Throughout its history, the Network has approached the defense of the cork sector from multiple strategic lines. With the aim of offering a global vision, we have organized this information by annuities:
The Network continues with its work to promote the cork territories and the culture associated with the activity of this sector on a patrimonial, economic and social level. To this end, its representatives have attended events and presentations such as the Taps de Finca project, exhibitions and conferences in its member municipalities such as Tordera, Palafrugell or Llagostera; international events such as the Feira Internacional da Cortiça, the Feira de Agosto or VIVEXPO Cork Biennial. For example, at the Cassà de la Selva Cork Fair, the Network organized a debate on the valorization of the cork oak forest as a tourist resource, comparing and learning about tourist experiences in Portugal and Spain.
These actions at the local or regional level are very necessary since they are able to reach a specific public, aware of the environment and thus discover how, in their daily activity, they can collaborate and promote a sector that respects the environment and that generates wealth, culture and socioeconomic development in the territories where it is established.
In this sense, it is worth highlighting at an academic level, the lecture given by RETECORK at the Girona Faculty of Tourism, within the framework of the WINTOUR European Master, organized by the Faculty of Oenology of the Rovira i Virgili University, where 50 students of up to 20 Different countries discovered the richness of this unique Mediterranean ecosystem and what its strengths are in relation to nature tourism and wine tourism.
Of course, throughout the year, the Network has continued working to maintain and create synergies with the wine sector, attracting possible financing for the development of projects at national and international level, and attended all kinds of events focused on the eco design, conferences on cork, bioeconomy and adaptation to climate change, more linked to the forestry sector, etc.
In 2017, RETECORK intensified its dedication to preparing an application for the Interreg SUDOE call, with the aim of presenting a tourism development project for the cork territories in order to be able to extend the work carried out in Spanish territory through National calls for the entire Network. Unfortunately, a stable consortium of partners could not be formed due to lack of commitment from a French entity or municipality.
On the other hand, the Network continued with its work of publicizing the uniqueness of the sector and the material by participating in sectorial events at an international level such as FICOR, in Coruche, the Fira del Tap, in Cassà de la Selva, the Feira de Agosto, in Grândola, the Feira da Luz / Expomor, in Montemor-o-Novo, or the Journée Annuelle du Liège, in Vivès, where the Cork Oak Silviculture Guide was presented.
Likewise, RETECORK was present in events of the wine sector such as the III Edition of the Wine Tourism Night or the inauguration of the new facilities of Vins i Licors Grau, in order to strengthen ties and seek a direct link in the food and wine routes with the cork sector and strengthen alliances. Finally, at the end of the year, the collaboration with the Degree in Product Design at the University of Deusto was established.
After previous conferences by RETECORK and the Catalan Cork Institute, the students of this degree designed and developed a product or prototype based on the different formats in which we can find cork, under the theme of products limited to home: technological curtains, solutions for tableware and drink containers, indoor and outdoor furniture, houses and games for animals and even nightlights and play rooms for the little ones.
During 2016, the Network has participated and attended different events related to the cork sector, seen from different perspectives, but which together are valuable to publicize this material and its multiple uses and potential.
At an international level, we highlight the participation and assistance of the Network through its promotional stand and informative material at sector fairs such as FICOR, the International Cork Fair in San Vicente de Alcántara or in Coruche, Portugal. Likewise, the University of Évora held the World Congress Silvo-Pastoral Systems and attendees were able to get to know the cork landscape of the Iberian Peninsula up close through our photographic exhibition Cork Landscape. Mediterranean. Diverse.
Another notable event is VIVEXPO, held in Vivès (France) and that each edition brings together experts from Algeria, Spain, France, Italy, Morocco, Portugal and Tunisia, and this year its theme focused on what is the economy we want for our cork oak forests.
On the other hand, and regarding the tourism promotion of the cork territories, this year the launch of From Bark to Bottle was vital, a project promoted by the American foundation Cork Forest Conservation Alliance, with the collaboration of the tour operator Two Birds One Stone, whose objective is to annually transfer 40 North American visitors to make an immersion in different cork territories of Spain, thus discovering a unique and rich culture. During the month of June, the first groups of visitors arrived.
