PEFC Certified Cork Campaign: The Way Forward
Cork is a natural product that comes from the bark of the cork oak tree, Quercus Suber L. Although cork use dates back to the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks, its modern-day use was reportedly pioneered in the mid-1600s by Dom Pérignon who used cork to seal his sparkling wine bottles. Cork is an ideal solution for capping bottles as it maintains its full sealing capacity for more than one hundred years.
The majority of today’s global natural cork production is based in the Mediterranean region, principally in southern Portugal (52.5% of the world’s production), Spain, France and North Africa. Some twelve billion natural cork seals are produced each year which if joined end to end would circumnavigate the world nearly eleven times over.
If managed appropriately, cork production is sustainable. Traditional production of natural cork is an environmentally sound process which supports the preservation of grassland forests, Mediterranean biodiversity, small scale agriculture, rural livelihoods, and fast-disappearing cultural traditions.
PEFC & Certified Cork
In light of its importance, PEFC International has been working with PEFC Spain and other partners to promote cork certification. This initiative looks at both ends of the supply chain – creating demand and awareness among wine producers and retailers about the benefits of using PEFC certified cork, and encouraging forest owners in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy to produce PEFC-certified cork.
In 2011 PEFC Spain signed a collaboration agreement with the Fundación Biodiversidad, under the Empleaverde Programme, and with co-financing from the European Social Fund, to take the initiative to the next level.
Through this initative, PEFC Spain is looking to boost the cork industry by promoting awareness, and creating the conditions for sustainable eco-innovation and management of cork oak forests as a development opportunity for the cork sector in the green economy. This new phase of the project was launched at a reception featuring wines with PEFC-certified cork stoppers at the Bodega Santa Cecilia in Madrid in early 2012.