Press release: New research reveals the sustainability of the social housing sector

June 26, 2023

Broadland Housing Group

  • Overall the social housing sector is 49% sustainable – still much progress to be made
  • Over 99% of emissions are from housing stock, business travel, commuting, procurements and third party services
  • Sector is not decoupling its emissions from financial growth

New research unveiled this week has sharpened the case for a more robust sustainability strategy for the housing sector across all tenures. The study by campaigning consultancy Baker Homes, looked at the main sustainability issues in housing and provided evidence that environmental accreditation enhances performance in terms of sustainability and climate action. The social housing sector is undergoing major changes and sustainability has been frequently side-lined – but being sustainable impacts on decisions by investors and sustainable organisations are best placed to provide the safe, sustainable homes that is so desperately needed.

The study found that:

  • Overall the sector is 49% sustainable – the figure describes how close the sector is to meeting science based targets. 100% would indicate that sustainable targets are being met
  • The energy efficiency of homes is at 78% of what is needed to ensure carbon emissions are in line with UK climate change targets
  • Progress has been made by multi-tenure landlords on reducing emissions from their offices and fleet. However these savings are dwarfed by their Scope 3 emissions, which arise from housing stock, business travel, commuting, procurement and third party services. These emissions comprise 99.4% of the total and do not yet show signs of declining
  • The research reveals for the first time that the social housing sector is failing to decouple carbon emissions from financial growth
  • Multi-tenure landlords that have undergone environmental accreditation outperform other tenures in most categories including energy efficiency of homes, sustainable transport and overheating risk.

Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive UK Green Building Council said:

“It’s now more important than ever that landlords show leadership in delivering environmental targets across their homes, offices and operations, and work together to achieve, at least, the 80% emissions reduction target by 2050 as set out in the Climate Change Act. More needs to be done to educate and engage both landlords and residents in the business case for sustainability”.

Bevan Jones, Managing Director of Baker Homes said the research provided real insight into the issues that multi-tenure landlords, developers, designers and local authorities should be addressing.

“Multi-tenure landlords have been carrying the burden of housebuilding for a long time and should be commended, but we cannot just focus on numbers at the expense of the environment and our commitments as a country. The message is simple – we need quality, sustainable homes that realise the benefits now, but in the decades that follow”

 Download The Review: Safe as houses here 

Notes to editors:

  • The report, titled The Review: Safe as Houses, Sustainability of the social housing sector, is to be launched formally at the CIH Housing conference in Manchester at 11.30 on June 27th.
  • An embargoed copy of the report can be downloaded here. The research was undertaken with the support of H+H.
  • Baker Homes is a not-for-profit consultancy and research body, providing advice and assistance to the housing sector. It manages SHIFT, an independent assessment and accreditation scheme that demonstrates how organisations are delivering against challenging environmental targets. Over 60 landlords from around the United Kingdom are involved, managing in excess of 1 million homes between them.
  • Achieving SHIFT accreditation is evidence that an organisation is not only committed to improving sustainability but is backing its words with action. SHIFT drives change by providing organisations with recommendations for improvement and comparing their performance against their peers. SHIFT helps organisations improve the quality of life for their residents and staff through higher quality homes and offices.
  • For further information please contact Joana Malato 0208 9730 405 or
Joana Malato

Joana Malato

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