“Planting trees to save the planet”: while this idea isn’t new, Ramo, a company in Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan, in Lanaudière, is putting this concept into practice on a large scale by planting willow trees to solve environmental problems. For this company, which is firmly committed to sustainable development, every action to promote the environment is an important one, and the move to renewable natural gas is consistent with that mindset.
Created in 2006, under the leadership of Francis Allard, co-founder and president of the company, Ramo is now a leader in plant technology and owns a 170-hectare nursery, the largest in North America.
Changing the world, one willow at a time
It was in 2006 that the idea of using this fast-growing tree sprouted: “I wanted to do something that would make a positive contribution to society,” Allard says. Alongside his father, he got started planting willows on a large portion of the land on the family farm. “I was already aware of the environmental issues at the time and was convinced that biomass could provide an answer to the ecological challenges we face.”
Phytotechnologies saving the environment
The gamble is risky, but over time and fuelled by his sense of curiosity and innovation, Francis Allard has developed various technologies around willows with the help of his team, including the restoration of degraded sites, reusing wastewater and residual materials, mulch production, noise barriers and fences using dried and stripped willow—a natural and aesthetically pleasing alternative to concrete or metal walls. “These solutions are part of the logic of a circular environmental economy, explains Allard. Planting willows on degraded sites helps clean up these sites, make the most of the resources contained in leachate (the liquid from rainwater percolating through waste) through the Evaplant technology developed by Ramo, capture and sequester carbon and ultimately create natural noise barriers with a low carbon, or even a carbon-negative footprint.”
As a part of their constant search for solutions to decarbonize the environment, Ramo has recently opted for renewable natural gas to heat its buildings. “Sustainable development is part of our DNA and renewable natural gas fits perfectly with our identity and values, Francis Allard mentions. More than an economic decision, choosing RNG is a policy decision.”