The award winning brand is demonstrating the future of performance materials and the possibilities unlocked by Checkerspot, Inc’s vertically integrated innovation platform enabled by biotechnology
“When we launched WNDR Alpine in 2019, we set out to create the highest performing equipment to push the boundaries of what’s possible for backcountry travel and our community more broadly, but also to make strides toward a more responsible way to build products,” said Matt Sterbenz, GM of Wintersports at Checkerspot. “Novel materials and production techniques can benefit the alpinist and the environment. Our goal at Checkerspot is to make these new materials and manufacturing innovations accessible, and through the brand, attract others in the outdoor space to join us in a new standard of environmental responsibility.”
The certification process uses credible, comprehensive, transparent, and independent standards to measure performance in areas of governance, workers, community, and the environment. The team has worked hard to reduce waste specifically in the local fabrication of its skis.
Key innovations highlighted in earning this certification:
- Novel biomanufactured oil is produced by microalgae and synthesized to performance urethanes.
- Checkerspot’s innovation platform spans from biotechnology, materials science, and fabrication (prototyping) of parts and finished products. This vertical integration enables cost-effective, rapid iteration locally, and lessens the need for complex supply chains that are costly and more energy intensive.
- New fabrication processes and eliminating roughly two pounds (0.9 kilograms) of landfill input per ski relative to traditional ski building techniques.
- 100% renewable energy at Checkerspot’s Salt Lake City Design Lab, through Rocky Mountain Power’s Subscriber Solar Program and Dominion Energy’s GreenTherm Program.
“We have a vision of empowerment – to create new sustainable performance materials and to put them into the hands of innovators. To do this requires a community willing to think differently and step forward into a post petroleum future. We are so proud to be a part of the B Corp™ community of companies who are committed to realizing a more sustainable future,” said Charles Dimmler, CEO and co-founder of Checkerspot. “The 20th century was defined by the industrial revolution and growing consumerism, the foundation of which continues to be petroleum and other commodity oils. In the 21st century, biotechnology has unlocked our ability to biomanufacture at large scale other natural oils with unique chemistries never before available in large quantities. Through our products, such as those available at WNDR Alpine, we have just begun to demonstrate why this is important: unique, novel oils enable us to engineer better performing products designed for their specific application. The fact that we are also leveraging a more sustainable approach will one day become the global norm.”
In the coming season, all of WNDR® Alpine’s skis will proudly display the B Corp™ logo.
Checkerspot designs performance materials at a molecular level. It does this by optimizing microbes to biomanufacture unique structural oils produced in nature, but not previously accessible at commercial scale. The company is currently commercializing three materials: a light-weight urethane-based composite (Algal Core) and a cast urethane (Algal Wall), both commercialized initially through the brand WNDR® Alpine, as well as algal oil formulated into MiDori® BioWick and sold in partnership with Beyond Surface Technologies to clothing brands worldwide. Checkerspot empowers product designers and innovators, including Beyond Surface Technologies, Gore and WNDR Alpine, with better materials to develop improved consumer and B2B applications for a post-petroleum future.
About B Lab®
B Lab is a nonprofit that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good™. Their initiatives include B Corp™ Certification, administration of the B Impact Management programs, and advocacy for governance structures like the benefit corporation. B Lab’s vision is of an inclusive and sustainable economy that creates a shared prosperity for all.
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