Bushe is a chain of bakeries and pastry shops in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Since 2018, the company has been actively moving along the path of respect for the environment, changing business processes and minimising waste.
What is the mission of the project?
Bushe has a dream to be a business that gives hope for a better future for our children, because how eco-conscious we are now determines what kind of world our children will live in.
Where and when did the project start?
St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia — 2018
Where is the project offered today?
In Bushe bakeries in St. Petersburg and Moscow.
To whom is this project aimed? Who belongs to your target group?
Our target group are citizens and visitors of St. Petersburg and Moscow.
Interview with Anastasia Sergeeva, Coordinator of Environmental Projects, Bushe Ltd.
Why did your initiative start? What was the initial situation?
We began to take the first steps a few years ago implementing an energy saving programme, completely replacing incandescent lamps with LED ones. We also installed treatment facilities in our production, for which we received the “Crystal Drop” distinction from Vodokanal.
In 2018, Oleg Lega, the creator of Bushe, wrote the manifesto of New Sincerity. Addressing the issues of ecology and evolution, he urged us to be authentic. Since then, our company has revised its impact on the environment and began to systematically implementing a respectful attitude towards environmental issues.
What is your vision as a company? What do you want to achieve?
Bushe has a dream: to be a business that inspires hope in children for a better future on planet Earth. Our company has continuously worked for awareness – a conscious choice, conscious activity, and conscious communication. We believe it’s important for a company to bear social responsibility, to monitor the damage it causes to the environment through its operations and to evaluate all actions in broader terms than just profit. We stand against the position of “money at any cost”.
Can you give some examples of how the environment and society benefit from your initiatives?
Within the framework of the New Sincerity manifesto, there is a number of initiatives which can be divided into several categories:
Reducing single use:
Plastic appliances have been replaced with wooden ones.
We offer a 10% discount on beverages served in reusable mugs.
Sugar in disposable packaging has been replaced with sugar bowls.
We sell reusable mugs, containers and shopping bags.
We’ve installed dispensers with gel instead of wet wipes.
We abandoned coolers with plastic bottles and installed purifiers with drinking water, both in production and at our office.
Disposable shoe covers have been replaced with reusable ones in production and retail.
Plastic straws have been replaced with paper ones.
We refill the guest’s bottles with drinking water for free.
Reducing the amount of garbage taken to landfill:
We have organised separated waste collection in both production and office and tried it out in retail as well.
Regular napkins have been replaced with recycled paper napkins.
We installed grease traps in our sewage system in order to avoid water pollution.
Organising “Green Business, Living Planet”, an environmental education for businesses:
As a fairly large business, we understand the negative impact we have on the environment. We also realise that we can co-operate with other companies to make the business sphere more environmentally friendly. In this context, we are engaged in environmental education and carry out various activities on the topic of making businesses greener.
(Video in Russian)
What factors have helped keep the offer successful on the market?
Clearly, there are many difficulties in the implementation of our environmental initiatives. They are not always economically justified and not all our guests agree with the changes. In some people’s opinion they lower the quality of our service.
For this reason, we need to assess the costs of new initiatives and find options that reduce them. For example, when replacing disposable plastic straws with paper ones, we were faced with the fact that paper straws cost ten times as much as plastic ones. In a network environment this is a huge difference. At the same time we saved a great deal of money by replacing individually wrapped sugar with sugar bowls, covering the cost of the straws.
When it comes to our guests, communication is very important. Why do we choose to act the way we do, what is the impact on the environment, et c. Not all guests are ready to support our initiatives, which is why we partake in considerate communication in our bakeries or through social networks and engage in environmental education. Of course, we do not implement changes abruptly, since we respect the choices of all our guests.
What are you particularly proud of in terms of your initiative?
We’re proud of the introduction of a security deposit. The idea is to reduce the number of disposable cups and offer guests a convenient reusable alternative.
At the end of 2019, we organised a trip to Berlin for an internship named “Circular Solutions”. There we got acquainted with various businesses that work in an environmentally responsible manner. Among others, we met with RECUP (https://recup.de/). Their concept is that for a small fee, guests can receive their take-away beverages in a reusable mug in different cafés. When the mug is no longer needed, it can be returned to any café connected to the programme and the guest gets their deposit back. We decided to implement this idea, at least in our network.
How does it work?
A guest comes to Bushe and orders a drink in a reusable mug. They pay a deposit of 150 roubles for the mug and get a 10% discount on their beverage. They can then keep the mug or return it to any of our locations. Upon return (assuming the mug is in good condition) the guest gets their deposit back in the form of a discount, which can be spent immediately.
If you were a powerful politician for one day, what would you change first and why?
Today we lack the infrastructure for processing / composting food waste at a state level. Food waste is a hazardous waste, but it gets sent to landfills where it doesn’t decompose properly due to lack of oxygen and other conditions. The amounts of food waste accumulating in this manner are vast. We would like the issue of composting food waste to be regulated at the state level.
How would you like to develop your offer further?
We will continue to reduce the amount of single-use plastic in retail, establish separated waste collection in our bakeries and keep on engaging in environmental education. There is still a lot of work ahead, we have many processes that require change.
What is your key message?
Our initiative is circular because we do our best to keep our waste out of the landfill, instead giving it a new life or handing it over for recycling.