Likewise, on a more local scale, the Cork Route has also been carried out, which links municipalities such as Maureillas-Las Illas, Agullana, Palafrugell and Cassà de la Selva; and at the same time, in each of these municipalities, there is also an urban cork route to make visitors aware of the heritage associated with this activity.
Regarding design in the cork sector, the Network has participated in the Eco design and Eco innovation workshop, organized by the Catalan Cork Institute and with the collaboration of AECORK, the CUD Zaragoza University, Inèdit-Innovació SL, Sostenipra, ICTA and the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Contact has also been maintained with the International Relations and Business Development area of ELISAVA, the Barcelona University School of Design and Engineering; and we also highlight the attendance at the delivery of the Entrepreneurship Award – Business Idea with Cork, where new sustainable construction solutions, decorative objects, kitchen utensils, educational toys were discovered…
Finally, our great partner, the wine sector. In this area, the Network has attended various events such as the D.O. Empordà, within the framework of the Vívid Festival; the XXI Wine and Cava Contest of Catalonia – Giroví; or the XIV Symposium of the Association of Wine Museums of Spain, under the title “On the peripheries of the World of Wine.”
Throughout 2015, but most especially in the first quarter, the Network, with the support of the Biodiversity Foundation of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment, set about raising awareness of and promoting the CORKLANDTOUR. Cork, Landscape & Tourism. An Appreciation of the Corklands, an assessment of their potential to the tourist industry project, the campaign to make known the rich natural beauty of the corkland areas has engaged tour operators from all over Europe and has led to an online platform, Discovering the Corklands, showcasing more than thirty tourist products.
In the same vein, RETECORK has continued to attract new members and stimulate the interest of those within its ranks. Municipal elections took place in Spain in May 2015 and visits were made to all the localities where local governments had changed by representatives of the Network in person. They were able to lay the foundations of future cooperation by spreading the word about the role of RETECORK within the sector.
The Network has taken part in trade fairs, conferences and congresses, at both local and international level. Particularly worthy of comment, the IV Mediterranean Forest Week, which was held in the city of Barcelona; FITUR, the International Tourist Trade Fair, in Madrid; or the International Congress “O Montado de sobro e o setor corticeiro: uma perspetiva histórica e transdisciplinar” at Ponte de Sor in Portugal, to mention just a few.
With the regard to the marriage of cork and wine, RETECORK is well aware of the great potential of this union and the opportunities to promote tourist developments, for instance, through increased collaboration. Apart from local events like the Giroví competition, therefore, RETECORK has forged links with bodies such as the Portuguese Association of Wine Producing Boroughs, and taken a keen interest in the activities showcased in the European Wine City of 2015, held in Reguengos de Monsaraz, in Portugal.
On a final note, and looking to the future of the Network, the nomination of the project ERASMUS+ has been strengthened, meetings have been held with entities like INALENTEJO or the Catalonian Government that are concerned with tourism; and the Innovation in Rural Development Days organized by the Rural National Network and the Directorate General of Rural Development and Foresty Policy have provided opportunities for dialogue. Perhaps the most important, though, is the presentation of the SUBER_ECOTOUR project at the November session of INTERREG SUDOE.
Throughout 2014 RETECORK has concentrated its efforts on the activities included within the framework of the CORKLANDTOUR. Cork, Landscape & Tourism. An Appreciation of the Corklands, an assessment of their potential to the tourist industry project, with the support of the Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment.
As it is a national project, work has only been carried out in Spain; nevertheless, the Network has continued to make itself known by means of presentations, official acts and fairs and building up membership in the other member countries: Portugal, Italy and France.
In the coming years the Network intends to extend the work already done on a national level to all the other corkland territories in Europe.
The activities that have been developed along the strategic lines of the Project have been set out below, for more information do not hesitate to contact Discovering the corklands.
Assessment of initial situation: identifying resources and potential tourist infrastructures.
