and ten times lower than those made of plastic.
To learn more about Corticeira Amorim's culture of sustainability, visit the website: