Company Engagement Case Study

Acuity Brands

Issue: Improving Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) disclosure

Acuity Brands is a mid-sized US business that manufactures and distributes lighting fixtures and systems. The company has been a leader in the development and deployment of high efficiency lighting systems. However, the company has resisted ours and other investors’ efforts to encourage them to improve their disclosure of ESG issues

Objective:

The specific objective from our engagement with the company was to encourage them to produce disclosures on material ESG issues facing the company.

Scope and process:

The Board of Acuity Brands has resisted our efforts to provide ESG disclosures for many years. In 2017 we co-filed a shareholder resolution which secured the support of 49.8% of shares that were cast. Initially the company had indicated that they would adhere to the shareholder resolution’s objective and produce a sustainability report. However, by October 2018, in spite of several efforts by ourselves and other investors, the company had not reaffirmed this commitment nor had they responded to our efforts to discuss this further with them. Consequently, in the Autumn WHEB co-filed a second shareholder resolution calling on the company to publish a sustainability report.

Following our letter announcing the filing of the resolution, the company responded by publishing a web-page outlining their commitment to produce a report during their Fiscal Year 2019.

Outcome: Partially Successful

We believe the company will now produce a sustainability report and we are looking forward to analysing it and including findings in our investment analysis.