Forest Expansion Plans Support Cork Flooring’s

06 August 2008

Cork flooring’s exceptional sustainability story has received a further boost, after leading environmental group the WWF urged Portugal to expand its cork forests, in a bid to combat desertification caused by global warming.

Portugal is the world’s largest producer of cork used in wine bottles but the density of its forests has fallen in recent years, threatening increased desertification, as the dry hot climate of the south moves north.

Experts at the WWF have described cork trees as uniquely environmentally sustainable, with the potential to act as a barrier against desertification. The trees are not cut down, as their bark is harvested only once every nine years and their falling leaves help to retain water within the forests. The WWF has called for a 20 per cent expansion of existing cork forests and warned that failure to act could raise desertification levels to more than one kilometre per year.

Such exceptional sustainability credentials have stimulated a revival in cork flooring in recent times. The Portuguese Wicanders range, distributed by contract interiors specialist Gradus in the UK, is based on an inner cork core, finished with a choice of textured cork or wood veneer finishes, which provide the appearance of wooden flooring but using less timber.

The WWF report is good news for flooring contractors and specifiers, says Alan Joss, Sales and Marketing Director of Gradus Floorcoverings:

“The WWF’s recommendations highlight the superior environmental qualities of cork, which contractors can promote to the growing number of customers looking for sustainable flooring choices. The report also signals renewed investment in the cork industry and the proposed expansion will increase the availability of cork – the ability of cork trees to survive in an increasingly warmer environment will also ensure that the supply is sustainable.”

Naturally warm and comfortable underfoot, the Wicanders cork flooring range suits a variety of applications, from hospitality and healthcare to retail, residential and commercial office environments. Durable and easy to maintain, it also offers excellent sound absorption, thanks to cork’s unique structure.

Gradus offers Wicanders cork flooring in both domestic and contract qualities, in a choice of stick down or floating floor formats. For further information on Wicanders cork flooring from Gradus, contact Gradus Customer Support on 01625 428922.