World Leader in Cork Launches Industry's First Sustainability Report
Public Awareness of Cork's Crucial Sustainability Role is Renewing Worldwide Interest in Natural Cork as the Most Viable Wine Closure
MOZELOS, Portugal--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CORTICEIRA AMORIM (Euronext Lisbon: COR; ISIN: PTCOR0AE0006), market leaders in the cork industry, announced the publication of their first Sustainability Report, reflecting jointly with stakeholders on how to contribute to an effective sustainable development.
Highlights - Cork oak forests and the resulting manufactured natural cork products have a proven, positive role in sustainable development. - The role of cork in CO2-retention, preserving biodiversity and combatting desertification, is crucial in minimizing the world's ecological footprint. - CO2-retention capabilities of Portugal's cork forests are estimated to be as high as 5% of the country's annual emissions, or 4.8 million tons per year. - Amorim's annual production of natural wine stoppers alone retains over 25 thousand tons of CO2, creating a unique balance between the creation of wealth and the protection of the environment. - Over 45% of Amorim's energy needs are supplied by renewable sources, including natural cork itself.
Commenting on the Report launch, Carlos de Jesus, Amorim’s Director of Marketing & Communications, said, “We are delighted to be leading the way in taking a responsible stance on what will be the most important considerations for cork as the closure of choice over the next ten years. Our goal is to report annually on our sustainable efforts with the aim of demonstrating significant progress in carbon footprint reductions.”
I - WHY NATURAL CORK FORESTS MATTER
The world’s cork oak forests’ role in mitigating the effects of CO2, in preserving biodiversity and in combating desertification, is now recognised as both fundamental to, and a unique example of, true sustainable development.
The viability of natural cork forests and thousands of farming communities, however, is determined by the creation of value-added products manufactured and distributed by companies such as Amorim. As a result, cork oak forests represent a centuries-old, vital balance between ecosystem conservation, creation of wealth and social development that benefit millions of people across the entire Western Mediterranean.
II - CORTICEIRA AMORIM AND GLOBAL WARMING
Cork Forests’ Global Positive Impact: As described, natural cork has an important role in fighting climate change. Estimates of CO2-retention capabilities for Portugal’s cork forests alone reach as high as 4.8 million tons annually, or approximately 5% of the country’s total emissions.
These figures, based on research recently presented by Lisbon University’s School of Agronomy, represent just 32% of the world’s 2.3 million hectares (5.7 million acres) of cork forests.
Amorim’s Products as Carbon Sinks: The CO2 retained by cork oaks is stored in the products manufactured by Amorim, and remains there throughout the entire product life cycle.
In the case of natural wine cork stoppers, it is estimated that each one of the three billion units annually produced by Amorim retains approximately 8.8 grams of CO2. The recycling of these products – an activity embraced by millions of wine drinkers worldwide – plays a significant role in extending these CO2-retention capabilities.
Amorim’s Energy Consumption: In addition to being a net retainer of CO2, cork by-products can be used extensively as a source of energy, thus playing an additional role in fighting climate change. During 2006, Corticeira Amorim supplied 46% of its energy needs with vegetal biomass power, representing a total of 410 thousand Joules of energy produced from renewable sources.
Export Shipping and Transportation: The Corticeira Amorim approach to sustainable development extends to increasing the usage of lower-pollutant maritime transport for its products wherever possible. Despite conducting the majority of its business activities within continental Europe, Amorim’s share of maritime transportation has grown steadily from 33.7% in 2004 to 40.4% in 2005, and reaching over 46% in 2006.
III - BIODIVERSITY AND THE FIGHT AGAINST DESERTIFICATION
Cork oaks are evergreen trees that play a fundamental role in the fight against desertification of large areas, not just in Europe but also in the Northern African countries of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, where cork forests are often the only obstacle to the fast-advancing Sahara Desert.
Cork oaks, through their unique ability to thrive in sandy and low-nutrient soils, allow for the crucial fixation of organic matter and water-retention capabilities. The resulting environmental balance creates the ideal ecosystem where countless animal and vegetal species prosper. These include some of the world’s most endangered species, such as the Imperial Eagle, the Black Stork and Europe’s last wild feline, the Iberian Lynx.
While biodiversity is crucial, its co-existence in harmony with human economic and social activity is also fundamental. By providing environmentally sound jobs to countless farming communities, cork forests not only foster biodiversity but also provide the means to sustain and fix populations to the land, preventing additional migrations to already-crowded cities.
IV - CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY PERFORMANCE
From ethical trade to forest certification, and from professional training to quality management, Amorim’s assessment of its social responsibility performance was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers according to the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI 3).
Ethical Trade: Amorim Cork South Africa was the first cork company in the world to obtain ethical trade certification. The standard was awarded by the South Africa’s Wine Industry Ethical Trade Association (WIETA).
Forest Certification: Although it does not own forests, Amorim is a key promoter of FSC – Forest Stewardship Council certification. Amorim is the first packaging company in the world to obtain this standard, which recognizes effective contributions to social, economic and environmental advances in forested areas.
Employee Training: During 2006, Corticeira Amorim increased its employee training programs by 19%, achieving a total of 38,000 hours of training for all levels of professional staff on topics such as safety, quality assurance and environmental issues.
Quality, Safety & Hygiene: Of a total of seven different certifications obtained by Amorim, five are in the field of quality management, product and employee safety & hygiene. These included HACCP / ISO 22000, Systecode, ISO 9001:2000, ISO14001 and OHSAS ISO 18001:1999.
Corticeira Amorim is the world’s leading producer of natural cork wine closures, with over 3 billion sold annually worldwide. For more information about the company and its commitment to sustainable business practices, visit www.corticeiraamorim.com/en or www.corkfacts.com.