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The Catalan cork sector has an environmental value that triples its economic value

The Catalan cork sector continues its roadmap towards sustainability with the successful end of the project "Study of the circular economy potential of the cork sector". This project, led by the Catalan Institute of Cork Foundation, has had the collaboration of most Catalan cork companies, theAssociation of Cork Companies of Catalonia (AECORK) and the MANGO chair from the Higher School of International Trade of Pompeu Fabra University (ESCI-UPF).

The main objectives of the project have been evaluate the potential of the application of the circular economy in the cork sector, update the environmental footprint calculation sectoral (the previous study, a pioneer at the time, dated from 2013) i determine the socio-economic and environmental value of the whole sector. The study has resulted in the formulation of proposals for improvement in the matter of circularity (cogeneration, industrial symbiosis, by-product exchange, emissions compensation, ...), detailed in technical sheets that include implementation costs, objectives, potential improvement, funding sources, among others.

One of the most significant milestones of the project has been the calculation of the carbon footprint in each of the production stages of the sector, as of 2021. The purpose of this valuable information is to identify the processes with the greatest potential for reducing emissions and has served to observe the positive evolution of the Catalan cork industry in its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally, an analysis of the social and environmental value of the Catalan cork sector has been carried out, a pioneering methodology that offers unprecedented perspectives on the contribution of this industry to society and the conservation of ecosystem services in Catalonia and beyond, a value of up to 884 million euros. With this study it has been possible to verify that the ecological value of the Catalan cork industry (up to 669 million euros) triples its socio-economic value (up to 215 million). This fact highlights the regenerative nature of the cork sector, since the production of corks and other cork products has a positive impact on the maintenance of the ecosystem services of cork oak forests (fostering biodiversity, reducing erosion, maintaining of water resources, fire risk reduction, atmospheric carbon fixation, ...).

Once again, it is verified how the use of corks and cork products contributes positively to our environment and Catalan society.


The project has been subsidized by theWaste Agency of Catalonia.