UN Sustainable Development Goal

Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure


user photo Submitted by Jocelyn Jones
Date published: 9 Mar 2017

Borealis Wool Company

Matt Guertin, owner of Borealis Wool Company , created an innovation that motivates consumers to wear Merino wool clothing. This innovation uses Merino wool, which is a type of material that is an animal-based product and a highly renewable resource that is made with less pollution than a petroleum based product (i.e cotton). Merino Wool is renewable, sustainable, and biodegradable versus polyester or petroleum made based products. Matt explained that “Merino Wool has super incredible antibacterial properties so it doesn’t become infested with bacteria like every other fabric, allowing you only needing to wash it once every third or fourth time than you would typically wash another type of garment. 90% of the energy that is used in the life cycle of a typical shirt in the world is in the washing and the care, so on a global scale this Merino has a huge impact on how much energy is used to maintain it.” This innovation emerged with Matt being conscientious of how clothing products were being made. Matt explains that “I’m not trying to reinvent any wheel but more concerned about the values and conscious about “the process” itself”. The involvement of this creation is Matt himself, along with a small team of designers. Matt offered a lesser known fact that “the clothing manufacturing and fast- fashion industry is the second dirtiest industry in the world after petroleum. The amount of waste produced in the processing and the amount of waste produced simply from people just throwing out things that are immediately obsolete after the season they are worn which is staggering.” His mission is to help others become more self-sufficient in our own communities and more conscious about the impact of the products we use in the world and in our own communities. Matt explained the key values of his company as having a presence of local production, stating “In a market where the textile industry has completely vanished, there is a lot of efforts between myself and other companies within the community to build Minnesota back up into a textile producing center where we have the technologies, the capabilities, the capacities to produce goods and products that we use here locally. Trying to close that globalization chain by producing more localized products is important to him. Another key value is setting up micro economies by putting the means of product back into the hands of communities. He states that “many communities are disconnected from their supply chains and means of production and are alienated in all aspects, if you look at the modern world it’s like everyone is so specialized. They don’t know the process of manufacturing or production, nor knows where anything comes from.” Also, he explains that “the product itself is branded in such a way that our market, our niche, our customer is basically an individual that we are trying to push more and more in contact with the natural world by any means possible. We want to inspire people to know, love, witness, appreciate, and feel connected with nature.” Matt explained he feels most efficient and alive when he’s traveling out in the world and sees someone using his products. Twenty years from now, Matt describes his vision of a better world by stating “I would hope to see is a world in which people feel extremely alive and awake, and connected to the world around them and have also developed a level of connection and intimacy with the greater world and the natural world creating harmony”. His mission relates to a sense of sustainable development by creating and maintaining a socially conscious business that is attentive to climate action as well as industry, innovation, and infrastructure.