Very often I visit businesses in our city that are sometimes iconic, perhaps successful and occasionally ethically sustainable. However, rarely do they tick all three boxes!
(That said, with Norwich City Council’s growing partnership with social enterprises, it’s a welcome and growing trend. See more here: https://www.socialenterprise.org.uk/existing-places/norwich/ )
Time to step up Beryl Bikes & scooters. You cannot have missed the distinctive blue pedal and electrical bikes as well as scooters now dotted around Norwich. Not unless you’ve been sleepwalking the past year or so. The bikes are accessed via an app on your smart phone that takes a small payment and in return allows you to unlock your ride. When you’re finished you leave the bike/scooter at the numerous parking portals around the city – or for a premium, wherever you need to. As someone who regularly uses them myself, I’ve found them to be brilliant.
Aside from being iconic and successful, the company is also what is known as a B Corp. Simply put, being a B Corp business involves the pursuit of the so-called “Triple bottom line” – not just profit, but taking equal consideration of ‘people’ and ‘planet’ in its understanding of business success. The intention of this international business movement is to create sustainable businesses that champion business as a force for good.
Find out more here: https://www.bcorporation.net/en-us/
Here in Norwich, it’s also part of the city’s sustainable transport revolution – one towns, cities and villages need to make as quickly and suitably as possible. So often we’re told such a limited story of possibilities – where a greener future simply entails swapping fossil fuel vehicles for electric ones. But that’s all wrong. Yes of course we need more electric vehicles, but we shouldn’t be looking to simply replace what we have but to improve upon it. There simply are not enough resources on the planet to create billions of individual electric cars. And even if there were, the environmental damage would be unforgivable.
That means thinking afresh. More mass public transit systems like affordable, publicly owned transport such as electric buses, trams and trains as well as more walking, cycling and yes – more electric scooters and bikes.
Imagine if we could extend the Beryl system – to electric cars, for example. No more need to own your own car. You could simply look at your phone, find a car free on the map provided in-app, unlock it with your phone and drive to wherever you need to go. It’s this kind of thinking outside of the box, moving away from an economy that is simply based on private ownership and profitability that we need to embrace.
I’m proud Beryl Bikes have made a home in our city. They’re exactly the kind of sustainable, ethical and visionary companies we need here.
Download the Beryl app here: https://beryl.cc/bikeshare/download