Engaging with residents to help shape Notting Hill Genesis’s sustainability strategy

As early adopters of the NHF’s Together with Tenants Charter, Notting Hill Genesis housing association have been engaging with residents to help shape our new sustainability strategy. Our engagement activities, as well as our emerging evidence based on environmental impacts, have helped set out our ambitions for a more sustainable future.

Our sustainability strategy focuses on four areas where we need to drive change. It contains measurable objectives, with many recognising the importance of involving residents locally in the delivery of projects.

What's the story?

In spring 2022, we set out to consult and engage with residents in the development of our first comprehensive new sustainability strategy.

The engagement sought to gain both breadth and depth of insight into resident views, focusing on environmental issues and what the new strategy should prioritise in relation to homes, green spaces, and corporate impact.

While ensuring that our residents’ needs and expectations have helped define the strategy, we have also been informed by the insights of other stakeholders, including our staff, suppliers, and business leaders across our organisation.

Overall, more than 1,700 residents communicated their priorities, wants and attitudes to sustainability through an online survey with a further 712 suggestions in a free text box. Following that, we carried out in-depth engagement with a smaller group of 21 residents to explore the priorities in more detail. Residents committed four hours of their time to provide more detailed thoughts and views over two workshop sessions.

These engagement activities outlined several challenges:

  • To understand environmental issues through the lens of our residents’ immediate lives
  • To develop solutions that are tailored to the needs of individual communities
  • To work in partnership with local organisations, including community groups
  • To collectively solve problems and scale up solutions

With that in mind, and considering our wider environmental impacts, our sustainability strategy sets out four priority areas. Together, those priorities collectively describe our vision for what our homes, green spaces and business will look like in 2030 and beyond.

Our new sustainability strategy reflects our ambitions to become a truly sustainable housing association. The strategy consists of 21 objectives that span our entire business and represents an important step along our journey to becoming more sustainable.

Our engagement and collaboration with residents is just the start of what is needed and will be a critical part of our sustainability journey going forward.

What was the impact?

The sustainability strategy was launched in September 2022 with an ongoing commitment to engage with residents and continue reporting on our objectives and targets.

The strategy work delivered as part of the project incorporated some of the key principles of the Together with Tenants’ Charter. This aims to strengthen the relationship between residents and housing association landlords using six commitments.

This includes.

  • Relationships - Valuing the views, experience and passion of residents as to what the key priorities of the sustainability strategy should be. An ongoing commitment to collaborate and trust the input of residents will be crucial to the success of the sustainability strategy.
  • Communication - We committed from the outset to providing accessible and timely information on the progression of the sustainability strategy.
  • Voice and influence - We proactively gained the views of residents from the outset of the work and offered different ways to provide feedback including completing surveys and attending workshops.
  • Accountability - A dedicated web presence as part of our environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting and commitment to ongoing engagement.

Our engagement activities with residents, as well as our emerging evidence based on environmental impacts, have helped set out our sustainability priorities as a social landlord.

What can others learn from your experience?

Housing associations need to engage with residents alongside staff and key stakeholders to shape key strategic decisions and set their ambitions when delivering projects.

Notting Hill Genesis's sustainability strategy reflects our ambitions to work with residents and become a truly sustainable housing association. This includes providing a better day-to-day quality of life for our residents by making our homes more energy efficient and enhancing our green spaces, so they provide areas for people to enjoy and for nature to thrive.

We know we cannot deliver the scale of change needed without the strong support and participation of our residents, supply chain and key partners. That is why, through this strategy, we have restated our commitment to engage with residents and build partnerships to deliver sector-wide change.

Learn more about Together with Tenants

"Being able to work alongside residents from the beginning has been invaluable to the development of the sustainability strategy. Creating the space to share feedback, listen and discuss has helped us to shape our sustainability priorities around their experiences and highlights the importance of co-creation in our sector."

- Laura Shellard, Head of Sustainability at Notting Hill Genesis

Who to speak to

Evelyn Williams, Policy Officer