Craft cork 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.
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).
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.
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.
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