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Landlord achieves international recognition as sustainability champion

A leading Midland housing provider has achieved international recognition for its commitment to making a positive environmental and social impact.
Jo Shields, Sustainability Lead at whg, receives the RITTERWALD certificate

whg is among the first in the UK to be accredited as a sustainable housing provider by pan-European consultancy RITTERWALD.

The Certified Sustainable Housing Label was awarded following a rigorous assessment of various aspects of the business, including whg’s work within communities and drive to reduce its carbon footprint.

whg, which owns and manages around 21,000 affordable homes across the Midlands, was particularly praised for its business-wide ‘carbon literacy’ training, designed to educate and inspire colleagues about the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The Certified Sustainable Housing Label reflects an organisation’s dedication to operating sustainably, being transparent and accountable, its contribution to society and environmental responsibility.

whg was given the highest rating as a ‘frontrunner’ for its social impact and ‘ambassador’ ranking both for its environmental credentials and the way it runs the business.

RITTERWALD concluded that whg had achieved “an excellent score”.

Its reports states: “whg proved deep commitment to sustainability, which exceeded the minimum requirements by far. It has undertaken a programme of events and engagement around carbon literacy to embed sustainability and engage all colleagues on this important issue.”

whg is also the first housing association to pilot RITTERWALD’s new Convene environmental, social and governance (ESG) software platform, a data system which makes it easier and quicker to process information and report on performance against ESG standards.

Jo Shields, Sustainability Lead at whg, said: “We are delighted to have received this prestigious, internationally recognised accreditation and to have been rated so highly by the assessors.

“The Certified Sustainable Housing Label provides external validation and assurance that we are doing all we can to operate in a sustainable, ethical and socially responsible way across our business, from how we develop new homes to how we inspire our teams to join us in tackling the climate crisis.”

Rob Gilham, Corporate Director of Business Strategy and Assets at whg, said: “As a social landlord, we are committed to doing the right thing for our customers, our communities and the planet.

“We are keen to embed sustainability as a core guiding principle for how we operate. As well as protecting the environment, for us this means enabling individuals and neighbourhoods to thrive.

“The Certified Sustainable Housing Label demonstrates how far we have come on our journey towards decarbonising our business while providing high quality homes which are fit for the future.”

whg has reduced its carbon emissions by 4,000 tonnes since 2021. Its work has included cutting waste by 26%, electricity use by 15% and gas by 2%.

It has created its own accredited Carbon Literacy training programme for colleagues and focused on low-carbon living during its 2022 all-colleague conference. whg also launched its first Sustainability Strategy earlier this year, detailing how it plans to deliver on its ambitions.

RITTERWALD developed the Certified Sustainable Housing Label to promote sustainability and assess housing providers’ performance against more than 50 ESG criteria, which is then externally verified by specialist rating agency imug rating.

whg is one of just a dozen of housing associations to achieve the accreditation since the label was launched in the UK in 2019.

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