The report, Investing in sustainability: progress and performance among the UK’s listed house-builders revisited is part of WWF’s One Million Sustainable Homes campaign (OMSH) the aim of which is to move sustainability from the fringes to the mainstream of UK housing. The report looks at twelve UK house-builders quoted on the FTSE All Share, together accounting for some 41 per cent of all housing units completed in the UK in 2004.
All twelve companies studied, substantially improved their performance over last year, with an average score of 68 per cent versus 47 per cent in 2004 and ten of the twelve companies in the study scoring 60 per cent or above. Three of the companies emerged as clear leaders: Crest Nicholson, Berkeley Group and George Wimpey, all scoring over 80 per cent.
Rachel Crossley, director of investor responsibility at Insight Investment said: “We are extremely encouraged by the results of this year’s benchmarking analysis. They show that all of the companies are beginning to put greater effort into managing their environmental and social impacts and reporting better on how they do so. We believe that this is due in part to the ongoing, constructive dialogue Insight and WWF have had with the companies over the last two years. The top performing companies have, in our view, begun to integrate sustainability into their business strategy. One conclusion that the report has drawn is that companies seem to be selling themselves short by not publishing sustainability reports that reflect their improved practices.”
Paul King, Director of WWF’s One Million Sustainable Homes campaign said: “We are pleased by the improvements that have been made. The results also demonstrate that contrary to perception, investors are interested in sustainability, which has often been used as an excuse in the past for failing to develop sustainable housing. However, there is no room for complacency on the part of house-builders and the Government. We still need fiscal incentives and tougher regulations.”
As with the first benchmark published in January 2004, the companies were evaluated against eighteen criteria designed to assess their strategy and governance of sustainability issues and how well they manage their impacts on the environment and their impacts on society.