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Sustainability for Housing chair to step down

Brendan Sarsfield, Chair of Sustainability for Housing (SfH), will step down from the organisation later this year after more than three years at the helm. 

SfH, which oversees the Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing (SRS), has started its search for a successor who can maintain momentum on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting in the sector. 

Brendan, who was previously CEO of Peabody, was appointed as Chair of SfH in 2021. He said: “I am extremely proud of what SfH has achieved over the last few years. 

“Our mission was to create a uniform framework to help housing associations improve and communicate their ESG performance, in order to attract investment into the sector. We have achieved this despite the environment changing rapidly”

Since its creation in 2020, the SRS has attracted more than 150 adopters from across the UK with responsibility for roughly 2.4 million homes across the UK. Of the adopters, 113 are housing providers and 37 are funders to the sector with more than £1trn of assets under management. 

SfH’s annual report found that 63% of funders using the framework believed it has improved their relationship with housing association borrowers, while a similar proportion said it enabled housing associations to achieve favourable financing terms. The poll also found that for 57% of respondents, the SRS had accelerated implementation of ESG actions.

SfH will now begin its search for a successor who will help update and evolve the SRS to align with the global ESG agenda. 

Brendan added: “It has been an honour to be involved with the SRS over the last three years and whoever comes next will no doubt relish this challenging yet rewarding role, supported by an excellent Board. There is still plenty of progress to be made on ESG and I urge the sector to remained engaged with this work, which remains as important as ever.”

Sarah Forster, CEO of The Good Economy, who provides secretariat support for the SRS, said: “We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Brendan for his work as Chair of SfH.

“Under his direction, the SRS has grown to be a vital tool for social housing providers and has enhanced the sector’s reputation amongst funders. As we look to the future, we will be seeking a candidate who can build on his great work and continue to drive the SRS forward.”

David Cleary, board member of SfH, Managing Director, Housing at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “Under Brendan’s high profile leadership, the SRS has gone from strength to strength in what has been a challenging socio-economic environment.

“Brendan’s knowledge, experience and connectivity have been invaluable to the Board and we thank him for his dedication, time and commitment.”