The Housing Finance Corporation (THFC) has published its third annual Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing (SRS) report for 2022/23, alongside its inaugural group-wide Sustainability Report.
The SRS report, which covers the 30 borrowers in THFC’s bLEND portfolio as of 31st March 2023, reveals the progress bLEND borrowers are making on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria.
bLEND borrowers delivered a total of 7,192 new homes in the period, the vast majority of which were for social housing. This compares to 5,440 total new homes delivered by the pool last year, an increase of 32%.
Meanwhile, bLEND’s overall average rent was 59% of private rent levels during the year, compared to 61% in 2021/22. In addition, 67% of the pool’s existing homes were rated EPC “C” or better, an increase of 4% year on year.
Board diversity has also moved in a positive direction, with a pool average of 45% women and 15% BAME in 2022/23. This is compared against 44% and 13%, respectively, from the previous year.
THFC was an early adopter and supporter of the SRS and became the first funder to require borrowers to report against the Standard. The SRS has become the go-to ESG reporting framework for housing associations, enabling the sector to provide comparable, consistent, and transparent ESG disclosures to funders, investors, tenants, and other stakeholders. At the time of writing, THFC is still the only funder to issue its own SRS portfolio report.
In addition to publishing its third SRS report, THFC is delighted to launch its inaugural group-wide Sustainability Report. While the SRS Report reflects the ESG progress of its bLEND borrowers, THFC’s Sustainability Report turns the spotlight on itself, reporting on the range of internal ESG work occurring within THFC. This report is organised into the three categories of “ESG” – Environmental, Social and Governance – and is mapped against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that THFC believes it is actively contributing toward.
THFC’s Sustainability Report marks the next big step in the Group’s ESG reporting journey. THFC intends for this report to develop and evolve each year, providing greater transparency to its stakeholders and increasing its alignment with international ESG reporting standards over time.
Piers Williamson, chief executive of THFC, said: “The results of our third annual SRS report represent an encouraging direction of travel from our borrowers. We know that they are committed to improving their sustainability performance and we are beginning to see material progress in this area.
“Like our borrowers, THFC is also committed to doing more on sustainability, which is why we have published our first annual group-wide sustainability report. Like the SRS report, we expect to use these annual reports to track our own progress against sustainability targets.”
Arun Poobalasingam, funding and marketing director of THFC, added: “We strongly feel that the SRS has and will continue to play a valuable role in uniting the sector’s sustainability efforts and are delighted to produce another SRS portfolio report on our bLEND borrowers. We believe it shows where our borrowers are excelling and where they have challenges to overcome, in addition to serving as an important tool to help us better understand our clients. We are also delighted to produce our first Sustainability Report, which highlights our steadfast commitment to ESG reporting and practices to our borrowers, investors, and other stakeholders.”