Canadian cleantech company leads by example on sustainability

“Always do what's right.”

These words are not just a mere slogan for Cypher Environmental; they are an encapsulation of the company’s entire philosophy for doing business. “Whether it's the products we produce, the inputs that go into making them or the results we strive to achieve, it's become a guiding principle to everything that we do”, says Cypher CEO Todd Burns.

Todd BurnTodd Burns, CEO of Cypher Environmental

The Winnipeg‑based cleantech company is a leading producer of environmentally friendly dust control and soil stabilization solutions that are used in a wide range of applications in sectors ranging from mining and infrastructure to construction and aviation. With its vision to eliminate the use of harmful chemicals on roads around the world, Cypher set its sights on global expansion and turned to the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) for help in expanding beyond Canada’s borders. Today, Cypher's products and solutions are sold in more than 50 countries, and the company continues to receive advice and support from both our regional office for Manitoba and Saskatchewan, located in Winnipeg, and from Trade Commissioners working farther afield, in offices around the world.

“The TCS provides immense value (to) get your foot in the door in a new market and learn the ins and outs of doing business there”, adds Burns. He points out that Trade Commissioners are "like our foot on the ground when we don't have our own presence” abroad and remarks on their “depth of knowledge” of the nuances of conducting business in the local market in which they are located.

Cypher has also benefitted from our presence and programming at various trade events. In March of 2023, Burns attended the annual convention of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) — the largest and most important mining event in the world. With mining a major focus of his company, Burns says being at PDAC is important for Cypher to “stay top of mind as a prominent name in the Canadian mining supply industry.”  PDAC is a mainstay on the company's event calendar with the company registered to attend again in 2024. Burns will be fully utilizing his time there to connect with current and potential new clients, as well as with the Trade Commissioner Service to leverage our business program and further advance his international business development plans.

Water truck Once it is mixed and ready, Cypher's product is applied using a water truck.

Water truck A road in use after the product application process.

At PDAC 2023, Burns had the chance to meet with Trade Commissioners based in Brazil, Chile, and Peru — key target countries for the company — who were helpful in providing guidance on possible solutions and assistance in connecting with new potential partners from those countries. He also took part in roundtables organized by the TCS in cooperation with the Mining Suppliers Trade Association (MSTA) Canada, which brought together buyers and senior officials from global mining projects with Canadian mining suppliers whose expertise and capabilities are well‑matched to the projects' technical needs. Burns notes that he made many “great connections” in those roundtable events.

He was able to build on those connections made at PDAC and continue discussions one month later with two visits to Chile. The first visit was part of a TCS-organized Canada Trade Mission to Chile from April 10 to 14, 2023, which focused on sustainable business opportunities in the country's cleantech sector. Thanks to a list of qualified and vetted contacts provided by our office in Santiago, Burns says he had a number of “highly productive meetings” during the trade mission, including meetings with most of the major mining operators in Chile.

Two weeks later, Burns returned to Chile to attend Expomin, the largest mining event in Latin America. While there, he took part in many meetings that were organized by our partner organization Export Development Canada. He also participated in a water stewardship panel discussion moderated by Gonzalo Munoz, a Trade Commissioner in Santiago responsible for mining and other sectors, and jointly organized by the TCS and MSTA Canada. The panel helped give Cypher great exposure in Chile’s mining sector, Burns says, and showcase “the huge impact we have had on reducing water consumption for our mining clients.”

All of that is paying off for Cypher. According to Burns, the company has landed a pilot project with Anglo American, and it is “all due to the exposure we’ve gained on the recent trips” to Chile. Burns also notes that it was essential to find a distributor in Chile to help his firm capitalize on all the opportunities in that country. He says Trade Commissioner Munoz has been “really helpful” in working with his company to assess both the Chilean market and potential partners that could promote Cypher in the country. “We’ve finalized an agreement with BAILAC, a large, well‑established mine supplier in Chile to represent us in mining, and E&A Errázuriz & Asociados, an engineering firm to represent us in other sectors, such as forestry, agriculture and construction/civil works.”

Cypher has also finalized an agreement with Ingeniería del Sur as their new distributor in neighbouring Peru, where Lima‑based Trade Commissioner Alexandra Laverdure, who's responsible for the mining sector, “has really helped us with respect to due diligence,” Burns says.

For Cypher, that due diligence includes finding potential new partners that share its core values of sustainability, environmental protection, and responsible business conduct. “Everything we do is focused on sustainability and cleantech,” Burns says. That’s why Cypher is striving to pave the way for other cleantech companies to follow in its footsteps and assist it in its vision of making the world a better place.

As for his company’s close working relationship with us, Burns sees that partnership continuing and encourages other businesses to reach out to Trade Commissioners for advice on how to expand globally. “I think more companies should be engaging at the same level that we do with the TCS,” he says. “We see the huge value in working with the TCS and we'll continue to champion the work that they do.”

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