Our commitment to ESG
At Sovereign, we know that our impact on the world is significant. We’re conscious of the need to build more genuinely affordable homes, as well as working hard to ensure that social purpose is built into everything that we do.
We’re committed to ensuring our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) credentials are strong, investing in the services we consider to be basic human rights. These speak directly to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – eliminating hunger and poverty, reducing inequalities, enhancing wellbeing, providing shelter, investing in infrastructure, supporting employment and local economies, creating sustainable communities and places, and addressing climate change.
Shaping the ESG agenda
Beginning in early 2019 we lent our voice to the UK social housing – Building Sector Standard Approach for ESG Reporting White Paper which combined the recommendations of a unique collaboration of 18 banks and investors, housing associations, service providers and impact investing organisations and was led by impact advisory group The Good Economy.
Following the publication of the White Paper and extensive public consultation, the group published its reporting standard, a broadly accepted sector-wide approach designed to support and increase private sector investment. This is referred to as the Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing [pdf, 1.51MB] .
In its current iteration, the standard presents 12 themes and 48 criteria for ESG reporting by housing associations. These are qualitative and quantitative and are identified as core and enhanced requirements to demonstrate strong ESG performance and our second report takes all of these measures into account, benchmarking our progress so far.
How we’re embedding ESG into our business
We are deeply invested in the communities and the places we serve and have a long-term interest in seeing them flourish and prosper. Much of what we exist for aligns with ESG values. ESG in turn can help us measure, demonstrate and communicate our purpose and impact to the wider world.
- Environmental - how our organisation performs as a steward of our natural environment - we’re focusing on getting to net zero, climate change, biodiversity, ecology and resource management
- Social - how Sovereign treats its people, concentrating on our residents’ voice, support for residents in terms of employment, training and placemaking, affordability, security and building safety and quality
- Governance - how we’re governed, our internal structure and financial strength, our Board and Trustees, staff well-being, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and our supply chain management.
Integral to our ESG story is our ambitious, future-facing Homes and Place Standard [pdf, 4MB] – aimed at creating dwellings fit for the future customer in terms of quality, space, cost, amenity and energy efficiency. This, and the regeneration plans that go along with it, are essential parts of our journey to net zero.
We are excited by the potential of ESG. We see it as a force for good, and a way to measure and report our performance, progress and purpose against our long-term vision.
We’re proud of our third ESG report [PDF, 3MB] and feel that we perform well against the 48 criteria of the Sustainability Reporting Standard. Where there is a need to improve, we have measures and processes in place to achieve this.
We will continue to develop our ESG approach in line with the sector standard. This year we’ve further enhanced our ESG KPI dashboard – adding in two new KPIs. These focus on retrofit and EDI and will support us as we continue to demonstrate our progress via our performance dashboard.
Working together on ESG
There are many shining examples of excellence among our social housing colleagues, and we can only improve by collaborating, sharing best practice and learning more about the steps we can take to protect people and planet.
To work with us, comment on this report or to give us your opinions on any environmental, social or governance matters, we invite you to get in touch. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org .