Programa Amorim Escolha Natural Sustentável por Natureza
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Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

The effective integration of sustainability in the business of CORTICEIRA AMORIM required that a set of strategic areas was identified from the broad spectrum of topics that constitute sustainability.

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is one of CORTICEIRA AMORIM'S strategic areas of sustainability. The company has sought to raise awareness, train and reward researchers and forest owners in this area.

Since 2008, Corticeira Amorim has been funding a free technical advisory service to forest producers with the aim of identifying and ensuring the adoption of the best practices in the management of cork oak forests and associated biodiversity. This technical advisory service has encompassed around 18,000 ha of cork oak forest in Portugal since 2008, and most of the beneficiaries of this service subsequently chose to obtain FSC certification of their forestry management systems.

This technical advisory service was established when Corticeira Amorim signed on to the Business & Biodiversity Initiative of the European Commission, in October 2007. Under this initiative, an agreement was signed with ICNF (Institute of Nature Conservation and Forestry) and the NGOs WWF and Quercus. This agreement, besides providing the above-mentioned technical advisory service, included measures to encourage forestry research and the dissemination of good management practices. Since it is considered necessary to adjust the protocol and respective measures to the current challenges of the industry and ecosystem, the initiative partners are considering new measures which they aim to include in a new agreement to be signed in 2014.

The maintenance, preservation and enhancing of the value of the cork oak forest is, for this reason, extremely important economically, not only for the production of cork, but also for the social and environmental value of the numerous services provided. For this reason, Corticeira Amorim fosters in different forums, that the value of the services provided by cork oak forests should cease to be merely "theoretical" and become instead an actual remuneration paid to forestry owners who, by means of good management practices, provide a significant set of services fundamental to human well-being. Resulting from this commitment, Corticeira Amorim promoted in partnership with CE Liège, in 2010, an innovative study to evaluate cork oak forest environmental services, at the property level. This study, available at, identified a minimum value of 100 euros/hectare/year for the "public" services provided by cork oak forests. In other words, there is a significant range of ecosystem services1 that benefit Society and for which the owner does not receive any remuneration.

It is therefore imperative that new models and new approaches are adopted, which consider the economic dimension and the value of the natural capital and ecosystem services, thus driving the evolution to the so-called "Green Economy". This area has been the subject of thorough studies, given its relevance. An example of such a study is the OPERA project (, in which Corticeira Amorim is the only Portuguese company on the stakeholders committee of this project.