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Ambition ZERO – Reducing the Environmental Footprint at CUIB

Ambition ZERO – Reducing the Environmental Footprint at CUIB

“Urban Centre for Good Initiatives” (CUIB) is the most sustainable bistro in Romania. It aims to mitigate the negative effects of climate change by implementing (1) Zero Food Waste, (2) Zero Waste, and (3) Zero Food Kilometres.

“Ambition ZERO” describes CUIB’s ambition to reduce negative environmental impacts in Iași, Romania

The context:

CUIB is engaged in four areas of activity: ecology and environmental protection, education for sustainable development, social economy, and civic responsibility. The actions in these fields are driven by the concept of thinking globally while acting locally.

Since December 2013, CUIB has put Iași in the spotlight of socio-economic initiatives across Europe. In February 2020, CUIB started cooperating with FoodE, enabling it to invest into its development.

The support through FoodE and CUIB’s dedicated team helped significantly to overcome the challenging circumstances of 2020. For the next 4 years, CUIB envisages a set of new initiatives under the umbrella term “Ambition ZERO”.

CUIB strives to achieve:

  • Almost Zero Food Waste: in July 2020, CUIB generated almost a quarter of a ton of non-recyclable waste. Out of this, vegetable waste represented the largest proportion. In response, CUIB registered as an economic operator at the Romanian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development allowing it to recover food waste. CUIB will seek to integrate this recovered food into its menus but also to generate as little waste as possible from the outset.  By the end of 2024, CUIB will register almost zero organic waste and will serve as an example of how to implement circular economy principles in the Romanian hotel, restaurant, and catering (HORECA) sector.
  • Almost Zero Wastedriven by the principles of reduction, reuse and recycling, sustainable waste management is one of the central components of CUIB’s business model. Nonetheless, it still generates over half a tonne of waste per month. Over 50% of it is recyclable, but raising that share is a difficult and cost-intensive process. Starting from spring 2021, CUIB will constantly reduce the share of generated waste with the aim to reach 90% by 2024.
  • Almost Zero Food Kilometrescurrently, around 70-80% of CUIB’s food comes from local or regional sources. In the long run, CUIB plans to establish its own garden along with a restaurant right next to it. This would allow processing ingredients right at the source and prevent CO2 emissions from transport. Starting from spring 2021, CUIB will adapt its menu so that 90% of drinks and ingredients are produced in Iași, and 50% come from within a radius of 100km around the city.

The way forward

To improve the sustainability of local food systems, it will be indispensable to involve as many different perspectives as possible – be it from local residents, or internationally through social networks.

CUIB will disseminate questionnaires, conduct interviews, organise discussion groups, hackathons and more to gather as many inputs as possible. It will then analyse all inputs received and draw up an action plan which will be implemented with the help of FoodE partners.

These activities will be carried out between the end of 2020 and the first half of 2021. Stay tuned for new updates!

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