Cascade Range, WA. Photo: Pep Fujas (@pepfujas)
What is a B Corp™?
B Corps™ are businesses that meet extremely stringent standards in social and environmental responsibility, and transparency. Focusing on balancing profit with purpose, these businesses seek to improve elements of their operations that go far beyond their bottom line.
In order to get certified, a third party (B Lab) audits and verifies each element of a business’s operations, ranging from its mission and degree of transparency and engagement with its employees and community, to its supply chain and how well it manages its environmental impacts. We’re incredibly proud to be joining the ranks of businesses that have dedicated themselves to a higher standard of operation.
Why We’re Proud
First off, this certification supports our mission. Since we launched in July of 2019, we’ve existed to equip our community of backcountry explorers with better performing products, with materials derived from microalgae - a renewable resource. On behalf of every member of our team, it's an honor to be recognized for sticking to these goals.
Second, this is an incredibly rare achievement for a manufacturer of hardgoods to achieve this certification. While a number of outdoor apparel brands have successfully become B certified, WNDR Alpine is the first ever manufacturer of skis to achieve this certification (though it should be noted that Burton Snowboards received theirs back in 2019 - so good on ya, Burton!).
The reason for this is that the manufacturing of hardgoods is inherently a wasteful, impactful and petroleum-intensive process. By mass, traditional ski building involves nearly as much landfill waste as the final ski. Many manufacturers have very little visibility to their supply chains, much less control over them.
As we have discovered in our own journey, the best way to improve your supply chain is to create your own. It’s our hope that this move spurs the outdoor industry forward in adopting new resources and advancing beyond the industry's typical supply chains.
We set out to become our own supply chain - through algal polyol, algal polyurethane, and domestic manufacturing. Salt Lake City, UT. Photo: Pep Fujas (@pepfujas)
Our Efforts to Date
1. We create performance products as responsibly as possible.
Not only have we increased the biobased content of our products year to year, we’ve simultaneously improved their performance by doing so. The Algal Wall cast polyurethane sidewall improves damping and edge hold, and is optimized to shine in harsh winter conditions. We’re out to innovate with additional biobased materials and utilize them for a tangible benefit.
Our ski fabrication process seeks to reduce landfill waste whenever possible. In our production run of 20/21 skis, we eliminated roughly 1.6kg of waste per ski from the landfill.
Our Salt Lake City Design Lab runs on 100% renewable energy, via Rocky Mountain Power’s “Solar Subscriber” program and Dominion Energy’s “Green Therm” program.
2. We support our products' end of life.
A significant ongoing initiative in our Design Lab is the reincorporation of waste streams back into products. Whether through reclaimed manufacturing waste, or well-loved products, we work to utilize waste materials where we can. That’s why we offer a takeback program, in which we will refurbish lightly used skis and find them a new home, deconstruct them and re-use parts of the internal materials, or recycle components of the skis into useful products. In exchange, we offer skiers 20% off on a replacement pair. In all of these scenarios, we collect performance data from used skis, which in the long run, helps us make more durable products that retain their unique characteristics for longer.
There's no getting around it - ski building is an inherently wasteful process. Salt Lake City, UT. Photo: Carson Meyer (@carsonmeyerphoto)
3. We take care of our employees.
All of our employees receive a living wage and flexible paid time off, in hopes that they may take all possible opportunities to enjoy our beloved surroundings of the Wasatch Range. Additionally, we offer our employees access to free backcountry safety education programs and practice opportunities, led by local FOW (Friends of WNDR).
4. We support our community.
It’s our goal to empower all members of the WNDR Alpine community - whether through backcountry education programs, or simply by providing the opportunity for customers to come out and enjoy wild places with us. We don’t believe in separating ourselves from our customers; we all love to ski together and share in the enjoyment of the perfect line. If you’ve attended a WNDR Roost or Rendezvous event, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about.
Additionally, we support the local organizations that help to keep our community safe, including Park City Professional Ski Patrol, Wasatch Backcountry Rescue, Wasatch Backcountry Alliance, and the Utah Avalanche Center.
We want to ski with you! Cascade Range, WA. Photo: Dave Reddick (@davidreddick)
This Achievement Isn’t Static
Beyond any doubt, we’re proud of how far we come in such a short time. That said, the most powerful part of WNDR becoming B certified does not lie in our past achievements. Retaining this certification requires constant reporting on our metrics, with the goal of improving our positive impact as time goes on.
Just like our technology and product development process, this certification is iterative. We pledge to be better year by year, season by season, and wholeheartedly invite you to join us.