Somewhere in the world, a man and woman warm their toes by a roaring fire on the eve of their twentieth wedding anniversary. As the afternoon peacefully draws to a close, the man glances up at the clock and smiles while realising that 5 o’clock has rolled around already. Getting up to open the wine cabinet he selects a special bottle of merlot from the year of their marriage. Carefully extracting the cork stopper and pouring two glasses, they share it together.

There is a certain romantic allure that has long-since been associated with sharing an aged bottle of wine. People like to reminisce on a special memory while appreciating the textures and flavours that have developed over time. Yet I wonder, as a couple like this relish in the excitement and comforting familiarity of hearing the cork stopper pop, do they consider the crucial part that this cork stopper has played in the preservation and quality of their most memorable bottle of red? Or more importantly, do they know that this singular cork stopper could retain up to 400g of CO2?

Cork is the material at the very heart of Corticeira Amorim, a worldwide leader in the cork industry dedicated to reducing the carbon footprint, fighting climate change and integrating sustainability into everything they do. The Portuguese company’s roots can be found in the Montado; the Mediterranean cork oak forest that is one of the world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots. Not only does the forest act as a protective habitat for 200 species of animals and over 130 species of plants, but this multifunctional system plays a major role in CO2 retention and contributing to cleaning the air we breathe.

‘Investing in the capture of CO2’ through harvesting natural cork is a clever strategy that has won Corticeira Amorim considerable respect in their field, and has allowed them to act as a shining example to others wanting to make a change. Their strategy is one that they are able to recycle again and again. Amazingly, no trees are felled during the harvesting process, while the cork oaks actually increase their retention capacity of harmful gases during the process of natural regeneration after they are stripped every nine years.

As their slogan suggests, ‘preserving the present, protecting the future’ is ever prevalent in all of their products; the company certainly doesn’t stop at selling goods to the wine-producing industries. Waste just isn’t a word in the vocabulary of Corticeira Amorim, as for every kilo of cork harvested, any leftovers or bi-products go into the development of both innovative and traditional products for the automobile, aerospace, transportation, design, fashion, flooring, construction, packaging, health and energy production industries.

There is no doubt that Corticeira Amorim has found the perfect balance between sustainable development and environmental conservation through their journey of adding value to cork over the last 150 years. In a world where there is just no time to lose in terms of climate change, this is a company at the forefront of their industry that is paving the way for future generations. Simply put, Corticeira Amorim allows us to foresee a future where sustainability is at the top of everyone’s list of priorities.

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