Catalan cork industry commits to FSC certification | WWF

Catalan cork industry commits to FSC certification

Posted on 18 February 2005
Cork oak tree, Spain.
© WWF / Edward PARKER
Palafrugell, Spain – The Catalan Cork Association (AECORK) and the Cork Institute of Catalonia (ICS) respectively signed an agreement with WWF Spain, at the First International Congress on Cork from February 16-18, to cooperate on the conservation of cork oak landscapes. The agreements foresee cooperation in cork oak conservation and promotion of the cork values through actions such as supporting FSC certification. 
“There are few occasions in nature conservation when there is unanimous consent to conserve an ecosystem. Cork harvesters for whom the forests are part of a long-living tradition, industries who process raw cork into useful products, and authorities in charge of management regulations have demonstrated their will to protect and manage cork landscapes,” said Juan Carlos del Olmo, WWF Spain CEO. 
Cork oak landscapes are considered as one of the best examples of semi-natural landscapes modelled by man that maintain high levels of biodiversity while providing an economically valuable resource. These forests and associated scrub land host Mediterranean flagship species such as the Imperial eagle, the genet, the European mongoose,  the Barbary deer, and several species of endemic plants. Cork harvesting is environmentally sustainable, yet cork oak landscapes have been seriously affected by factors such as land abandonment, plantation of fast-growing non-native species such as pine and eucalyptus, destruction of vegetation and lack of regeneration through overgrazing, and poor forest management practices. 
The Congress gathered more than 300 representatives from research, forestry, industry and trade in 7 Mediterranean countries and 6 regions of Spain. Participants had the opportunity to share ideas on how to improve cork forests management and the quality of cork produced. The event demonstrated that there is an increased awareness on the threats to cork oak landscapes. 
“Cooperation with WWF, who is experienced in forging alliances with a variety of stakeholders, will help in reaching the final consumers and undoubtedly lead to better conservation of cork forests, said Joan J. Puig, CEO of the Cork Institute of Catalonia”. “We heartily support WWF on the sustainable management of cork oak landscapes. Reaching final consumers and giving them clear reasons for choosing natural cork products is the ultimate objective of our cooperation,” added Enric Vigas, President of AECORK. 
For further information
Chantal Ménard 
Communications Officer, WWF Mediterranean 
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent, not for profit, non-government organization based in Bonn, Germany, that provides standard setting, trademark assurance, and accreditation services for companies and organizations interested in responsible forestry. Founded in 1993, FSC’s mission is to promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests.
Cork oak tree, Spain.
© WWF / Edward PARKER Enlarge