Our CEO, Donna Cezair on how housing associations can help tackle climate change
As recommendations from the first ever Social Housing Tenants Climate Jury are announced and COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference continues, Donna Cezair our CEO shared her views on why it’s so important for the social housing sector to act now to help tackle climate change.
“Despite the massive challenges, this is a very exciting time for our sector. Housing associations have a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of the country’s work to start to bring greenhouse gas emissions to net zero. By upgrading social homes to be more energy efficient and exploring more sustainable ways of working, we and other Registered Providers (RPs) can make a significant difference to our tenants and communities now and in the future.
“At FCHO we are in the early stages of our sustainability journey, but we know that decarbonising homes is crucial for tackling climate change and delivering lots of other important benefits – from helping tenants to save money, reducing fuel poverty and providing quality homes that are fit for the future; to boosting the economy and creating jobs too.
“We are absolutely committed to achieving these aims and have recently launched our Sustainability Strategy - our roadmap to providing sustainable and affordable homes for our tenants and minimising our environmental impact. We are implementing greener ways of working, including cutting the carbon footprint of our existing and new homes, boosting biodiversity in neighbourhoods, swapping petrol powered machinery for battery operated options, and upgrading our van fleet to more sustainable vehicles, amongst other things. But we know that there’s much more work for us all to do and those who live in our homes must be at the heart of this, which is why the social housing Tenants’ Jury is so important and why we are so pleased three of our tenants are involved.
“I am delighted to be working with other RPs across the north of England and to see our tenants and their peers engaged and passionate about sustainability – they really can make a difference.
“The jurors’ recommendations include ensuring communication with tenants is honest and transparent; encouraging collaboration between housing associations, local authorities and other agencies; and being upfront about the costs to make homes more energy efficient.. There was also a clear focus on the quality of the technology being used and the need to minimise disruption and keep tenants actively informed and engaged in the process, as well as calls to raise wider awareness on climate change.
“These important views on how the sector can help to tackle climate change will help us deliver meaningful and impactful work not just here at FCHO and in Oldham, but they will also influence policy in the wider housing sector too and I’m excited to see the outcomes.”