Asset managers would like to see “more consistent and reliable data and reporting” on ESG factors from housing providers, as well as a greater focus on environmental issues.
abrdn, Schroders and BlackRock are among 21 asset managers representing more than £1trn in assets under management to have adopted the Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing (SRS).
Launched in November 2020, SRS is a voluntary reporting framework covering 48 criteria across ESG considerations such as zero carbon targets, affordability and safety standards.
See also: – Social housing lender first in UK to publish ESG performance
In a new report from the SRS, One year in, the story so far, published in May and assessing its progress, of the 63 housing providers that had adopted the Standard by the end of 2021, 49 produced a 2021 ESG Report using the SRS. On average, they reported against 43 of the 48 criteria.
This has allowed investors to better engage with housing providers due to more consistency in measurement and reporting on ESG factors. A fifth of housing providers reported now creating sustainability finance frameworks or negotiating sustainability-linked loans or green bonds.
However, investors would still like to see improvements in the quality of reporting. The report said: “Interviewees explained that like-for-like comparisons are sometimes challenging because reporting is not always consistent across organisations, most notably in disclosures of Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.
“It has been suggested that self-reporting against the SRS may need to evolve towards independent verification to encourage more consistent and reliable data and reporting.”
They would also like to see more focus on environmental criteria, including more disclosures mapped against the UK Green Taxonomy, Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure or net-zero commitments.
Brendan Sarsfield, chair of the Sustainability for Housing board and former CEO of housing association Peabody, said: “The Standard has provided the spark needed to improve the sector’s relationship with investors while starting on much needed ESG-focused work that will benefit residents.”