Cork producers plan fightback campaign

19 March, 2010

Cork producers are joining forces to launch a generic campaign communicating the social, environmental and economic benefits of using the product.

The push is expected to begin next month in five markets – the UK, US, Germany, France and Italy – and will run until next summer.

Amorim, the world’s biggest cork?producer, will be heavily involved in the campaign, which has been jointly funded – 80% by the Portuguese government and 20% industry financed, according to marketing and communications director Carlos de Jesus.

“We have to better articulate everything that has been done to deliver the quality the trade has demanded, while highlighting the inherent advantages of cork,” he told OLN.

The ecological advantages, he claimed, include preserving the lifestyles of communities whose livelihoods are based on cork production, and the diverse wildlife that inhabits cork forests. The forests also store carbon, reducing greenhouse gases, he said.

In the UK, the campaign will be targeted at retailers and “opinion-forming” consumers.

“We will address different audiences, depending on the market,” de Jesus said.

He added that pressure exerted on retailers and consumers to lower their carbon footprint was not enough to create widespread acceptance of cork.

Instead, the campaign will focus on recent advances in cork closure quality. “People are not going to jump into the sustainability issue for the sake of it – they need to have assurances over quality,” de Jesus said.

In January, Sainsbury’s announced that its entire range of 6 million cork-closed bottles would move to stoppers certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council by the end of 2010.

The Co-operative has also committed to sealing all of its own-brand wines with FSC-certified natural corks.

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