At SHIFT we closely monitor all relevant national policy, strategy and legislative changes related to sustainability and the built environment and carefully consider any resultant updates that are required to our environmental audit process.
In addition to our ongoing engagement with all the social landlords we are working with, each year we ask for input on any of the changes we have identified prior to introducing an annual update to our environmental standard and online Portal.
This year we have identified three main aspects which we consider would benefit from updating to bring them up to date with current policy and practice. Note that this year there would be an impact on our SHIFT scoring criteria from our preferred options for the proposed changes.
The following information has been sent out to all of our social housing clients. If you haven’t received the email and would like to comment, then you can do so by sending your responses to the following proposals to [email protected] before Thursday 9th November 2023.
- New water efficiency targets
Earlier this year, the Government announced new water efficiency targets. The new target is 110 litres per person per day (lpd) by 2050; this is more stringent than the previous target of 130 lpd which we have used for SHIFT scoring. This is likely to affect homes in England and Wales, but in Scotland it looks unlikely. If we adjust the SHIFT scoring (excluding homes in Scotland) to take into account the new target, and if water efficiency stays the same, the average SHIFT assessment would be awarded around 2 SHIFT points fewer.
We believe that its is key to work to the latest target and our preferred option would be to make no changes to the Bronze/Silver/Gold thresholds. This way the scoring will reflect performance to environmental targets and so could involve accepting a reduction in SHIFT points.
What would you prefer:
- (SHIFT’s preferred option) Adopt this new scoring for SHIFT 2024.
- Make no change this year but implement the change for SHIFT 2025.
- Resident engagement
We believe that we should phase out the classification of online views from “green pages” as active engagement. Having green pages will still count as 100% passive engagement. Web page counts may once have been considered relevant, but nowadays this is no replacement for face-to-face active engagement. We have not seen any evidence that page views lead to actual environmental improvements more than any other passive engagement method. This would have a negligible impact on SHIFT points. What would you prefer:
- (SHIFT’s preferred option) Do not classify green web page views as active engagement.
- Make no changes.
- Disposition of waste by maintenance subcontractors
Some SHIFT landlords have suggested that we collect disposition of waste (where waste has ended up, for example landfill, incineration, etc.) and then score according to the waste hierarchy. We recognise that this is a purer form of environmental reporting, but we also recognise that it may be far too detailed currently for most landlords to deal with. What would you prefer:
- Collect disposition information and award a higher score for subcontractors that dispose of waste further up the waste hierarchy – more points for recycling, fewer points for landfilling.
- (SHIFT’s preferred option) Consider this for future SHIFT reporting when detailed data gathering is more consistent in the sector. This does not stop landlords collecting the data for their own use in the meantime.
Other updates for information only:
- We are still considering the new Biodiversity metric to see how it can be incorporated for existing homes. We have trials ongoing to explore this, but it is too soon to incorporate this into SHIFT 2024.
- Scope 3 supply chain emissions – we will now apportion supply chain emissions to 100% i.e. if you have collected CO2 emissions from the 60% of supply chain that you spend your maintenance budget on, we will apportion this up to 100% to represent the rest of the supply chain – this has a minimal impact on SHIFT scoring.
- We have started to estimate embodied CO2 in new build homes – we report this for information only and have no immediate plans to use it in SHIFT scoring, but we’d be interested in landlords’ views on this.
- The Sustainability Reporting Standard (SRS) version 2.0 has just launched. We will update our optional ‘Social’ questions in line with the new criteria and plan to add applicable extra (unscored) questions to the main audit pages of the SHIFT portal.
Any other comments
Please let us have any other comments on the updates above or anything else related to SHIFT.
As in previous years, we will proceed based on a simple majority of responses. If you would like any further clarification or information on the above then please do not hesitate to contact us, otherwise we will look forward to receiving your feedback.
If you aren’t yet working with SHIFT and would like a complete environmental assessment (carbon, water, climate resilience, biodiversity) of all your buildings and operations then please get in touch.
Image by Evan Dennis on Unsplash