The cork oak is at the heart of BIRKENSTOCK NATURAL CARE. As with the original BIRKENSTOCK footbed, it is the central element. While the company has been working with cork as a raw material with great success for more than 240 years, scientists of the cosmetics industry have only recently discovered the remarkable anti-aging effects of the extract sourced from the bark layer of the cork oak.
The substance suberin is important in this context, as it gives cork exceptional elasticity, which is also what makes the BIRKENSTOCK cork and latex footbed so unique. Suberin has a proven skin-smoothing effect. The multi-active cork oak complex developed as a result reduces skin redness, stimulates collagen formation, and is effective against free radicals.
Studies have shown that cork oak has existed for some 60 million years. Natural and cultivated tree populations grow in the western Mediterranean, primarily in Portugal. Trees are first peeled once they are about 25 years old. For cosmetic applications, though, the first harvest is made only from the age of about 43 years old, as older cork is particularly rich in nutrients. From this point onward, the trees can be peeled at intervals of nine years for about a century and a half. Cork oak populations also act as an essential lung for the planet, as they are able to absorb a great deal of carbon dioxide, thereby helping to combat global warming.
For BIRKENSTOCK NATURAL CARE, it is important that the cork oak plantations are managed in an environmentally responsible manner, thus affording them long-term protection.