The cork tree is a truly remarkable tree species due to its continuous self-regenerating properties and environmental benefits. Its natural longevity allows it to produce high-quality cork sustainably without compromising fauna and flora that surrounds it.
The cork (the outer skin layer of the tree) can be extracted without causing any harm to the tree. Nothing is considered waste when it comes to the cork tree: it’s fruit, leaves, and natural acids, all play a part in guaranteeing a sustainable eco system for the surrounding areas.
Portugal and the Portuguese people have long recognized the value and the importance of preserving this historic Mediterranean tree. In fact, the cork tree is protected under legal dispositions since the Middle Ages. Presently, it enjoys many more protections and safety regulations due to the understanding of its importance to the environment and economy. Local and national legislation help ensure our heritage is preserved and maintained. Laws and regulations are established to protect this natural resource across the more than 736.000 ha (hectares) of cork tree forest. Portugal is the leading country in the cork industry worldwide. It accounts for more than 100,000 tones of cork produced annually (representing 49,6% of all world cork production).
In 2016 in Portugal, the cork “community” accounted for more than 670 registered companies. Together, it’s estimated they employed more than 9000 people, a number that continues growing in recent years. Including such different areas as cork stoppers for wine bottling, cork insulation for the building and construction, cork wallpaper and tiles for interior design, cork fabrics for fashion and design, Portuguese cork companies are leading the way cork is perceived and used all around the world.
Portugal is the worldwide leader in the manufacture and export of cork products, with over 1 billion euros of cork products exported annually, and with the values growing every year. Cork exports represent 2% of all Portuguese exported goods.
Our approach for sustainability
Taking all this into account, Portugaliacork wants to support cork industry sustainably and strategically. We believe the best approach to achieve sustainability is aiming for the following goals:
100% Portuguese cork
This guarantees economic support and livelihood for thousands of rural populations across our country while maintaining a strict quality standard for our products and consumers. The Portuguese corks’ seal of quality is essential to you, and to us.
Whether from our own cultivated forests or other trustworthy national partners, the goal is to harvest 100% authentic, genuine cork layers from quality-oriented farms and forests.
100% Sustainable provenance
Cork tree forests are ecologically and economically sustainable. They help regulate water resources and play vital roles in preserving several species of fauna and flora. These forests make up for one of the richest ecosystems in the world. Portugal accounts for about 34% of the global cork oak forest area. The Natura 2000 preservation program classifies these forest sites as extremely important for biodiversity.