Peabody boss Brendan Sarsfield has been picked to lead a board overseeing new sustainability reporting standards as part of a bid to encourage more private capital investment into the sector.
Mr Sarsfield, who is stepping down as Peabody chief executive this summer, will chair the Sustainability for Housing (SfH) board as a non-executive following a recruitment process earlier this year.
The SfH board will oversee the Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing (SRS), which was launched last November.
Around 100 early adopters have signed up to the voluntary standard, including some of the country’s biggest housing associations and banks.
The standard is aiming to help associations report on their ESG performance in a consistent way and in turn give lenders and investors a clear view of a provider’s performance.
It comes as ESG continues to rise up the agenda and investors increasingly look to assess a borrower’s credentials in this area.
The standard has 48 criteria across 12 core themes including affordability and security, building safety and quality, resident support, climate change, structure and governance and staff well-being.
Housing providers on the list have committed to report against the standard yearly, while the lenders and investors have agreed to use the standard in their investment and credit policies.
Mr Sarsfield said: “No other sector has a set, recognised criteria for communicating ESG performance, so this reporting standard is a huge advantage for housing associations of all sizes to access funding, reduce the cost of borrowing, and boost their positive social and environmental impact for the benefit of residents and communities.”
According to the group’s website, the initiative formed in “response to concerns ESG investment in social housing was being inhibited by the absence of a common reporting standard”.
“As with many other sectors across the economy, there had been a multitude of ESG reporting frameworks, resulting in reporting that lacked transparency and was prone to inconsistency,” the group said.
A steering committee was set up to oversee the board’s establishment, which was chaired by Susan Hickey, a former chief financial officer at Peabody. Other board members are also being recruited with around 10 individuals expected to join.