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Reflections from the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations’ Finance Conference

In early November, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations’ (SFHA) finance conference in Crieff, Perthshire.

Attending these events is vital to the success of the Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing, as we need to ensure it works for organisations of all geographies, shapes and sizes.

In recent times, Scotland has demonstrated its commitment to sustainability when it comes to sustainability. Notably, its net zero target is 2045, compared to 2050 in England. More recently, the Scottish Government have brought forward a review of social landlords’ decarbonisation targets to ensure with net zero ambitions.

This same enthusiasm for the sustainability and ESG agendas was clearly on show from SFHA members. Below are some of my takeaways from the event:

  1. Scottish HAs are focused on community housing. In many cases, I think they are closer to their residents than many English HAs – an issue that is increasingly being questioned in the England.
  2. Many Scottish HAs are small and rural and have a huge impact on their local communities. This is perhaps an overlooked strength of HAs when we try to promote the sector to a wider audience. Telling more rural success stories would give a more rounded reflection of the sector.
  3. HAs across the UK are doing great things around the ‘Social’ in ESG. But our collective story in this area is still weaker than it should be. We must work to improve that collective story.

I would like to thank SFHA for inviting me and supporting the SRS. They have been a great helping in improving the SRS and promoting it to their members.

Brendan Sarsfield, Chair of Sustainability for Housing