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Borough Market continues its dedication to sustainability in 2023

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. 

Media release: Tuesday 24th January 2023

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.

2. 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.

3. 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. 

4. 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.”

Notes to Editor

*20.32cm (average height of water 500ml bottle) x 3million = 60,960,000cm (609,600m)

Olympic swimming pool length = 50m

Number of bottles of water saved is equivalent of 12,192 Olympic pool lengths (609,600m / 50m)

About Borough Market   

Borough Market is a source of quality British and international produce, but it is more than just a place to buy or sell food. It’s a place where people come to connect, to share food and awaken their senses. Borough has long been synonymous with food markets and as far back as 1014, and probably much earlier, London Bridge attracted traders selling grain, fish, vegetables and livestock. In the 13th century traders were relocated to what is now Borough High Street and a market has existed there ever since. Many of the Markets traders also now sell their produce online, meaning those unable to make it to the Market can still access a selection of the Market’s exceptional range of artisanal produce. Details can be found through the Borough Market online directory.

In addition to the traders selling fresh produce from their stalls, Borough Market also houses a selection of restaurants and bars. Diners can enjoy Arabica Bar & Kitchen, Bao Borough, Berenjak Borough, Elliot’s, Fish! Restaurant, Mallow, Maria’s Market Café, Padella, Rambutan, Roast Restaurant, Silka, Sons + Daughters, Tapas Brindisa, Turnips restaurant and Wright Brothers Oyster and Porter House, while those looking for something to drink can head to Bedales of Borough, The Cider House, The Globe Tavern and The Rake.

Borough Market’s mission is to continue to provide a world class food market at Borough for the community of London and beyond. It is owned by a charitable trust and run by a board of volunteer trustees. The trust is committed to supporting the local community around Borough Market. We regularly run community events and we support local community projects and schemes.