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How the pandemic has become a tipping point for change

An outcome of the pandemic has been better action towards existing challenges. Challenges many were previously unaware of. But in a stripped back world, with less to focus on and more time to think, we cannot continue to ignore the issues we’re facing.

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Rose Bean, Abri.jpg
Rose Bean, Abri.jpg

As a sector we talk often about our duty to help change the ‘landscape’, whether that is building more homes, investing in communities or, indeed, tackling climate change. It’s the challenge of a generation, but if we come together and begin to take action, we can hope to see a brighter future.

Climate change has come into sharper focus during Covid. During the first lockdown many of us marvelled at clear waters and new nature springing up around us, less affected by human impact. It made us think more widely about our own commitments to protecting the environment while we go about building at least 1,000 new homes a year for the next ten.

Embracing challenge and change

We’re determined to play our part in achieving the Government’s 2050 net zero target. To do this we’ve developed a roadmap for decarbonising our stock, set higher build standards which ensure our new homes are zero carbon ready and not adding to the retrofit challenge, and pledged to use Modern Methods of Construction on at least 25% of our new builds. These are small steps that together can make a big impact.

Our approach to the climate emergency is holistic, we recognise the role and value that the social housing sector has to play in societal and behavioural shifts that support long term carbon reductions.

Simple step change can lead to maximum impact

Many housing providers have thousands of customers and many employees too. Thinking about that collective impact is really important and if we can use our channels to reach those people the outcome could be significant. The average individual generates emissions in excess of 8 tCO2e per annum so the investment required to drive this agenda forwards is minimal but the resulting carbon reductions significant.

To drive change we have launched our carbon academy and have committed to providing carbon literacy to all colleagues within a two year period, giving our people the tools to both support our wider corporate carbon reductions but also drive a culture of change. We’re also encouraging colleagues to consider their own carbon footprint and inspiring them to make small but meaningful lifestyle changes. We’re investing in technology, too. We’re launching an app shortly that will be available to both our colleagues and customers and will help them to track their carbon footprint and suggest ways to reduce it.

Now, at the tail-end of a strange 12 months, people are much more willing when it comes to embracing change than they might have been previously. This is an opportunity to embrace that spirit and use it to tackle climate change, together.

Rose Bean, director of asset management and regeneration, Abri

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