CQC member companies have adopted a set of guidelines for sustainable business practices. Our model was based partially on the guidelines for wineries endorsed by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. We also borrowed on some cork related guidelines found in the European Cork Confederation’s Systecode and from our own CQC Quality Assurance Guidelines.
Natural cork is already one of the world’s most environmentally beneficial industrial products. The modern cork industry is recognized as a leading example of the employment of sustainable industrial practices, At the CQC our goals are to build on this performance and to address and improve the sustainable practices of our member companies here in the U.S. market.
The foremost category of the CQC Sustainability Guidelines covers Product Quality . This is the most important criteria for nearly any commercial sustainability program. Quality guidelines include numerous targets based on established CQC quality requirements, including screening results for TCA, moisture, dimensions and residual oxidants. Current CQC guidelines for chemical screening of TCA are based on a “flag level” of 1.5ppt – the most demanding acceptance level in the world’s cork industry. CQC members have led the industry in the reduction of TCA and have demonstrated an 80% reduction in taint levels since the inception of their screening protocol.
Guidelines for Energy Efficiency, Material Handling and Waste Reduction are similar to those endorsed by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.
Guidelines for Environmentally Preferred Purchasing specify that CQC members source their raw material from suppliers certified by the European Cork Confederation’s Systecode. This certification ensures that the CQC cork has been prepared by suppliers who employ "good manufacturing methods for cork stoppers". Systecode requires traceability and outlines quality measures from receipt of raw cork wood through the shipment of finished products.
Guidelines for Transportation ensure that the most energy efficient delivery methods are used to import corks and to ship finished corks to winery clients.