Sustainable by Nature

Cork is a 100% natural, renewable, recyclable and reusable material, which makes it a truly environmentally-friendly resource. The “montados” (or “dehesas”, the Portuguese and Spanish terms for forest of oak, holm oak, chestnut and cork oak trees) actively contribute to the balance of the Mediterranean ecosystem, one of the 36 global hotspots of biodiversity: more than 200 animal and 135 plant species live within this habitat.

As a low combustion material, cork makes montados important barriers against forest fires. They also protect surrounding regions from erosion and desertification due to their resistance to warm climate and arid soil. Oak woods are also powerful tools against global warming, for they provide a significant contribution towards air purification and greenhouse gas emission reduction by absorbing volumes of carbon dioxide.

Portugal is the country with the largest extension of cork oak trees in the world, and they are protected by law – it is strictly forbidden to cut them down. The cork industry employs thousands of people, contributing towards its permanence in regions that are highly prone to desertification. According to the WWF (World Wild Fund for Nature) it is estimated that over 100 000 people in Southern Europe and Northern Africa depend on these forests.

Being the world leader of the cork extraction and transformation industry, Corticeira Amorim is deeply concerned with the preservation of cork oak forests. As such, it foments an increase in awareness about the environmental impact of cork products and the ecosystem that generates them, affirming cork solutions as guarantors of the ecosystem and proactively acting in the development of policies and the proposal of measures for the protection and promotion of the cork oak tree. Through cork recycling, active intervention in forests and the creation of eco-efficient products, the company has been developing work that fits into the conceptual framework of the green economy. In fact, when it comes to analysing the management behind cork and cork-based products, it is clear that the Amorim group is promoting the reduction, reusage, recovery and recycling of cork, as a means to fight waste and present an alternative to short life-cycle products, in a paradigmatic example of circular economy. The production process is integrated, and guarantees 100% use of the raw material – even cork fragments that do not meet the high quality requirements are used as an energy source. At Corticeira Amorim, around 79% of energy is obtained through the use of biomass (cork dust), a CO2 neutral source of energy. Since it is continuously adopting more and more sustainable practices, Corticeira Amorim is recognized as one of the most environmentally-friendly companies in the world.

Due to its unique features, which no technology has yet been able to replicate, and because it is framed within circular management and production models and practices, cork truly meets the various needs and demands of contemporary life. It is one of the most sustainable raw materials we have at our disposal, in a moment when the planet calls for the deceleration of production and unbridled consumption, and asks us to adopt human-scaled, Nature-friendly habits instead.

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