Corporate Social Responsibility
At Abt, mission-driven doesn’t just describe our work; it reflects the way we operate and how we engage with our clients, colleagues, and the world. Our mission and the goal of everything we do is to improve the quality of life and economic well-being of people worldwide—every day.
Acting on Climate Change
Climate change exacerbates every social and environmental challenge we seek to address. That’s why Abt is committed to aggressively reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within our operations, our supply chain, and within the products and services we deliver to our clients around the world.
Our Climate Commitments:
- Expand our GHG reduction target to cover Abt’s global footprint
- Align our GHG reduction strategy to keep warming to a 1.5°C pathway
- Reach science-based net zero emissions by 2050
- Set an interim science-based target of 38.6% reduction (Scope 1+2 and Scope 3) by 2027 over 2019 levels
We have tracked Abt’s GHG emissions since 2012 and achieved a 49.7% reduction in our U.S.-based emissions as of 2019—beating our first reduction target. In doing so, we expanded Abt’s GHG inventory to encompass our global operations—including Abt Britain and Australia—as well as additional sources of emissions like telecommuting.
Prior to COP26, Abt joined the global Business Ambition for 1.5°C and Race to Zero campaigns, making the commitment to align our climate mitigation targets with the goal of keeping global warming to 1.5°C and reaching science-based net-zero emissions by 2050. Our near-term science-based target was validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in June 2022. Abt’s expanded near-term target is as follows:
Abt Associates commits to reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions 38.6% by 2027 from a 2019 base year. Abt Associates also commits to reduce absolute Scope 3 GHG emissions from fuel and energy related activities, business travel, and employee commuting 38.6% within the same timeframe.
SBTi has classified Abt’s Scope 1 and 2 target ambition as aligned to a 1.5°C trajectory and Scope 3 target as exceeding the minimum ambition for the 2°C pathway under the Absolute Contraction Approach in the target year of 2027. At the time of validation, SBTi had not developed guidance for Scope 3 targets aligned to more ambitious pathways (1.5°C). Abt has chosen an aggressive Scope 3 target that mirrors the level of ambition in our Scope 1 and 2 target and will revisit this as more guidance becomes available. We will also continue to use a location-based approach to setting, reporting, and reducing our GHG emissions.
To further our transparency and deepen our climate commitments, we will begin our net-zero target validation with SBTi in January 2023.
GHG Emissions Actual v. Target
GHG Emissions by Source
Making an Impact in Our Communities
Our employees are driven, passionate, caring people who not only create impact through their work, but in their communities. We offer funding and support so staff can advance their impact outside of the office by participating in community-based service, fundraisers, and directly engage in the communities they live and work.
All of Abt’s community engagement efforts are chosen based on their alignment with our five mission-impact goals: Good Health, Economic Security, Effective Governance, Equity and Inclusion, and a Thriving Environment. From environmental cleanups to racing for a cause, every activity furthers our mission impact.
Direct service to communities is a key part of our stewardship efforts. From mentoring a South African youth group to managing volunteers at a high school robotics competition, to serving food at women’s shelters—our staff are actively engaged. One of our longstanding annual activities is the removal of invasive water chestnuts on the Mystic River near our Cambridge, Massachusetts office.
In Ethiopia, our Addis Ababa office took action to collect funds and plant more than 200 trees in response to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s national Green Legacy Initiative.
Pro Bono Work
Abt’s Emerging Impact pro bono program gives staff the opportunity to develop professionally while serving a mission-aligned non-profit. Through Emerging Impact, dozens of Abt staff have partnered with organizations focused on addressing homelessness, ending violence against women, and enhancing the well-being and development of young children.
Read more in Abt’s annual Mission Impact Report.
Donations & Drives
Being mission driven has no boundaries—and for our staff, improving people’s lives doesn’t end at the close of business. Whether it’s donation drives or disaster relief, we amplify the impact of our caring bold thinkers around the world.
We have prepared sandwiches for a local homeless shelter, hosted pop-up bookstores benefitting economically disadvantaged youth, and organized dozens of donation drives. These drives have collected clothing to help people experiencing homelessness to dress for job interviews, backpacks full of school supplies and hygiene items for children in the foster care system, holiday gifts for children living in poverty, and more. During the month of October (Pinktober), our colleagues in Papua New Guinea find creative ways to promote awareness of women’s cancers, including cervical and breast cancer, which are rapidly increasing in PNG. Initiatives like nail painting were used to raise money to purchase over 1,350 vials of cancer medication for patients in need at a local hospital.
When disaster strikes, we donate directly to organizations providing effective responses on the ground in the U.S. and internationally. To make our corporate contributions go further, Abt matches employee donations.
In an effort to raise relief funds for the bushfires in Australia, our Australian colleagues held a morning tea event, with one colleague advertising to shave her head to garner donations to support wildlife rescue efforts.
Athletes for a Cause
Our tradition of supporting athletes for a cause is a great way for staff to get moving—whether they walk, run, or bike—and to raise money for important, mission-aligned causes.
For more than 20 years, Abt has sponsored walking and running teams to raise money for AIDS Action in Boston, which advocates for HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment. We annually take part in the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge race, which supports a different organization each year. In Washington, D.C., we also annually participate in the Race for Every Child to benefit Children’s National Medical Center.
Despite having to walk, run, or bike solo during COVID-19, our staff raised thousands of dollars and found ways to make a difference—at a distance.
Committed to Transparency
Abt is deeply committed to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), in addition to reporting on our own mission impact goals through our annual Mission Impact Report and topical publications. We adhere to international frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) across our annual corporate reporting for enhanced transparency and accountability. To request a copy of our corporate Environmental Policy, please contact the Global Sustainability Program.
To evolve and deepen Abt’s understanding of how our work and operations impact key stakeholder groups, we undertook a stakeholder mapping exercise in FY23. The assessment considered internal drivers shaping how we engage with our clients, community, and employees, as well as external drivers, such as regulatory requirements, ESG reporting requirements, and ESG risks to our business. Stakeholder priorities were assessed using employee dialogues and surveys, our past ESG disclosures, peer and sector disclosure benchmarking, regulatory and legal requirements, and industry best practice.
Abt’s key stakeholder groups identified during this process include clients, suppliers, industry peers, multi-stakeholder networks and professional associations, governments and regulators, our environment and natural resources, our communities, beneficiaries of our work, Abt’s people and future talent, and ESOP shareholder and participants. Going forward, Abt will refresh this process at least once every three years under the direction of our Sustainability Committee to reassess the key stakeholders impacted through our business and operations, how we engage with them, and examples of topics and responses to maximize feedback opportunities. This information will be used to address key areas of impact—risks and opportunities—upon which to focus our materiality assessment and business strategy.