Engagement Case Studies

We engage with businesses in our portfolio in order to understand them better and to encourage a more progressive approach to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Engagement is undertaken directly by members of WHEB’s investment team and any new insights or information is fed directly back into the investment process.

We report on our engagement activity over the course of the year as well as on how successful we believe that we have been . In 2017, we engaged with 41 individual companies representing over two-thirds (68%) of the companies held in the investment strategy at the year end. In many cases we engage businesses on more than one issue in the course of the year. In total there were 111 issues that we engaged portfolio companies on with the most widespread issues being the independence of directors (28 companies) and the independence of the auditor (24 companies).

During 2017, nearly two thirds of our engagement (63%) was focused on governance issues such as director and auditor independence, remuneration policies and proposals and CEO compensation. Due to the adoption of stricter policies in 2017, particularly on director independence, but also on share buy-backs, this was a significant increase on the 38% of engagement that was focused on governance issues in 2016.

Click on a segment in the pie-chart below to see relevant engagement case studies.

Governance Case Studies:

Varian Medical Systems

ESG Disclosure Case Studies:

IPG Photonics
Acuity Brands

Social Case Studies:

Smurfit Kappa

Environmental Case Studies


We also capture information on how successful we believe we have been with our engagement. A ‘successful’ engagement is one where the company agrees to amend its approach to the issue in question. A ‘partially successful’ engagement is one where the company acknowledges our concern and agrees to consider it but does not commit to change anything. An ‘unsuccessful’ engagement is one where the company either does not respond to us or refuses to amend its practices.

Examples of WHEB engagement during 2017