Cork is an indelible factor of social and economic development for the countries of the Western Mediterranean. It combines a centuries-old tradition with the most modern practices of an industry of the future, and one that leads the way in sustainability.
The Iberian Peninsula generates 80% of the global exports of cork products in which 60% are from Portugal where the Cork Trees occupy more than 736 thousands of hectares - representing 23% of the national forest.
In Portugal, the Cork Industry, creates 9000 jobs in which 6500 are in the forest exploration and thousands of jobs related with other products from MONTADO (like livestock, catering and tourism, etc.) contributing for 2% of the Portuguese exports in goods and 30% in forest products.
Cork Oak Forests, forming environmentally and economically sustainable systems, provide an important ally in preventing desertification. In addition to preserving the biodiversity and regulating the water cycle, they also help halt depopulation (constituting economically viable agroforestry systems).
In some villages, cork is the main income, keeping these areas alive with economic and social activities. Cork not only creates wealth, but also distributes it, making these regions economically viable.