Missão Continente plants more than 1 million trees

Since 2008, ‘Missão Continente’, ‘Quercus’ and ‘Amorim’ have been promoting the collection of cork stoppers for recycling, valuing this raw material, sensitizing the population and financing reforestation through the Green Cork project. Since the beginning of the project to this day, during the week when the International Biodiversity Day is celebrated, more than 442 tonnes of cork have been saved and more than 1 million native trees have been planted.

According to the report recently released by Missão Continente, about 85% of the corks collected annually come from Continente stores. With collection points in all stores in the country, Continente is the largest collection partner, with this partnership having already allowed the reuse of more than 83.5 million corks, delivered by schools, institutions and customers. These cork stoppers are then sent for recycling, whose delivery reverts to the planting of native trees.
For Nádia Reis, Continente’s Communication and Social Responsibility Director “this is already a long partnership and one of Missão Continente’s most important awareness campaigns. Preserving our planet and promoting best practices, in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, are some of Missão Continente’s main strategy goals. We are very proud of this joint work that allows us to be strongly involved with the entire community and at the same time it is so relevant to the preservation of the native forest, creating a positive impact on both social and environmental levels”.

The cork stoppers’ destination has thus ceased to be undifferentiated waste, and has become any of the more than 300 Continente stores: separating corks is giving the opportunity for this material to be recycled and used in other applications, reducing the amount of waste and guaranteeing the storage of CO2 in cork for longer.

“’Green Cork’ has a strong involvement and participation from the community, namely thousands of children and their families, teachers and schools, but also companies from several sectors and some municipalities, in the promotion and collection of used cork stoppers. We count on the participation of thousands of citizens and their autarchies, institutions and associations spread across the country, who engage in voluntary actions for planting and maintenance of the areas recovered using the gifted native trees. Together, we can improve the next generations’ future”, explains Pedro Sousa, ‘Green Cork’ Coordinator.

“’Green Cork’ has the virtue of being the first cork stopper recycling program in the world, and has since served as an inspiration for many other initiatives. By using existing distribution circuits, the ‘Green Cork’ program's collection system does not increase CO2 emissions, making it possible, in parallel, for the funds raised to be used for the preservation of the Portuguese native forest. A project that we have been partners since its inception and which translates into an invaluable contribution to biodiversity and to the promotion of circular economy practices” adds Gisela Pires, Corporate Sustainability Coordinator at Corticeira Amorim.

The economic valuation of cork, in its various applications, allows the conservation of one of the world's biodiversity hotspots and a rural and traditional Portuguese culture linked to the cork oak forest. This noble material’s main application is cork stoppers, and the possibility of recycling it increases the environmental benefits associated with its use.

"Gathering corks is planting trees", has as main goals to collect corks and finance the planting of native trees through the ‘Floresta Comum’ (Common Forest) program. ‘Green Cork’ is a project that works in a cycle: from the tree comes cork, recycling gives new uses to cork that was previously in cork stoppers, and even allows new trees to be planted. What comes from nature goes back to nature.


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