Why cork is sustainable
Nowadays as consumers, we have a plethora of choice when opting for more sustainable materials and accessories. Cork handbags are one of the sustainable options which comes with reasonable price tag.
Working with Cork is an ancestral practice in the Mediterranean basin and more specifically in the Iberian Peninsula which encompasses Spain and Portugal but also southern France, and Northern Africa.
There it is a traditional art and craft passed onto many generations. Portugal is by far, the leader in terms of worldwide production due to its pristine cork forest.
Cork is the outer layer of bark coming from the Oak tree (Quercus Suber) and harvested every 9 years in slow fashion - meaning by hand. In Portugal, Cork forests are a highly regulated eco-system where machineries during harvesting are not permitted.
The first set of laws protecting these forests in Portugal date back 1209. At the time Cork was used in houses for its isolating properties. However use of this material has been found in Egypt, Persia and Babylon around 5000 years ago.
The Oak Tree can live up to 300 years and grow 20 meters high. The outer layer is collected by hand then layers of bark are steamed and compressed to make up a thin fabric which in turns will become handbags.
The treatment of the cork fabric is therefore chemical-free.
Contrary to other species of trees, removing the outer layer of bark of the Oak tree is not harming, it is actually shedding it naturally and helps the tree to boost its CO2 absorption - mainly caused by human-emissions.
A 10-year study by the University of Birmingham, published on 4 October 2021 shows that "Mature oak trees will increase their rate of photosynthesis by up to a third in response to the raised CO2 levels expected to be the world average by about 2050".
Although there is no miracle cure to face our climate crisis, we believe that every step toward educating consumers and encouraging more sustainable practices is a small step toward bigger long-term change and that is why we love our cork bags so much.