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UK social housing ESG standard replicated by Australian housing groups

The Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing (SRS) has inspired a group of Australian housing providers to pioneer the country’s own equivalent framework.

The SRS was launched in the UK in November 2020 by Sustainability for Housing (SfH) and The Good Economy and has provided a common reporting framework for more than 100 housing associations, lenders and investors.

The success of the SRS in the UK has encouraged Australia’s Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA), along with 27 housing associations, to create their own Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting standard.

The Australian standard will operate in a similar way to the SRS, by attempting to harness interest from organisations who are looking to invest in businesses with strong ESG credentials. It was modelled on the SRS but has been adapted to fit the Australian policy environment.

Wendy Hayhurst, Chief Executive at CHIA, said: “The project was very much motivated by the UK’s SRS and we want to acknowledge the support, assistance and overall generosity of SfH Chair, Brendan Sarsfield, and the team at The Good Economy.

“The Australian standard was developed with support from 27 community housing organisations (not for profit housing providers) along with our major financier the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation and other private sector partners.

“We want to see the standard widely adopted and helping us make a better business case for expanded government support for social and affordable housing, better debt and equity finance arrangements as well as demonstrating the value brought by our sector.”

Brendan Sarsfield, Chair of SfH, said: “Brendan Sarsfield, Chair of SfH, said: “We are delighted to see more organisations in the global social housing sector capitalising on the ESG agenda. 

“The work of CHIA and its partners is a vote of confidence in social housing in the UK and our ESG reporting standard.”

Sarah Forster, board member of SfH and Chief Executive of The Good Economy, said: “For the ESG movement to be successful it is vital that it is recognised as widely as possible. Therefore it is enormously encouraging to see our international partners following the lead set by the UK social housing sector.

“A growing community of organisations at the intersection of ESG and social housing will only help improve transparency and accountability around reporting.”

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