Issue: Improving Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) disclosure
WABTEC is a mid-sized US business that manufactures and distributes a variety of railway equipment and technology. The company has grown significantly in recent years after acquiring a European competitor and most recently GE’s railway business. The company has not however produced any substantive disclosures on their ESG policies and performance.
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:
Like many mid-sized, US-based industrial businesses, WABTEC has historically been a poor discloser of ESG data. Over the course of 2017-18 WHEB worked with several other US-based investors including Walden Asset Management and Trillium Asset Management to encourage the company to disclose ESG policies and performance. This involved writing to senior Executives at the company and organising teleconferences with the Head of Investor Relations (IR). We held several calls with Investor Relations executives at which we discussed which ESG issues the company might address in its report as well as examples of peer businesses providing good quality disclosures.
At the end of September 2018, WABTEC published its first Corporate Social Responsibility Report. The report provided a range of useful data covering the company’s exposure to social and environmental mega-trends as well as the company’s management and performance on key issues including health and safety, environmental certifications and performance targets.