MSA Safety

Q4 2022 Engagement case study: Net Zero Carbon

Founded in Pittsburgh in 1914, MSA originally stood for ‘Mine Safety Appliances’. This was changed in 2014 to ‘MSA Safety’ to reflect the broader range of products the company has developed. Today, MSA still manufactures products such as fixed gas and flame detection systems which are used across industry. They are also a leading manufacturer of self-contained breathing apparatus and fire helmets for firefighters as well as fall protection equipment for working at height.

Engagement issue
Net zero carbon targets

Engagement objective
Encourage the company to set a net zero carbon target.

Scope and process
WHEB’s Voting Policy requires a vote against the election of the Chair or lead director where the company does not have a net zero carbon target. It also requires writing to company management to explain our reasons for voting against their recommendations, which is what we did after voting at MSAs 2022 AGM. Initially the company did not respond to this letter, however, later in the year, our Associate Fund Manager Victoria MacLean met the company’s Investor Relations Director at a conference where she raised the topic again.

Successful. After this discussion, MSA asked for WHEB’s input in setting such a goal. We have since given full feedback and detailed insights during a call. This included our own perspective on sustainability and the internal targets that we work towards at WHEB. In addition, we provided details on what we expect from companies when they set carbon targets and strategy. WHEB is delighted to see one of our portfolio companies take proactive steps towards creating beneficial real economy impacts and we will continue to support MSA in setting net zero targets and strategy.