Recent claims have been made that “Natural cork closures can offset the CO2 emissions from glass bottle manufacture”. According to the CSIRO, the underlying calculations are not in line with existing carbon footprint and LCA protocols and standards.
In a recent report “Accounting for carbon storage in footprint calculations”, CSIRO established that these claims are likely to be invalid. While there is reference to the European Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) for still and sparkling wine, this PEFCR is out of step with e.g. ISO 14067:2018 and PAS 2050, as well as, interestingly, with the most recent overarching PEF guidance methodology. The PEFCR Wine will continue to have validity in the European PEF context until December 2021, despite including carbon storage in living biomass in the climate change indicator. Moreover, it is unlikely that these PEFCR Wine rules for assessing carbon storage have been applied appropriately, considering the full cycle of cork oak systems and the multifunctionality of those systems. The claims made regarding the carbon footprint of cork lack clarity about scope and system boundaries of the underlying analysis, which is not publicly available. Several communications by the cork industry are suggestive and not in line with ISO14026:2017 that says that footprint communications should “be unlikely to result in misinterpretation”.
For further information or to access a copy of the CSIRO report email Maartje Sevenster (Maartje.Sevenster@csiro.au).