The cork oak ecosystems of the Mediterranean play an important role in combating climate change and as the leader in the industrial cork business we have a responsibility to ensure those forests continue to play that role. One way we can do that is by explaining and demonstrating the natural qualities of cork and its crucial role in carbon dioxide retention, preserving biodiversity and combating desertification.
— Antonio Amorim | Chairman and CEO

Amorim is recognized as a global leader in sustainable business practices. We are the only cork company to publish a sustainability report every year. By being the largest cork company in the world, we have a big responsibility to influence the cork industry to strive towards being more climate conscious in every step of production. Amorim is committed to minimizing its carbon footprint and providing eco-aware and sustainable products. We don’t let any material go to waste. We reuse the recycled raw material so much that it includes the cork dust being used as a source of energy. At Amorim, over 60% of energy needs are met by using cork dust (biomass), which is a CO2 neutral source of energy.

Every year, cork oak forests are estimated to retain up to 14 million tons of CO2, a sizeable contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Manufactured cork products also continue to ensure this function to absorb CO2 and each individual cork can retain as much as 3.95 ounces of CO2. This performance contrasts significantly with alternative closures – plastic stoppers and metallic screw caps – which generate 10 times and 26 times more CO2 respectively.

Cork is extremely important to wine consumers, since it is a 100% renewable and sustainable natural resource. Cork trees are harvested every nine years without damaging the tree. It assures an important level of CO2 retention - a crucial tool to fight climate change - and provides one of the world’s 36 most important biodiversity hotspots, on a par with Amazonia and the African Savanna. Cork oak forests protect against erosion and resulting desertification, and constitute a barrier against wildfires.

For centuries cork oak forests have been an environmental, social and economic pillar, playing a decisive role in the lives of thousands of people in Southern Europe and North Africa - over one hundred thousand, who directly and indirectly depend on these forests, according to the WWF - World Wild Fund for Nature. A wide range of agricultural, forestry, forest grazing, hunting and economic activities is based on cork oak culture - including the cork and wine industries, which are the paradigm of sustainable development.

The Monarch Challenge

The Monarch Challenge is a grassroots movement to save the Monarch butterfly and educate farmers on the importance of sustainable farming starting in Sonoma and Napa Valley. 

The Monarch butterfly populations are down by over 90% due to a massive decrease in their primary source of food: milkweed. The reason milkweed is so sparse is mainly caused by the habitual use of herbicides (primarily round-up, aka glyphosate). Fortunately, there are solutions and there is still time. Amorim Cork America is teaming up with wineries, suppliers and individuals to reach the Monarch Challenge goals which are dedicated to educating farmers and viticulturists about the dangers of herbicides along with solutions about how to farm successfully without them. 

Amorim’s dedication to the environment has been seen throughout its’ history of working with farmers in the cork forest to farm more sustainably in our Sustainable Forest Management Movement and Forestry Intervention Program. Amorim’s Forestry Intervention Program was developed in partnership between Amorim, forestry producers, research institutions and local authorities  to ensure the maintenance, preservation and enhancement of cork oak forests and has guaranteed continuous production of high-quality cork. The Montados (cork oak forests) are an important environmental, social and economic pillar in Mediterranean countries. They support a unique and fragile ecology which constitutes a habitat for rare and endangered species. It is estimated that every year cork oak forests retain up to 14 million tonnes of CO2, a sizeable contribution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the main cause of climate change. Amorim Cork America wanted to apply this same concept of education and dedication towards our local communities as well by supporting the Monarch Challenge.

Few of the points in educating our local farmers are: the environmental impact of herbicides, not just for monarchs but also on soil, air and water quality, the human health impact of herbicides and long term effects of exposure, the economic impact of herbicides and the potential economic gains to farm without them and the impact herbicides have on wine quality.

The transition away from herbicides will ultimately renew parts of the Monarch's habitat and protect human health while still benefiting businesses' bottom line. Right now, the Napa Valley has roughly 45,000 acres of vineyards and Sonoma has 110,000 acres. Much of the land is already farmed organically, biodynamically and herbicide-free. These leaders of organic farming have the answers to a successful transition and we as activist are helping provide the models for success. As we chip away at the thousands of acres in the region, we will help document and promote its transition.  By supporting this platform we are benefitting not just Napa and Sonoma but eventually many other small farming regions. Also, with the momentum, we would also like to find a way to help bring this higher level of sustainable farming to corn and soy in the United States as well.

To learn more about the Monarch Challenge check out their website at: www.themonarchchallenge.org 

ReCORK™

RECYCLING IS AN ENVIRONMENT-FRIENDLY GESTURE

Every year around 12 billion cork stoppers are sold worldwide. Recycling, in addition to increasing the reuse of raw materials, enables the life cycle of cork stoppers to be extended. Therefore, not only is it possible to decrease the costs associated with the production of other high value-added products, but also to contribute to a cleaner world.

Cork stoppers absorb CO2 particles which they «inherited» from the bark of the cork oak, a tree which has the important ability to retain CO2 which causes the greenhouse effect. If they are decomposed or incinerated, the CO2 is released into the atmosphere and shall contribute to global warming. Conversely, recycling enables the CO2 retention capacity of cork to be extended. In each tonne of cork stoppers, around 1.83 tonnes of CO2 is retained, which, once they have been recycled, this capacity is ensured forever, as the reuse of this raw material is unlimited.

At Amorim Cork America we are partnered with ReCORK™, North America's largest natural wine cork recycling program. Launched in 2008 by Canadian footwear company SOLE. They are an alliance of businesses and individuals who work together to create environmental change by collecting and repurposing natural wine corks.  Recycling your natural wine corks in one of our collection bins ensures that cork is used to replace environmentally harmful, petroleum-based materials in consumer products. The recycling program is "plug-and-play" environmentalism, and we need your help to make it work. Recycle your corks, buy products made from cork, and encourage others to recycle their corks—it's that easy!

We have a recycling center here at Amorim Cork America and would love to have your corks back!

Find out more about how to get involved and where you can drop your recycled corks: www.recork.com

You can also find out more about how to recycle corks on your own from the Napa Recycling Center. Did you know that corks should go into your compost bin? They are 100% biodegradable. http://naparecycling.com/cork-recycling/

Forest Stewardship Council®

In 2007, the company became the first cork supplier in the world to receive FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council® - FSC® C006320 ) certification from the Rainforest Alliance for its natural cork closures. This prestigious certification is your guarantee that corks grown and manufactured under this accreditation meet the highest standards of sustainable and socially responsible forestry practices. Amorim and its subsidiaries are an integral part of a conservationist effort to guarantee the survival of hundreds of thousands of cork trees throughout the Mediterranean Basin; Helping preserve biodiversity and combating desertification.