Thanks to previous projects RETECORK already had general information about the boroughs in the Network, including an inventory of all the protected spaces and nature reserves in Spain and a brief account of the visitor centres that devote space to the theme of the cork oak and its products.
To achieve the main objective of the CORKLANDTOUR project, and set out the main features of tourist interest of the participating corkland areas, the documentary information was updated, reworked and put together in such a way as to make it attractive, easy to read and accessible in the tourist formats that were going to be used.
There are currently 16 files on the boroughs, 24 on Nature Reserves and 7 on visitor centres.
Workshops to raise awareness and train those involved in working in corkland areas or connected with tourism there.
The CORKLANDTOUR project has generated participation in a number of meetings and events in which the project itself, its progress and results, have been presented to tourist professionals and others working in the corkland areas.
We can single out taking part in the International Cork Oak Forest and Cork Sector Conference, organized by the Biodiversity Foundation; in Jerez, European City of Wine or the Wine Tourism in Portugal/Brazil Fair held in Lisbon; also worthy of mention was the International Nature and Rural Tourism Congress that took place in Granada.
Provision of support in developing tourist products in the different corkland areas.
The aim of this initiative is to ensure that tourism professionals know about the project and get involved by creating specific tourist products. Accordingly, workshops have been held with providers of accommodation, catering and tourist activities giving useful guidance about developing tourist offers suitable for the national and European markets.
Development of a promotional campaign centred on the Corklands.
This has been central to the CORKLANDTOUR project and aims to provide a platform of tourist information material about the corkland areas.
A system of promotional material has been designed and includes: an edition of off-line material to set up links with tour operators and professionals, an edition of leaflets to distribute among the public, and the design of a platform containing information of interest for both for the general public and tourism professionals.
Contact has therefore been made and the corklands have been presented to private and public sector professionals in the tourism sector in Spain, France, The United Kingdom, Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium.
Promotional Material within the framework of the CORKLANDTOUR project.
In order to reach the target range of interested parties (national and European tour operators, specialized media, public and private tourist information officers, and potential visitors), the Network has produced explanatory and promotional material about the corklands and the project itself, most of which is available in 7 languages: professional dossier and explanatory leaflet, usb report, press releases, and, of prime importance, the new online platform.
During 2013, the network has continued with the task of recruiting members and making institutional contacts. We would highlight the importance of this work, taking into account the fact that in mid-April there was a change in the governing bodies of the network, and the municipality of Coruche (Portugal) took over the presidency of the Executive Committee and the municipality of San Vicente de Alcántara (Spain), the General Assembly.
Of all the contacts made, we would particularly mention two meetings with the Ministry of the Environment of the Andalusian government to strengthen links and talk about possible future collaboration; the meeting with Dr. Martí Boada, a member of the evaluating committee of UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserves, with RETECORK’s intention that this institution should declare cork oak groves to be World Heritage; and the attendance at the presentation of the projects selected by the Fundación Biodiversidad in its most recent call, on behalf of the project CORKLANDTOUR. CORK, LANDSCAPE & TOURISM, which will be developed in 2014.
In 2013, as part of the Cork-Producing Territories project, jointly funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment and the EAFRD (the European Agricultural Fund for Role Development), RETECORK has been present in events held all over the Spanish cork-producing geography.
We would mention the fact that participatory workshops were carried out in various cork-producing municipalities with the aim that the social and economic agents and the administrations should look for new lines of work and sustainable exploitation of cork-producing territories, for example nature tourism.
In addition, the Network has participated in conferences such as La Mujer y el Corcho: asignatura pendiente in San José del Valle, Corcho Virgen del Alcornocal in Cortes de la Frontera, the V Jornadas Gastronómicas y Agroalimentarias “Parque Natural Tajo Internacional”, and attended the I Congreso Ibérico de la Dehesa y el Montado in Badajoz. We would also mention RETECORK’s participation in the organisation of the 2nd Meeting of Cork-Producing Museums and Interpretation Centres and the XI Festa de la Pela in Llofriu, Palafrugell.
