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May 11, 2022   

Acuity Brands Eyes Agent Territories for Something More than Sales

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North America’s largest lighting maker is serious about positive social influence at the local level


ATLANTA, GA –  Last year, $2.4 billion, or about 70% of Acuity Brands' revenues, flowed through the independent sales agent channel. Agents are a critical part of the go-to-market strategy that enable large lighting companies like Acuity and hundreds of smaller companies, too, reach distributors, specifiers, contractors and other lighting stakeholders in every nook and cranny of the U.S. and Canada.

But when a large company like Acuity wants to bring its Environmental, Social and corporate Governance (ESG) impact to a local level, how do they connect with the cities and towns where they don’t employ people? Enter the lighting agents.

Acuity’s corporate ESG program is called EarthLight. An offspring of the program is EarthLight in Action – a program that drives positive social impacts at the local level. Last year, Acuity challenged its agents to look for more ways to get involved and contribute more to their respective communities. Many were already doing so, and they embraced the opportunity to do more. Some weren’t overly active but have been driven to get more involved with some encouragement from Acuity and some friendly nudges from fellow agents.


EarthLight in Action: Andover, MA

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Above: Daniel Moynihan of Boston Light Source (center) with Ironstone Farm staff
Also pictured: Lithonia TWX LED Wall Packs and Lithonia Compact Pro High Bay. 4000K

When sales agent, Boston Light Source, was contacted to help Ironstone Farm in Andover, MA with a retrofit lighting project, it appeared to be a straightforward LED high bay and wall pack opportunity. But as the sales opportunity progressed, Boston Light Source learned more about the mission of the farm – which is a nonprofit organization that provides children and adults who suffer from physical and mental disabilities with therapeutic, educational and recreational opportunities through horse training and horseback riding.

Boston Light Source determined that the limited budget of the non-profit farm combined with Ironstone Farm’s important mission were compelling reasons that caused them to convert a Contractor Select sales order opportunity into a philanthropic donation. Acuity Brands reached into its pocket to cover much of the fixture cost. Boston Light Source hired the contractor and covered the installation costs. And, in the end, the farm was able to benefit from upgraded, energy-efficient LED lighting across the property at no charge. A feel-good situation all around.


Earthlight in Action: Irvine, CA

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Above: Jeff Teasley of Performance Lighting Systems holds a Joy Jar at The Jessie Rees Foundation HQ 

Performance Lighting Systems in Southern California got involved with a local non-profit, The Jessie Rees Foundation, that provides kids fighting cancer across the country with Joy Jars filled with goodies, small toys and ongoing encouragement to never give up. The agency would coordinate Joy Jar Stuffing Events with clients during which they convert a large conference room into Joy Jar assembly line.  Together with their client, the agency employees stuff 300-500 Joy Jars per session that were delivered to cancer wards to various Children's Hospitals.

Furthermore, Performance Lighting Systems donated monies that have fed the homeless and hungry across Southern California by providing over 59,000 meals to date.


EarthLight in Action: Atlanta, GA

During Acuity Brands' national agency sales meeting, recently held in Atlanta, Acuity organized a group event to put EarthLight in Action. Agency principals assembled 1,000 reusable lunch bags full of non-perishable food items and notes of encouragement for children experiencing homelessness and poverty in Atlanta. Five hundred lunch bags were then donated to the Gateway Center which works to connect people experiencing homelessness with the support necessary to become self-sufficient and find a permanent home. Five hundred more were donated to Wilderness Works, a non-profit that serves homeless, at-risk, and very vulnerable children.

An Acuity spokesperson shared “not only did our agents respond magnificently to getting these bags assembled for the kids, but they also reached into their own pockets during the event and donated $10,000 to the Gateway fund, which Acuity matched for a total of $20,000 given to this local organization.”

It seems unusual for multi-billion-dollar company’s national sales meeting, that involves business partners from across the country, to take valuable time away from strategy discussions and product roadmap PowerPoints by dedicating meeting time to something philanthropic. That’s EarthLight in Action.


Lighting up social causes

It’s common to see lighting companies throughout the country take actions to support their local communities and other causes that matter to them. The coordination, encouragement and partnership that Acuity is taking with its agent network is refreshing and encouraging – and it’s a good reminder that we can all create positive social influence both independently and in coordination with valuable partners.

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