Thrive

Designing an ESG Strategy

Altair has been working with Thrive to design and create its ESG strategy, ensuring alignment with the Sustainability Reporting Standards for Social Housing and Thrive’s wider corporate strategy to deliver excellence in ESG.

About the project

When Altair was engaged, Thrive had recently devised a new corporate plan and strategic structure, which the future ESG strategy had to be cognisant of.

Additionally, with ambitious growth plans, it was imperative that any forthcoming ESG strategy supported Thrive to grow sustainably, both financially, socially and environmentally.

Historically, sustainability had not been at the forefront of Thrive’s activities, partly due to the absence of a dedicated Sustainability team and the lack of environmental themes integrated into existing frameworks. Consequently, sustainable initiatives and their integration into business-as-usual activities were ad hoc. Another challenge was the diverse perspectives within the organisation on how sustainability was perceived across the business, whose responsibility it was to drive results in the field, and how these efforts would be evaluated and appraised. Altair’s involvement signalled a pivotal shift in addressing and rectifying these challenges.

Altair played a crucial role as a supportive advisor to Thrive’s Environment and Sustainability Lead. In the initial stages of the project, Altair assisted Thrive in mapping out its baseline carbon impact to establish a clear starting point. After multiple engagements with key internal departments, it was determined that the most effective approach to implementing a future ESG strategy was to integrate its fundamentals into Thrive’s pre-existing sub-strategies, created to support the overall corporate plan.

Working closely together, Altair and Thrive crafted a vision, outlined key objectives, and developed a set of implementation actions tailored to each of Thrive’s seven sub-strategies: Finance, Development, Asset Management, Customer, Colleague, Technology and data, and EDI. This collaborative effort involved shaping content with input from the Executive Director and Directors accountable for delivering the respective sub-strategies.

As part of this work, we built into the colleague sub-strategy objectives and mechanisms required to ensure widespread recognition and rewards across the business for achieving Thrive’s ESG-focused objectives. This inclusion was pivotal in guaranteeing the implementation and realisation of benefits associated with the overarching ESG strategy.

Results

The revised sub-strategies are currently undergoing the final approval process within Thrive’s governance structure. As delivery in line with these documents has been built into the performance management framework, it is envisaged that Thrive will take a proactive approach to mobilising the plans set out.

Since this project, Thrive has initiated a review of its development and asset management specifications to ensure they are aligned to deliver low-carbon, energy-efficient homes. By incorporating Thrive’s ESG objectives into the sub-strategies, the tracking of progress and reporting now falls within Thrive’s pre-existing governance structure, ensuring accountability among the relevant stakeholders for successful delivery.

Altair supported Thrive in creating both our ESG response and the first iteration of our organisation’s carbon footprint, setting the foundations for autonomous reporting in future years. For the former, Altair helped create a strategy that was specific to our needs whilst ensuring it remained comprehensive and would hold up to scrutiny. Their holistic approach ensured a well-rounded and well-informed result, which was cognisant of many external factors and internal nuances. Ultimately, this was critical to the strategy's success. For the latter, the CFPR tool supplied was simple to use and extremely effective. Altair’s balanced approach to support enabled us to run with the tool without being suffocated whilst still providing ample expertise where needed to ensure we produced as accurate a baseline footprint as possible with the data we had. We look forward to working closely with Altair in the future.
Elliot Nichols, Environment & Sustainability Lead

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