Finally, apart from the Cork-Producing Territories project, the Network has attended events in Portugal and France, as well as the 3rd Mediterranean Forest Week, held in Tlemcen, Algeria.
This year, RETECORK has collaborated with various associations to promote campaigns in favour of cork stoppers and recycling cork stoppers. This was done through signing agreements, such as one with the Vallformosa Wine Cellar, the Fundación VIMAR and CETEX, the Business Tourism Confederation of Extremadura, or through attending trade fairs and events such as ENOMAQ in Zaragoza and the closure of the El corcho preserva lo bueno campaign in Madrid.
In addition, during this period, we have continued working on the publication and updating of disseminating material, such as the manual for creating tourist products in cork-producing territory, the Young Cork Design leaflet, the fold up Municipios Corcheros, the Más allá del tapón catalogue or the story, El extraño caso del alcornocal misterioso; not forgetting a series of studies and reports of a more technical nature.
During 2012 and after the changes as a result of the most recent general elections, the work of the network intensified to recompose political alliances and so that the governing bodies could get to know and to take into account cork-producing territories.
In addition to meetings with deputies and senators at a state level and direct contact with associations in the sector and related to it, we would highlight two meetings and the repercussions that they could have at a European level: the first of them took place with Joana Agudo, a member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), who stated that this body is evaluating the documentation on the decision that the European Parliament and Council must approve regarding the new uses of land and its emissions and in which, for the moment, cork oak forests are not listed as a specific ecosystem; thus opening a line of work for the Network. The second meeting was with the Euro MP, Ramon Tremosa, who expressed his availability and commitment to the sector but urged those who attended the meeting to forge a close collaborative, working relationship.
This year, the most noteworthy event with regard to other associations and/or companies is the collaboration agreement signed between RETECORK, Miquel Alimentació Grup and ICTA. On the initiative of the Miquel Alimentació Grup, it has been possible to launch a campaign in Spain on the recycling of cork stoppers as well as to carry out five forest initiatives in certain cork forests in Spain.
In addition to the Network’s participation in seminars, courses, media events and so on, we would highlight the second edition of the CorkLab, a training workshop in the context of the Master’s in Design and Architecture at ELISAVA, as well as the presentation of the publication CorkLab 2011 in La Pedrera in Barcelona.
RETECORK has continued with its task involving studies and reports as well as promoting campaigns in favour of cork stoppers, with particular mention of its presence at FITUR 2012, through the Cork Territories project and others in the international area.
During the last year, RETECORK has continued working on the publication and constant updating of material linked to the Network, on promotion campaigns in favour of the use of cork stoppers, on the travelling exhibition and catalogue Cork Landscape. Mediterranean. Miscellaneous, the CorkLab publication, on experiences in design and architecture with cork and its own website.
Throughout 2011, RETECORK has kept in contact with representatives of the various political groups of the Spanish parliament, the European Parliament, the Catalan parliament and the Andalusian parliament.
Through this permanent contact with political representatives, we would highlight three of the most significant events for the cork sector and, particularly, for the network: the meeting in Coruche, as part of FICOR, with representatives of the European Parliament’s Committee of Agriculture and the Environment; the interview between André Bordaneil, the mayor of Maureillas-las-Illas, and Ms. Sanchez Schmid, member of the European Parliament; and the proposals for resolution and amendments to the cork sector approved by the Committee of Enterprise and Employment of the Catalan parliament.
RETECORK has been in contact and collaborated with companies and associations of a very diverse nature such as the European Network of Wine Cities – RECEVIN, the Denomination of Origin Ribera del Guadiana, the University of Extremadura and the shopping area group, Miquel Alimentació. Most of these contacts have led to a working relationship and these companies’ commitment to cork.
We would also highlight the organisation and participation of the Network at trade fairs, courses, conferences and so on, both nationally and internationally, which have given good results in terms of awareness in the mass media.
