This company with its headquarters in the centre of Nantes, has since over 20 years worked on implementation of Nature based Solutions. The founder of Phytolab is an arborist who commits to integrate NBS in traditional landscaping. The vision of the company is to connect urban planning and nature in the most sustainable ways. This means a focus on landscaping whereby solely native trees and plants are selected, which in turn are suited for the soil and other local conditions. By adopting these so-called methods of biomimicry; biodiversity is enhanced , maintenance time and costs are reduced and ecosystems are maintained. Phytolab is also known for its practices of engaging relevant local stakeholders including citizens in the overall project; from planning to implementation and after-care of the landscaping. Among their projects, the first green roof in Nantes covering a parking building stands out as an excellent example of the works of Phytolab. In this project the designers went all the way and collected seeds suitable for the soil on the roof and cultivated a flora of suitable local plants, instead of sourcing seedlings from nurseries. The process of the Phytolab landscaping activities is time consuming as every project targets the highest level of sustainability for nature as well as for and by people.
Target group and ambitions:
Almost all of the projects by Phytolab have their base in France; only two projects are located in other countries; one in Luxemburg and one in Switzerland. The clients of the company mainly consist of municipalities and regions. Phytolab has also participated as a partner in several projects co-funded by the European Commission. Some of the clients are private consortia whereby a number of private companies join hands with public authorities in so-called private-public partnerships. The ambition of Phytola is to continue to improve its methods by engaging in research and learn more regarding practices for sustainability.
Traditional for-profit model. Phytolab is a service company and charges its clients for services provided. The organisation has approximately 20 staff who are on a full time payroll. When projects are very large or demanding Phytolab increases its human resources with additional project related experts on a temporary basis. The aim is however, not to maximise the profits for the shareholders but to continue its path of sustainability in order to secure sound finances for the company and its staff, engaged experts and subcontractors. Further the Phytolab highly emphasises the importance of research, capacity building and continuous training for its staff.
Environmental challenges, social and solidarity economy:
The management of Phytolab cherishes sustainability in all its operations from A-Z and puts focus on value generation in regard to environmental aspects. The future aim is increse measurement and validation of the environmental and social values so as to provide additional evidence on the quantification.