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Q&A: The Story of SRS v2.0

In October 2023, Sustainability for Housing (SfH) updated the Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing (SRS), the UK social housing sector’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) standard.

Since 2020 when the Standard was launched, it has been adopted by more than 100 housing providers of all sizes across the UK.  The Standard has also been adopted by 36 funders with more than £1trn of assets under management, including Legal & General, M&G Investments, abrdn, Schroders and Aviva, and leading banks such as Lloyds and NatWest.

The SRS remains the only comprehensive ESG reporting standard designed for the UK social housing sector and has been developed with the expertise of professionals in the sector.

In this Q&A, Nishall Garala from Social, explains the story of SRS v2.0 so far.

How did SRS v2.0 come about?

The development of the SRS involved a comprehensive consultation, engaging housing providers, funders, and key stakeholders.

The version 2.0 consultation, which spanned several months, and was managed by impact advisory firm and SfH secretariat, The Good Economy. This included in-depth interviews with housing associations and funders, Adopters, and a public consultation garnering responses from approximately 40 organisations, including the Investment Association.

The approach incorporated further interviews, guidance from technical experts, and alignment efforts with international standards and reporting frameworks. Noteworthy attention was given to addressing specific queries and concerns, such as ensuring consistency and methodology for calculating Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions and clarification on verification and assurance processes.

What’s been updated in SRS v2.0 compared to v1.2?

The most recent update to the standard marks a significant stride in aligning the sector with key international frameworks, facilitating Adopters in showcasing their commitment to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles.

Notably, the Standard has been harmonised with global frameworks such as the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), and the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR), ensuring a comprehensive and globally recognised approach.

Moreover, this update underscores a heightened emphasis on sector-specific priorities and resident concerns, introducing targeted questions aimed at enhancing transparency on critical fronts like net zero commitments, damp and mould management, and equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI).

In a notable shift, Adopters are now required to follow a ‘comply or explain’ approach in their responses, necessitating a clear expression of their efforts and timelines when unable to report against specific criteria. This nuanced approach reflects a commitment to accountability and continuous improvement within the sector.

To see the full updates, check out SfH’s SRS v2.0: Consultation feedback and technical update summary. This document has the rationale behind all changes between SRS v1.2 and SRS v2.0.

What difference will SRS v2.0 make?

The latest SRS v2.0 remains the only comprehensive ESG reporting standard designed for the UK social housing sector, which means the criteria is made up of questions that funders and stakeholders ask Adopters. The Standard also helps Adopters even more to monitor and report on ESG issues year on year, which ensures further accountability and transparency.

SfH believes that the SRS can help senior leaders of social housing providers to better understand their organisations, and assist them to create improved and robust strategic plans that can benefit their residents and stakeholders.

When do Housing Providers start to report against SRS v2.0?

Providers will need to report against the updated SRS v2.0 in October 2024. To see the full SRS criteria, click here. This version of the SRS criteria can be used in England, Scotland, or Wales.  

If you have any questions about SRS v2.0, or are thinking about becoming an adopter, please don’t hesitate to contact us, and SfH will be happy to have a chat with you.