Cypher Environmental blazes trail to success Apr 2, 2024

By Jennifer McFee

A local Winnipeg company that offers eco-friendly road management solutions is leaving its competition in the dust.

Cypher Environmental provides clean-tech products for dust control and road stabilization that are biodegradable, non-corrosive and non-toxic.

The company’s fully proprietary concentrated liquid DUST/BLOKR® creates a semi-soluble blanket over the road’s surface that performs well in wet weather and requires less frequent reapplication than more commonly used but harmful road salts. The product is non-toxic, non-corrosive and fully biodegradable – this means that in addition to being eco-friendly, its use won’t corrode vehicles or other equipment.

Another popular product is the company’s ROAD//STABILIZR® which increases density and enhances stability of soil with high clay content.

Todd Burns

“One major reason we have so many road issues here in Manitoba is the massive volume of clay all over the province. Clay normally swells in the presence of water,” explains CEO Todd Burns. “We give you the ability to stabilize the locally available clays at a tiny fraction of the cost of traditional methods and build higher performance roads using clay sources as opposed to aggregate.”

These products have proven popular worldwide in the mining industry, as well as in forestry, aviation, and oil and gas sectors. Here in Canada, they have also been used by municipalities to treat rural unpaved roads.

Even with its global reach, the heart of the company remains in Winnipeg.

Manufacturing is locally based at a production plant on St. Matthews Avenue, which also includes its own soils lab for testing. From there, the award-winning company ships to about 50 countries worldwide.

This in-house approach proved essential during the pandemic when supply chain issues hindered production. Thanks to the team’s determination, they were able to tweak their formulas based on available materials.

“Differentiation is a huge factor in our success and growth. We had 175 per cent growth in 2019,” Burns says. “COVID slowed us down, but we’re back on that upwards growth curve. One major reason is because of the skill sets we employ.”

Beyond the bottom line, Burns focuses on giving back to communities through the Cypher Green Roads initiative, which was recognized as a Clean50 Top Project award winner in 2024. Closer to home, the company supports local organizations, including Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre, which is the charity of choice for their annual charity golf tournament, happening this year on September 17th at Glendale Golf & Country Club.

“Our tagline is ‘Always do what’s right.’ We’re firm believers in the 3 P’s and the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) concept, which is people, planet and then profit. Our focus is to try to make the world a better place,” Burns says.

“We’re also really focused on work-life balance and mindfulness. I have two young children who remind me of why we’re doing this — to create a better world for the generations to come.”

As another way to give back, Burns mentors other budding business owners.

“It’s really critical that young entrepreneurs find their inspiration and their motivation,” says Burns, who gleans inspiration from his family as well as Nelson Mandela and Johnny Clegg. “Companies also need to understand their market and value proposition, while offering a high level of proficiency and professionalism.”

At the same time, Burns points to support systems including Export Development Canada, Global Affairs Canada and the Trade Commissioner Service. “We’ve also done a lot of work with World Trade Centre Winnipeg,” he adds. “It’s been a great relationship.”

Looking ahead, Cypher Environmental is in the process of commercializing a non-corrosive, eco-friendly alternative to salt for de-icing, which will likely hit the market next year. In addition, the company plans to expand its production outside Manitoba with regional satellite plants.

“We will always maintain some manufacturing in Canada, to offset geopolitical risk of manufacturing outside of the country,” Burns says. “We’ll also be looking at mining-focused markets in the future such as Chile, South Africa and Australia, with a focus as well on Asia to leverage low-cost raw materials and easily accessible global shipping routes.”

For those who would like to learn more about Cypher Environmental, they can mark their calendars for an upcoming event. On April 17 from 4 to 6 p.m., World Trade Centre Winnipeg will host an event called WTC Talks at Shrugging Doctor Beverage Company, located at 483 Berry Street. The event will feature Todd Burns of Cypher Environmental, as well as Mick Lautt of Scimar Ltd.

Tickets for WTC Talks cost $10 each – get them here!

WTC Talks. April 17, 2024. Register.

To learn more about Cypher Environmental, visit

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