04 Jan 2021
Bologna, Italy
Communication for sustainability, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Waste Management

Startups and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) face many immediate challenges when getting started. One of those – which might slip down some priority lists – is environmental sustainability. Daniela Tulone, the founder of ecoSurge, has assembled a team of experts from various fields, including technology, business, science and public institutions.

ecoSurge’s pool of talent helps SMEs identify new business opportunities related to the sustainable transition, review company’s operations and provide recommendations on how to improve the company’s environmental performance. “Our vision is to sustain the environment through innovation and cross-domain synergies,” explained Tulone.

Coming from a background in Computer Science and Business, Daniela decided to pursue her passion for digital and social entrepreneurship by setting up ecoSurge in late 2019. From her base in Bologna, she brought together various experts from different countries, united by a common vision of accelerating the implementation of UN SDGs through digital and business innovation and helping SMEs to operate more sustainably.

ecoSurge’s initial progress faced an immediate, formidable hurdle in early 2020: the outbreak of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. “As you can imagine, the pandemic was a challenge for a project that was about to start at the beginning of 2020,” Tulone remarked drily. “But, in the spirit of ecoSurge, we focus on seizing opportunities for reviving our transition to sustainable productive systems.”

For instance, ecoSurge modified its own, ongoing study of plastic reduction in food and beverages though circular economy solutions. To reflect the pandemic, the research shifted to considering the virus’ impact on plastic usage and waste through a data-base analysis of web contents and social media.

During the lockdown, ecoSurge also launched “Restart Together”, an action-oriented think-tank to reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic’s business impact. The forum identifies new green business opportunities for SMEs when they reach the post-pandemic recovery phase. Restart Together comprises a collaborative community of more than 60 experts that meet regularly under certain key themes.

For now, the pandemic has obstructed an even more fundamental aspect of ecoSurge’s plans: the appetite for many startups and SMEs to embrace operational change. “EcoSurge is a new type of enterprise, based on innovation and cooperation, which requires an open mindset.” said Tulone. “The pandemic lead to high uncertainty and had a tremendous impact on SMEs.”

“Fear is a normal reaction to the pandemic, but it shouldn’t block us,” continued Tulone. “We need to focus all together on the recovery phase with an innovative, green and long-term perspective.”

Fortunately, Tulone’s sunny disposition will not let her dwell on last year’s turmoil. She expects ecoSurge to obtain its legal registration in January 2021, with various funders already interested in the project. And as COVID-19 slowly recedes into our collective memory, businesses can return to the much longer term challenge of environmental degradation.

“At ecoSurge, our motto is how to transform challenges into opportunities,” said Tulone. “The pandemic can be a starting point for businesses to engage in the sustainability journey.” Indeed, with a little help from ecoSurge’s team of experts, companies may find that going green can support their post-pandemic recovery and help their competitiveness.


Learn more about ecoSurge through the website.

Photos courtesy of Henry & Co. and Artur Lysyuk (via Unsplash) and ecoSurge

David Wood is a freelance writer and researcher based in Beirut. He previously worked in Cairo.David Wood
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ecoSurge Communication for sustainability