Sustainability Reporting Standard updated to align with regulatory framework

The Sustainability for Housing Board has published a revised version of the Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing (SRS) to incorporates changes proposed by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) after consultation with registered social landlords.

Sustainability Reporting Standard updated to align with regulatory framework

The changes align the reporting criteria with the regulatory framework for housing associations in Scotland.

The SRS is a voluntary reporting framework launched in November 2020 in response to the increased focus by lenders and investors on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. It was created following extensive consultation with the social housing sector by an ESG working group led by impact advisory firm The Good Economy. More than 100 housing providers, funders and sector bodies have signed up to the standard as adopters or endorsers.

The changes come as Link Group become the first housing association in Scotland to adopt the SRS.

Speaking about the launch of the revised criteria, Sustainability for Housing Board chair Brendan Sarsfield said: “The Board has welcomed the participation of Scottish housing associations in ensuring that the SRS is applicable throughout the UK despite differences in social housing regulation in the devolved nations.

“We will continue to engage with housing associations throughout the UK to obtain their feedback and to review and adapt the criteria to accommodate any additional, future changes in regulatory regimes. We will also shortly be launching a post implementation review of the standard to better understand the user experience and consider how best to support organisations using the standard.

“We are also pleased to announce that Link Group, a leading Scottish registered social landlord, has become the first housing association in Scotland to adopt the SRS. We look forward to welcoming Link and other Scottish housing associations as they join in using the SRS to report on environmental, social and governance issues and demonstrate how the sector is contributing to global and national sustainability objectives.”

Jon Turner, Link Group CEO, added: “We are absolutely delighted to adopt these standards. Our commitment to the sustainability of the communities we support, and our wider journey towards ‘net zero’ is embedded in how we work. It is important that we use high quality, independent, metrics to track our progress and the SRS will be a key tool for us moving forward.”

Sally Thomas, SFHA chief executive, said: “With the increased focus from lenders and investors on ESG issues, it is critical that the reporting criteria for the standards are recognised by decision makers in, and beyond, Scotland. So we are pleased the Sustainability for Housing Board has heard the voices of Scottish housing associations.

“The standards will help our members to demonstrate the positive impact housing associations make in communities every day. Sustainability is at the heart of this, and we are ambitious to do more.”

The SRS aims to reduce the ESG reporting burden and to work for organisations of all sizes. It provides an option to report on a smaller, core number of criteria for smaller housing associations.  Where possible, the standard uses criteria that are already measured and recorded. Many of the criteria ask for data which Scottish registered social landlords already collect and report in the Annual Return on the Charter that they are required to submit to the Scottish Housing Regulator.

The Sustainability Housing Board was established in July 2021 to oversee the SRS and is responsible for the continued rollout, implementation, mainstreaming and evolution of the standard. The Board is comprised of eight leading figures from the worlds of housing, finance and sustainability. Their backgrounds span the investment industry, housing and care sectors and the civil service, with representation also of social housing residents.

For a copy of the Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing final report, visit here.

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