The ESG Social Housing Working Group
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The ESG Social Housing Working Group

The Good Economy led the process of researching and developing the rationale and criteria behind the Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing as part of a collaboration of 18 housing providers, lenders, investors and financial experts. The Good Economy also produced the final report of the ESG Social Housing Working Group which will be superseded by a new board overseeing the Standard in early 2021

The Standard

The Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing was launched on 10 November 2020 by the ESG Social Housing Working Group – a unique collaboration of 18 banks and investors, housing providers and other experts.

The working group was set up in 2019 in response to concerns ESG investment in social housing was being inhibited by the absence of a common reporting standard. As with many other sectors across the economy, there was a multitude of ESG reporting frameworks, resulting in reporting that lacked transparency, was prone to inconsistencies and was, therefore, incomparable.

The Standard is a voluntary reporting framework, covering 48 criteria across ESG considerations such as affordability, safety standards and zero carbon targets. As such, it enables housing providers to report on their ESG performance in a transparent, consistent and comparable way. This will make it easier for lenders and investors to assess the ESG performance of housing providers, identify ESG risks and opportunities to create positive social and environmental outcomes.

"We commend The Good Economy’s work to develop an evolving approach to more consistent, comparable ESG reporting. Bringing together registered providers, lenders and investors with a common approach is a big step towards providing investors with the accountability they need to unlock wider institutional investment into affordable housing."

Gordon More, Chief Investment Officer, Homes England

Sector wide and led

At the time of its launch, 70 organisations (39 housing providers and 31 lenders/investors) had already committed to using the Standard. The Standard was also "endorsed" by a further 17 organisations, including the National Housing Federation, who committed to promoting its adoption and implementation. It has also received support from Homes England and the Regulator of Social Housing.

The working group was also behind the creation of a new Social and Affordable Housing: Sustainability Reporting Standards Board, which will be established in early 2021. The board will be responsible for rolling out the Standard across the social housing sector.

A Governance Steering Committee was set-up in November 2020 to oversee the establishment of this board. The committee is chaired by Susan Hickey, a former Chief Financial Officer at Peabody Trust, with secretariat support from the Impact Investing Institute.

As well as publishing the final report of the working group, The Good Economy also produced an initial White Paper outlining the thinking behind a reporting standard alongside draft criteria. This was then opened to a public consultation and feedback process resulting in more than 400 individuals participating in the process and 53 organisations providing invaluable feedback which was used in shaping the final Standard.

The Standard has received widespread media coverage including Reuters, Bloomberg, Property Week, Inside Housing, ESG Clarity, Housing Today, IPE, ESG Today, CoStar and FT.

There is a dedicated website for the Standard at www.esgsocialhousing.co.uk.

Our Publications
Client Report The Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing: the final report of the ESG Social Housing Working Group Published by The Good Economy for the ESG Social Housing Working Group to address the lack of transparency, consistency and comparability in reporting ESG performance
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Article
ESG reporting standard launched to unlock new wave of investment for social housing NEWS 10/11/20 ESG reporting standard launched to unlock new wave of investment for social housing ESG reporting standard launched with 70 banks, investors and housing providers committed to boost transparency and consistency
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