Patrick Symington, chief executive of MORhomes, said: “Tackling the housing crisis and creating lasting change has always been part of our ethos at MORhomes. This new framework and SHA are testament to this. We are proud to have developed a genuinely unique approach to assessing the ESG impact of our current and prospective housing association borrowers which is also quick and simple to complete.”
He added: “From a sustainability perspective, there is real commitment from housing associations to safeguard the future of the planet and we are urging all our borrowers and shareholders to adopt the sector reporting standards and show us how they are meeting the requirements through the sustainability assessment.”
Elizabeth Howard, director of finance at Melin Homes, said: “It has been a really useful and interesting process to be part of the development of MORhomes’ SHA and to have the opportunity to feed in the Welsh perspective. Like many of our sector peers, we know that Melin does a lot of great work in terms of ESG but we haven’t always had a clear way of benchmarking this or recording it in a consistent way.
“A score of 50 per cent in the SHA is a ‘pass’ and indicates high standards so it is reassuring to see that we have scored so well, particularly in the environmental category where we achieved 75 per cent.”
Dominic Brindley, head of public sector and structured asset finance at Natwest Markets, said: “Having supported the working party to produce the [Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing] in 2020, it is a great pleasure to have worked with MORhomes, Sustainalytics and Ritterwald to help expand MORhomes’ existing social bond framework into a sustainable bond framework.
“The framework provides significant support for fundraising for social housing providers that wish to tap into the sustainable capital markets for more modest funding requirements. At NatWest we see this as a crucial step in enabling wider market access for sustainable issuance.”
Alongside the launch of its new framework, MORhomes has also published its Social and Sustainability Impact Report 2020/21.
MORhomes made its debut £250m issuance through its social bond programme exactly two years ago (12 February 2019) at a spread of 190 basis points over gilts, and has to date lent a total of £429m to 15 associations through the programme.