During 2011, we continued sponsoring campaigns for promoting wine closed with cork stoppers and recycling cork stoppers, as well as developing diverse studies and reports, all through the pilot scheme Cork Territories, jointly funded by the Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Maritime Environment and the FEADER.
As part of the RETECORK, European Network of Cork-Producing Territories, an instrument for sustainable development in rural areas project, which ended on 31 January 2011 and received the collaboration of the Fundación Biodiversidad, we have worked on the design and publication of new RETECORK material and of the campaigns that are currently running.
Thanks to the project Cork-Producing Territories. Cork and Cork-producing landscape as a base for sustainable development in rural areas, jointly funded by the Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Maritime Environment and the FEADER, we have also prepared graphic material for the Network.
During 2010, RETECORK maintains contact with representatives of the different political groups at the state level and presents the Network through meetings and appearances before the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade, the Ministry of Science and Innovation, the Commission for the Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries of the Senate, the Department of Environment and Housing of the Generalitat of Catalonia, etc. On the other hand, it is making progress in the preparations for the pilot project Cork Territories and maintains contact through visits with the municipalities and member entities of RETECORK and possible new additions to the Network.
It is presented to companies and associations such as Cavas Recaredo, Cavas Vilarnau, the Empordà DO, the Sant Celoni Merchants Association, the Union of Spanish Sommelier Associations, the Sommelier Academy and Sommelier Masters of Spain, etc. It should be noted that most of these contacts have served to establish a close bond and the commitment of these entities with cork. On the other hand, the Network has attended and participated in events such as round tables, conferences, national and international presentations, and has strengthened its relationship with specialized media in tourism, the environment and cork.
Always wines covered with cork and RECICORK, natural recycling, the two campaigns that the Network has been promoting have been implemented in municipalities such as Pals, Eslida, San Vicente de Alcántara, Palafrugell, Los Barrios, Sant Celoni, Navahermosa, Muelas del Pan… and companies such as Vins i Licors Grau and the Hotel Novotel have joined the campaigns.
Within the framework of the RETECORK project, the European Network of Cork Territories, an instrument for sustainable development in rural areas, which received the collaboration of the Biodiversity Foundation, work was carried out on the design and editing of new RETECORK material and the campaigns that are being carried out.
Throughout 2009, RETECORK’s interaction with representatives of the different political groups at the level of the Spanish Parliament, European Parliament and Parliament of Catalonia intensified, as well as the Network was presented to the Industry Commission of the Spanish Senate and in the Congress of the Deputies. These presentations are also repeated internationally as in the Senate of Italy, in the Permanent Commission of Agricoltura e Produzione Agroalimantare.
Vins i Licors Grau is committed to the cork stopper by signing a collaboration agreement with RETECORK and the Catalan Cork Institute.
The Network publishes a corporate stand available to members and participates in national and international events such as FILDA and FICOR in Portugal, VINITALY in Italy, Al Gusto in Bilbao and through conferences or round tables at the I Iberian Congress of Biology and Society in Badajoz or the I Meeting of Cork Natural Spaces in Palafrugell.
On the other hand, the notification is received that the Biodiversity Foundation approves the RETECORK, European Network of Cork-Producing Territories, an instrument for sustainable development in rural areas project.
The Network was presented to organisms and bodies during visits to municipalities. Contact with Spanish members of parliament began, as did participation in European programmes. On the other hand, the corporate image of RETECORK was created and one highlight was the grant from Girona Regional Council for pilot promotion campaigns of cork stoppers and cork recycling.
In 2008 RETECORK took part in VIVEXPO in France and in the sul Sughero Seminar in Italy.
The European Network of Cork Territories – RETECORK was formed, initially with 23 associates from Spain, Portugal, Italy and France. The Network was formed with the objective of creating, from local administration and for the socio-economic development of towns, a platform for knowledge, promotion and development of the culture of cork, with representatives from the communities traditionally linked to its production, transformation and marketing.
In October 2006 the first meeting of cork territories was held in Palafrugell with 46 delegates and 11 speakers taking part. The Charter of Palafrugell was approved, which promotes the creation of a Europe-wide Association of Cork Territories.