Cork in the Palm of Your Hand
Innovate to grow is the motto that has led APCOR to promote and encourage innovation and development as success factors of the sector and, consequently, of companies. Through partnerships with research centres, companies, schools and universities, and other associations, APCOR develops projects in various areas, with a particular focus on the discovery of new applications. Knowledge of the cork oak tree, and cork, has prompted new areas of research that are mobilizing multidisciplinary teams, that have generated knowledge and practices which are being implemented by agents in the industry.
APCOR offers its members a range of services in various areas: Legal Support, specifically in relation to labour issues and labour law, Industrial Licensing and Support in the areas of Environment, Health, Hygiene and Safety in the Workplace with emphasis on the necessary monitoring and inspections, and Economic and Fiscal support, with emphasis on information about projects and sources of public support.
It organizes workshops, seminars and conferences on various topics, two highlights in the calendar being the Annual Cork Gala and the Christmas Dinner.
APCOR offers its facilities for private events of its members. To meet the needs of its members, the association also has a range of agreements with different entities that provide advantageous conditions for companies in the sector. These include agreements in the areas of Banking, Insurance, Consultancy, Accommodations, Cork Industry Suppliers, among others.
APCOR collects, manages and publishes all the knowledge that is produced on cork and its products. It assumes the role of information centre for the cork sector. It has a library and a media library, a website, accessible at www.apcor.pt and www.realcork.org, a photo library and an archive of national and international articles on cork and related industries. It produces a news bulletin – APCOR News, a Statistical Bulletin, and brochures and leaflets on cork and its products. It also has partnerships with communication media, in which it announces the latest industry news, such as the extinct newspaper Diário Económico and has established close ties with the regional, national and international media, whether through visits to the sector or by sending information.
APCOR prepares analytical and prospective sector studies and studies on consumer preferences. It also collaborates with other entities in more generic works on the cork industry or the forestry industry.
Promotion and internationalisation
Each year, actions are carried out to promote and raise awareness of cork, through various national and international initiatives: campaigns, seminars, workshops, congresses, and various other events. Its projects are developed in partnership with public authorities, but the support of its members, and its partner companies and associations in various countries, are fundamental for affirming cork as a product of excellence.
The voice of cork has reached several continents (Europe, Asia, America and Oceania) and the recognition of cork as a product of excellence worldwide has the APCOR seal of approval.
The association also provide the Cork Welcome Center – an information center about cork, from forest to final products – and the Cork Experience Tour – organized visits to cork companies in laboration.
Innovation and Development
“Innovate to grow” is the motto that has led APCOR to promote and to encourage innovation and development as factors of the success of the sector, and consequently, for companies. Through partnerships with research centres, companies, other associations, schools and universities, it develops projects covering various areas, with particular focus on the discovery of new applications for cork.
Knowledge of the cork oak tree, and cork, has prompted new areas of research that are mobilizing multidisciplinary teams, and have generated knowledge and practices that are being implemented by agents in the industry.
Investments in professional training are an ongoing concern. The Professional Training Centre for the Cork Industry (Cincork), based in Santa Maria de Lamas, plays a fundamental role in this respect. It is an entity with an official agreement between APCOR and the Portuguese State, through the Institute of Employment and Vocational Training.
In partnership with the European Cork Confederation (CELiège), APCOR promotes, advertises and supports the implementation of the International Code of Cork Stopper Manufacturing Practices and the respective system of quality: Systecode. Companies are audited annually by an external entity, to ensure that they comply with the requirements of the system. In Portugal, Systecode has been implemented in around 300 companies.
APCOR plays an active role in promoting various quality management systems of interest to the industry, especially forest certification.
APCOR is the Sector Standardization Body, streamlining the work of the Technical Commission on Standardization in the field of cork and respective subcommittees. This work is carried out in partnership with the Portuguese Quality Institute with the aim of analysing, improving and updating the standards to meet the most exacting demands of customers and consumers in the industry. A Standardization Guide (Only in Portuguese) was created for the cork sector, which lists the standards in use.
APCOR represents the cork industry in negotiations of Collective Labour Conventions with the Trade Unions, seeking to promote the competitive development enterprises and improve the socioeconomic conditions of their workers. It promotes meetings between the Board of Directors of APCOR and the various Trade Unions, in order to reach a consensus on various labour issues determined by successive amendments to the national legal framework.
Cooperation between organizations in the cork sector and related sectors is another goal of APCOR. Through this cooperation, APCOR, in an official agreement with the Institute of Employment and Vocational Training (Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional – IEFP) founded the Training Centre for the Cork Industry (Cincork), which has a diverse offer that is focused on the needs of the sector.
APCOR is a founding member of the Cork Technology Centre (Ctcor), a centre of competence and research laboratory in several areas. It is also a member of the European Cork Confederation (C.E. Liege) – an organization that brings together the various associations linked to the cork industry in different countries.
The cross-promotion of cork with other Portuguese products, such as wine and olive oil, or the development of activities related to the forest, the environment, design and new applications, have led APCOR to establish collaborative partnerships with a number of national and international entities.