Borough Market makes 2023 its Year of Sustainability

Borough Market, London’s iconic food destination, is continuing its commitment to social and economic, as well as environmental, sustainability with a raft of initiatives to kick start 2023. The Market, which is run by a charitable trust for the benefit of its community, continues to act as a beacon for ethical, sustainable practices, both as an institution and through the actions of its traders and staff: 

  1. Combatting modern slavery in the agricultural sector with Date Sultan  

Borough Market’s newest trader is social enterprise Date Sultan, selling ethically sourced premium dates. Founded by Syed Usman Shah, Date Sultan imports premium dates from the Middle East while using its influence to help combat modern slavery, a pervasive practice throughout much of the region’s agricultural sector. When setting up contracts with farmers in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Palestine, Date Sultan ensures that everyone in the supply chain is paid fairly and treated well, backed up by personal visits and regular audits. The stall sells numerous varieties of date and has pioneered the filling of Medjool dates with flavours such as salted caramel and candied ginger. 

  1. Saving our waterways from plastic pollution with Fab Little Bags 

From today (Tuesday 24 January) Borough Market will be the first Marketplace in the UK to partner with Fab Little Bag, who supply sanitary disposal bags creating sustainable solutions to protect rivers, oceans and beaches from the pollution caused by flushed period products – particularly important for Borough Market given its proximity to The Thames. Borough Market will have Fab dispensers installed in their loos to encourage shoppers to start bagging and binning their period waste, instead of flushing them (research shows that everyday in the UK alone 2.4m tampons and 1.4m pads are flushed!). Made from 70% renewable plant sources and 30% recycled plastics, the bags are simple to use and sealed with a vegan-based glue, making them easy, quick and hygienic. 

  1. Increasing the redistribution of surplus food from the Market with charity partner Plan Zheroes 

The Market has recently increased its surplus food collections carried out by charity partner Plan Zheroes from two to three times per week.  

The Market’s partnership with Plan Zheroes aims to tackle two of society’s biggest issues: food poverty and food waste.  Over 40 volunteers collect surplus food from the Market’s traders, which is then redistributed to more than 20 charities to help feed vulnerable people across London.  The majority of food donated is fruit & veg, followed by baked goods, dairy products, meat and fish with top quality produce coming from up to 30 traders.  Since 2014, the partnership has prevented over 90 tonnes of food from being thrown away – enough for more than 223,000 meals and counting.  

  1. Continuing to tackle single-use plastics through the Market’s water fountains saving the equivalent of 3 million plastic bottles  

Since being the first food and drink market to install free public drinking water fountains and banning single use plastic bottles across the site in 2017, Borough Market’s visitors have refilled the equivalent of over 3 million 500ml bottles of water – the equivalent of 12,192 Olympic swimming pool lengths when laid end-to-end – helping the Market and its traders get closer to their zero waste goals*. 

Jane Swift, CEO of Borough Market said: “With more than 25 million people a year visiting more than 100 specialist traders, we need to constantly ensure that sustainability in all its forms underpins both our high quality produce and the way that we operate on a day-to-day basis. As a charitable trust we have an important role to play in our community of shoppers, traders, staff and residents, and our global reputation means that we need to set the bar high when it comes to leading on ethical best practice. These sustainability initiatives give four more reasons for shoppers and locals alike to love our iconic London Market.”