The Way Business should be…

New lifestyles in Milan…Urban Bike Messenger by Emma Berlese

Last year we featured contributions from the some of the best postgraduate students at Ca Foscari the University of Venice. This year we have more in the series. Often writing in their second language, giving their thoughts on sustainability, new innovative businesses and new designs for living. The first is by Emma Berlese.

In 1973 the German philosopher and economist E. F. Schumacher wrote

Talking about the future is useful only if it leads us to act in the present. And what can we do now, while we are still in a situation where ‘we have never been better’? […] We must  fully understand the problem and begin to examine the possibility of developing a new lifestyle, with new production methods and new consumption patterns: a new lifestyle
designed to last permanently


E.F.Schumacher, Small is Beautiful, 1973

This was the 70s but now many things are different and we are still looking for new concepts in living. What this crisis period is giving us is the strength to react, sustainability is no longer an option: it has become the only viable alternative.

Schumacher believed in small businesses and it is from small realities that, nowadays, people are starting to act and think sustainably This is proving how acting sustainable has lately become part of our common beliefs. We have started thinking about our impact in the world, from a wide range of issues such as plastic consumption to CO2 emissions. The most important thing is that we have begun acting in order to control our actions.

In-between the many small realties that are acting consciously or unconsciously together to have a better and greener planet, better said to create a new world; Italy is playing a central role with its huge number of very interesting initiatives. Among this, it is the Urban Bike Messengers (UBM). The idea came from a huge fan of cycling, who launched ‒ in Milan – an entrepreneurial project: a “city courier system” to deliver packages using only bicycles. This idea has been already present in some other big European city, but it was totally new for Italy. UBM was born in 2008 and, after a setting in period, it was able to deliver in any meteorological situation (thanks to special equipment offered by sponsors) and in a very short time: less then 4 hours. Packages up to 50x31x18 large and 5 kilos heavy can be delivered; nevertheless UBM is also starting providing means capable of carrying heavier weights. The emulative strength of this project has been impressive: in a very short time, in different part of the country, new courier by bike companies were born.

In overcrowded cities like Milan, bicycle is for sure the best solution in terms of delivering time and, of course, in terms of carbon footprint. Accordingly, this is perceived as a beautiful business by its customers: companies, publishers, universities and no profit organizations are willing to share their commitment to sustainability and say loudly: “I’m using UBM , I’m in!” We are experiencing the birth of a new lifestyle: something that is becoming as normal as breathing, something that, for its own feature, is designed to last permanently! UBM website:

Darren Hoad B.A (Hons.), M.A. M. Phil.
IEMA Certified Sustainability Practitioner CSR-P

Do you know you’re beautiful?

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This entry was posted on 02/12/2013 by .
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