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Life Cycle Analysis confirms environmental superiority of Amorim Cork’s natural cork stoppers

10 Apr / 2024   Products   Sustainability   Studies

Negative footprint of Naturity® corks proves to be an important ally in the decarbonization of the wine sector.

The environmental supremacy of natural cork stoppers produced by Corticeira Amorim is clear in the “Life Cycle Analysis" (LCA) prepared by PwC at the request of the world leader in wine stoppers. Analyzing three types of stoppers, the Naturity ® cork stopper and two artificial seals (one made of aluminum and the other made of plastic), the study covers seven environmental indicators, was carried out in accordance with the guidelines of the ISO 14040 standard and subjected to a critical review by a committee of independent external experts.

Taking into account the changes that have been promoted in the cork stopper manufacturing process, it was considered relevant to update the quantification and comparison of the environmental impacts of natural cork stoppers versus the main aluminum and plastic closures on the market.

The study now published (available at: analyzes the environmental impact of each of the three shutters throughout their entire life cycle and demonstrates that the environmental benefit associated with Naturity® cork stoppers is significantly superior to artificial closures in five of the seven indicators analyzed:


Non-renewable energy consumption – Screwcaps and plastic stoppers have significantly higher non-renewable energy consumption compared to cork stoppers, primarily due to energy consumed for production of raw materials.

Emission of greenhouse gases – Screwcaps are associated to the highest greenhouse gas emissions, followed by plastic stoppers. Emissions associated to cork stoppers are significantly lower, primarily due to carbon intake during cork tree growth.

Water consumption – Plastic stoppers recorded the highest water consumption of all three closures, above all during the production stage. During the bottling stage, cork and plastic stoppers have higher water consumption, associated to use of PVC covers.

Production of solid waste – Screwcaps are the biggest producers of solid waste, followed by plastic stoppers and then cork closures.

Contribution to atmospheric acidification – Screwcaps are the biggest contributors to atmospheric acidification, followed by cork stoppers and plastic stoppers. The main source of atmospheric acidification is the production stage, particularly for screwcaps (99%).

Contribution to the eutrophication of surface water – Plastic stoppers are the biggest contributors to water eutrophication, followed by screwcaps and finally by cork closures (primarily due to bottling).

Contribution to the formation of photochemical oxidants – Plastic stoppers are by far the biggest contributors to the formation of photochemical oxidants, followed by screwcaps, with a much smaller impact associated to cork stoppers.


Carried out with a rigorous methodological approach that considers the worst-case scenario for natural cork stoppers, the study presents particularly relevant conclusions at a time when both the wine industry and society in general are increasingly aware of the importance of choosing ecologically responsible products. The comparison recorded in this study reinforces the credentials of Corticeira Amorim's cork stoppers as the most sustainable option, especially in their contribution to mitigating climate change, as cork stoppers are the only ones that have a negative carbon footprint throughout their entire life cycle.

For António Rios de Amorim, President and CEO of Corticeira Amorim, the study “consolidates, on the one hand, Corticeira Amorim's global leadership in the R&D area of the cork stopper segment and, on the other, cork's unbeatable environmental credentials. This study is the 15th Life Cycle Analysis developed by Amorim Cork for its products, which clearly reiterates our commitment to innovation and sustainability of the company and the sector.”

António Rios de Amorim also highlights that “being a leader means continuing to improve and show the way in an industry that already has such a beneficial environmental and social impact, but without forgetting that everything must be based on the superior performance of the product”, highlighting that “they are also excellent news for the wine sector, which increasingly sees sustainability as a crucial competitive advantage for its future growth.”

This study reiterates the commitment that Corticeira Amorim has made to providing the market with products that not only meet the quality and safety needs of wine producers, but that also contribute positively to the defense and protection of the environment, through continuous investment in innovation and technology to increase the performance of cork stoppers.

With a rich history and a tradition dating back several centuries, cork stoppers continue to be the preferred choice for sealing wine bottles, highlighting their sustainable credentials that are not comparable to synthetic alternatives whose environmental impact continues to be unfavorable in relation to natural cork stoppers. 

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