BBC cork documentary flawed

cork, screwcap, supremecorq, amorim, bbc, PriceWaterhouseCoopers News Wine News
  • Wednesday 3 December 2008

A documentary that promotes the green credentials of the cork industry dodges the real issues in the closures debate, say a UK supermarket and a synthetic closure producer.

Scheduled to air 9 December on BBC2, Cork – Forest in a Bottle reports that natural cork is the green choice of closure and claims consumers have been misled about the damage screwcap and synthetic closures cause to the environment.

'The public have been denied the chance to be as environmentally friendly as they can be when it comes to cork,' said Paul Morrison, the documentary’s producer.

'We hope viewers will say "hang on a minute, we didn’t know plastics and screwcaps are polluting." It will allow the consumer to make an informed choice.'

However at least one alternative closures producer argues that the cork industry's drive to put environmental concerns at the top of the closures agenda is designed to detract from performance issues with natural cork.

'When you find yourself losing market share to newer technologies like screwcap and synthetics that have a fraction of the defects, you have to do what you can and focus on areas where you have an advantage,' said.Simon Waller, vice president of synthetic closure producer Supremecorq, told decanter.com in response to Morrison’s comments.

UK retailer Sainsbury's had a similar reaction.

'Environmental benefits are a consideration, but quality remains the most important factor in closure choice,' said Barry Dick, product technologist at UK retailer Sainsbury's.

'Natural cork has not yet been able to guarantee both good quality and environmental benefits.'

The film coincides with the release of a year-long study into the environmental impact of cork, plastic and aluminium screwcap stoppers by PricewaterhouseCoopers and commissioned by cork giant Amorim.

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