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WDH releases first Environmental, Social and Governance report.

Yorkshire’s largest social housing provider, WDH has set out its performance in improving environmental, social and governance practices against the Sustainability Report Standard for Social Housing for the first time.

The new Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report is based on a voluntary standard developed to provide a consistent and credible way for housing providers to report on their ESG performance, as well as identifying actions to achieve future targets set against three key themes:

  • Environmental: Climate change, Ecology, Resource management
  • Social: Affordability and security, Building safety and quality, Resident voice, Resident support, Placemaking
  • Governance:  Structure and governance, Board and Trustees, Staff wellbeing, Supply Chain

The indicators are fast becoming more important than ever in the housing sector as providers’ actions on issues like climate change, customer engagement, employee wellbeing and the composition of their boards are closely scrutinised.

Andy Wallhead, Chief Executive of WDH, said: “Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) plays a critical role in the achievement of our vision to create confident communities. Being well governed, delivering added social value outcomes and taking our environmental responsibilities seriously, we are focussing on the wellbeing needs of our customers and communities and playing our part in mitigating climate change.

“This is the first time we have put the ESG indicators out there, allowing us to set benchmarks to identify where we are on track, and where we need to do better.”

Going forward, WDH is taking a range of actions, including:

  • improving the energy efficiency of its homes by improving insulation, to reduce carbon emissions, energy consumption and costs for its residents and meet targets to improve all existing homes to a minimum of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating Band C by 2030 where feasible;
  • trialling low and zero carbon heating systems in some of its homes;
  • reviewing specifications for its new build homes to reduce carbon emissions and comply with the 2025 Future Homes Standard;
  • implementing measures to improve the management of its green spaces and increase biodiversity;
  • working with partners to deliver regeneration schemes across its neighbourhoods; and
  • taking action to reduce its Gender Pay Gap and provide ongoing support to employee health and wellbeing

WDH has set an ambitious target to becoming net zero carbon across its business operations by 2030. Discussing the steps WDH is taking, Andy Wallhead added: “We are taking a number of actions to reduce our carbon footprint including reducing the number of operational buildings and improving energy efficiency of those that remain to help reduce the use of gas and electricity. We are also looking at options to replace petrol and diesel vehicles in our van fleet with electric or hybrid vehicles.”

“By formally adopting the Standard, which requires us to publish our 2021 / 2022 ESG report by October 2022, we are cementing our commitment to doing all we can to achieve our ambitious goals.”

For more information, download a copy of WDH’s first ESG Report

Issued 07/02/22