Over the past two years, EY has developed several studies for Amorim to assess the company’s environmental, social and economic impacts. As part of the Group’s sustainability strategy, these studies also made it possible to calculate the environmental footprints of its main products, and concluded, without exception, that they have a negative carbon balance when considering the carbon sequestration of cork oak forests and the emissions associated with production of product. Product studies were carried out between 2018 and 2020, focusing on the different stages of the life cycle, using a cradle to gate approach, in particular: forestry activities; cork preparation, including forestry transport, production, finishing and packaging. The assessment also included additional information on the carbon sequestration of the cork oak forest.
Corticeira Amorim’s activities are aligned with 12 of the 17 United Nations Sustainability Goals. In the specific case of CO2 studies on cork stoppers, the relevant objectives are:
9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure
12 – Responsible consumption and production
13 – Climate action
Amorim Cork’s activities aim to guarantee quality, based on the continuous improvement of processes, products and services available and on the search for innovative solutions based on technological development, in order to respond to customer needs with sustainable, competitive and differentiating solutions.
After having identified a positive role that exists of Corticeira Amorim’s activity upon crucial sustainability issues, we decided to find a way to backup this role with technical information that simultaneously could be shared with our clients and therefore reinforce the role of cork as a prominent CO2 sink across the supply chain that itself contribute to the ultimate viability of the cork forest.
EY conducted studies for Amorim Cork which analyzed stoppers from various segments of still and sparkling. The methodology of the studies conducted by EY was based on the ISO 14040/44 (ISO, 2006) standards, complemented with the guidelines of the International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) Handbook – General Guide for Life Cycle Assessment – Detailed guidance (EC- JRC, 2010), and was also aligned with the Product Environmental Category Rules (PEFCR) for still and sparkling wines, issued by the European Commission in 2018. Production data was provided by Corticeira Amorim, while the general production processes associated to the production of raw materials, energy, transport and waste management were obtained from the ecoinvent 3.5 database (Werner, et al., 2016). The evaluation focused on a functional unit of 1000 stoppers.
Covering stoppers for different segments of still wines and sparkling wines, the studies concluded that 100% of the evaluated products have a negative individual carbon footprint, since they present lower direct emissions from the production process than the carbon contained in the product. It was also concluded that, without exception, the carbon balance of all these corks remains highly negative when considering the sequestration of cork oak forests and the emissions associated with the production of the product. Thus:
– A Natural Cork allows a carbon balance of up to -309g CO2eq;
– A Twin Top Evo stopper allows a carbon balance of up to -297g CO2eq;
– A Neutrocork stopper allows a carbon balance of up to -392g CO2eq;
– An Advantec stopper allows a carbon balance of up to -328g CO2eq;
– A Sparkling Wine Cork with two discs allows a carbon balance of up to -562g CO2eq;
– An Agglomerated Cork stopper for sparkling wine allows a carbon balance of up to -540g CO2eq.
– A Twin Top stopper allows a carbon balance of up to -322 CO2eq;
– A Acquamark stopper allows a carbon balance of up to -335 CO2eq.
This research complements and highlights the enormous value of the cork oak in terms of sustainability. We have learned that suppliers to the wine industry can make a measurable contribution to minimizing the environmental footprint of their customers and in this way reinforcing the fight against climate change while promoting a balance between social, environmental and economic issues.
Amorim continues to research and deepen its knowledge to enhance and expand the significant contribution of the cork oak forest and the entire cork sector. Additional studies are planned to further strengthen the understanding of cork stoppers and cork forests as unique CO2-reduction partners for the wine trade.
The methodology adopted was based on the ISO 14040/44 standards (ISO, 2006) complemented with the guidelines of the International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) Handbook – General Guide for Life Cycle Assessment – Detailed Guidance (EC-JRC, 2010), and was also aligned with the Product Environmental Category Rules (PEFCR) for still and sparkling wines, issued by the European Commission in 2018. The production-related data were provided by Corticeira Amorim, while the general production processes associated with the production of raw materials raw, energy, transport and waste management were obtained from the ecoinvent 3.5 database (Werner, et al., 2016). The evaluation takes as a reference the functional unit of 1000 stoppers.