A newly launched UK social housing sustainability reporting standard has been adopted by more than 60 organisations.

The ESG Social Housing Working Group said the Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing has been designed to unlock institutional investment to help tackle the UK’s housing crisis.

The reporting standard is a voluntary reporting framework, which covers 48 criteria across environment, social and governance (ESG) considerations such as affordability, safety standards and zero-carbon targets. This will make it easier for lenders and investors to assess the ESG performance of housing providers, identify ESG risks and opportunities to create positive social and environmental outcomes.

The ESG Social Housing Working Group said so far housing associations, lenders and investors have committed to report against the standard on an annual basis and to use the standard in their investment and credit policies, processes and/or product design.

Roll-out of the standard across the social housing sector will be governed by a new industry representative standards board, which will be operational in 2021.

The ESG Social Housing Working Group, set up in 2019, is a collaboration of 18 banks and investors, housing associations, service providers and impact investing organisations. Its key members include LGIM Real Assets, Centrus, Peabody Trust, Impact Investing Institute and housing association Sovereign.

Specialist impact advisory firm The Good Economy led the process of researching and developing the ESG criteria.

Sarah Forster, The Good Economy CEO, said: “By working together, the social housing sector and financial sector have demonstrated how the lack of consistency, transparency and comparability in ESG reporting can be overcome.

“We’re delighted so many significant lenders, investors and housing associations have already committed to using the Standard and believe it will improve access to finance for the social housing sector – helping deliver quality, affordable housing for all those who cannot afford to buy or rent in the private market.”

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