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Absorbents which are sustainable by nature

In 2010 Corticeira Amorim launched an innovative range of natural cork-based absorbents for the control and clean-up of oil spills. Marketed under the CorkSorb brand, they are sustainable absorbents, not just because they are produced from a natural product, but due to the fact that they do not have any impact on the environment - contrary to mineral or synthetic absorbents, or even peat.

"As a result of its strong sustainability credentials, the CorkSorb range has been distinguished six times, nationally and internationally. In 2011, it won the Green Project Awards, the Sustainability Innovation Award (EBAEpis) and two of the four prizes in the European Business Awards for the Environment, in the Product and Business and Biodiversity categories. Recognition is also noteworthy on the innovation front, where the Portuguese Award for Environmental Innovation was given in 2010 and the Cotec-Unicer Product Innovation Award, won in 2012."

CorkSorb absorbents are certified by various environmental bodies in Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the USA, and marketed in 26 countries in Europe, Africa, South America and Australasia. They are a solution for serious oil spills, such as that of the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and also for the clean-up of day-to-day spills in garages, petrol stations or in industry.

The major innovation of this range of absorbents lies in the fact that they are hydrophobic - after appropriate treatment by Corticeira Amorim, accomplished by clean and environment-friendly processes, the cork absorbs oils and solvents almost instantaneously, but does not absorb water. This ability makes CorkSorb solutions ideal for use in aquatic environments (rivers, seas, lakes and oceans) or on wet surfaces.

Footwear and fashion accessories

Cork is a natural, comfortable, light and attractive material. It gives a seal of distinction and originality to the items into which it is incorporated, making them more valuable - as it is a natural product, it has its own «fingerprints», making each object made of cork unique. Perhaps this is why it is the choice of an impressive list of luxury brands, such as Christian Louboutin, Diane Von Furstenberg, Stella McCartney, Gucci, Prada, Chloé and Michael Kors, an option which extends to segments where the leading designer brands are Guess, Fly London and Benetton. In the sports arena, Adidas and Nike, as well as Birkenstock, have already surrendered to its versatility to adapt.

Corticeira Amorim offers a wide range of design and technical options which designers and the industry can choose from, according to their needs or fashion trends. For example, cork leather may be used with its natural appearance, but patterns can also be printed on it, following the season's trends or the designers' appeal. It is usually used in the heels, soles and uppers of sandals and shoes, although it is also common for it to be seen in handbags, purses, belts, umbrellas and key rings.

Cork is also a great option for footwear brands focused on comfort. Take the example of the BAREFOOTERS brand, which turned to Corticeira Amorim to develop a revolutionary footwear concept, made from CorksiLite (cork and silicone), a seamless model, offering antimicrobial properties, washability, durability and which cushions impact. It was a successful partnership and BAREFOOTERS are relaxed shoes, already walking around Portugal, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Australia, Canada and the USA.

The benefits of cork in terms of technical performance have also made it a feasible option for the sports and orthopaedic footwear segment. Itensures that body weight is better distributed, cushions impact, controls temperature and allows feet to breathe. Corticeira Amorim offers distinctive ranges of cork granulates, cork sheets, rolls, mouldable components and rubber cork, which may be used in insoles and orthopaedic shoes, among other possibilities. All these products are designed to increase walking comfort, reduce foot and leg health problems and improve posture.