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Customers from our Customer and Community Influence Network and four Locality Influence Networks have given their support to the work we are doing to become a more sustainable organisation.

In a workshop held at the start of August, director of treasury Imran Mubeen and director of strategic property planning Laura Johnson spoke to a small group of passionate customers about how we’ve been embedding sustainability into everything we do, from environmental measures such as reducing carbon emissions to social measures such as the number of homes we let to homeless families, to governance measures such as reducing our gender pay gap. It was the second such workshop we have held with customers to talk about our journey to becoming a more sustainable organisation, following an initial workshop in January.

This latest session touched on how we are bringing sustainability issues into the way we secure financing from investors and banks. We have been a pioneer in sustainable finance in the housing sector in recent years. We were the first to issue a green loan, where the interest rate payable on the loan is lower if we meet targets on improving the energy efficiency of our homes. This was followed by a loan with similar targets linked to lower interest rates for reducing our gender pay gap. Earlier this year we secured a new £75m loan with two targets linked to coaching 1,400 customers into employment or training and reducing the number of colleague sick days from an average of 9 days to 6.5 days by 2028.

But Imran told the workshop that whilst investors are interested in hearing how we are becoming more sustainable, we would only consider introducing sustainability measures if it improves the lives of our customers and will do so based on evidence and feedback from customers. He explained that the measure to support customers into training or employment would evolve over time based on the feedback from customers.

“We want to hear from customers about what coaching they’d want from us to help them into employment or training,” he said. “What we absolutely will not be doing is forcing customers onto training courses that offer them no real benefit just to meet our targets. It has to be something that’s meaningful for customers that provides them with something worthwhile that allows them to thrive.”

Customers also heard about how we are improving our waste management and reducing the amount we send to landfill, the standards we apply to all our homes including how we estimate the lifecycles for things like kitchens and bathrooms, and the application of new technology.

CCIN member Debra Knott said: “Imran and Laura really brought the whole subject to life. And it’s refreshing to hear that Bromford will be challenging investors on their assumptions about sustainability if it’s not actually right for customers.

Fellow CCIN member Carol Moore added that while the CCIN usually looks at things from the view of the customer, understanding the other side of the issue, especially from a financial point of view is incredibly useful.

Read more about how we're becoming a more sustainable organisation.

Writing about all things housing related for more than 10 years.

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