GRI 100: UNIVERSAL STANDARDS

GRI 102: General Disclosures

1. Organizational Profile

Abt Associates, Inc.

Founded in 1965, Abt Associates is a consulting and research firm that works on U.S. domestic policy and international development. Abt uses data and bold thinking to improve the quality of people's lives worldwide. From increasing crop yields and combatting infectious disease, to ensuring safe drinking water and promoting access to affordable housing—and more—we partner with clients and communities to tackle their most complex challenges. Our diverse staff of more than 3,700 operate on the ground in more than 50 countries alongside our clients, enabling us to tailor our solutions to meet their needs and the needs of those they serve.

We operate in more than 50 countries around the world with ten locations in the U.S., two in Australia, and one in the U.K.

We are a privately held company. Our employee stock ownership program (ESOP) was established in 1975, just ten years after the company was founded. It is one of the oldest ESOPs in the U.S. and no one individual has a significant share of ownership.

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See the About Us section in the 2020 Mission Impact Report

Abt Associates serves more than 50 countries and territories in the regions of Australia, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Americas, South and Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Total Number of Employees: 3,700+

  • Total Number of Operations: 13 corporate, numerous worldwide field offices

  • FY19 Revenue: $660M

  • FY19 Assets: $249M

  • 250+ clients served

  •  17,800+ partner organizations engaged

Associated UNGC Principle: 6
Associated SDG: 8

In FY20 we updated our methodology to reflect average headcount across the fiscal year ((first day FY20 - last day FY20)/2).

Percent of employees by employment contract and sex, Abt U.S.:

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Percent of employees by employment contract and sex, Abt Australia and Britain: 

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Percent of employees by employment contract and region, Abt U.S.:

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Percent of employees by employment contract and region, Abt Australia and Britain:

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Percent of employees by employment type and sex, Abt U.S.:

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Percent of employees by employment type and sex, Abt Australia and Britain:

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Abt Associates is a data-driven, knowledge-based solution provider working to improve the quality of people’s lives worldwide. Abt Associates deploys a services-based supply chain, delivering services as initiated by customer demand, and partnering with clients and communities to tackle their most complex challenges. The largest input for the production of our services is labor, both internal and external. Therefore, our most important asset is our employees and their subject matter expertise in the fields of education, environment and energy, food security and agriculture, governance and justice, health, housing and asset building, and workforce and economic mobility. We rely on a diverse supply base of over 1,700 suppliers to complement our expertise and ensure the delivery of our services and knowledge-based solutions. Customer-driven solutions that require the procurement of tangible materials are fulfilled from a diverse and global supply base, to meet customer and project demand. Payments made to suppliers supporting our supply chain for FY20 totaled $154 million. Abt Associates focuses on optimization of our supply chain making investments in IT infrastructure and labor to optimize operations, reduce costs, and ensure delivery of quality services. Investments are continual to ensure we meet our strategic plan, values, and corporate mission.

The supply chain is stable without significant change in size, structure, and ownership. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been minimal disruption in the supply materials and services to deliver our solutions. There were no major changes to our facilities other than a shift to remote work by employee assets at the end of the fiscal year. Abt Associates’ capital structure remains stable and capable of supporting supply chain operation, with no major changes in the location of our supply base nor in our strategic supplier relationships. We effectively managed any supply disruption through active supplier evaluation and monitoring and continue to invest in third party risk management activities and process improvements to ensure supply stability.

The concept of sustainability is deeply ingrained within the mission of Abt Associates. Abt’s multidisciplinary approach to solving the world’s most difficult challenges, and its inherent focus on balancing social and environmental considerations with positive economic outcome, has been part of our fabric since the very beginning in 1965.

The Precautionary Principle is a core element of how we pursue our mission. We systematically evaluate potential risks and benefits to human health and the environment across every engagement and ensure mitigation measures are employed when the risk potential is evident.

Examples of major external initiatives we engage in include:

  • CDP’s Climate Change Questionnaire

  • The Climate Registry

  • United Nations Global Compact

  • United Nations Sustainability Development Agenda 2030

  • World Resources Institute’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol

  • American Public Health Association

  • American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene

  • Humentum (Inside NGO)

  • International SOS Assistance, Inc.

  • Knowledge Alliance

  • National Contract Management Association

  • National Association of Corporate Directors

  • Professional Services Council

  • Society for International Development

  • Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness

  • The Climate Registry

  • United Nations Global Compact

  • U.S. Global Leadership Coalition

  • World Trade Center Institute, Inc.

2. Strategy

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See the Letter from Our CEO in the 2020 Mission Impact Report

3. Ethics and Integrity

Associated UNGC Principle: 10
Associated SDG: 16

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See Our Ethics & Governance section in the 2020 Mission Impact Report

Associated UNGC Principle: 10
Associated SDG: 16

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See Our Ethics & Governance section in the 2020 Mission Impact Report

We employ a number of measures to ensure staff behave in accordance with our standards and in compliance with regulations that govern our work.

 These include:

  • A comprehensive Code of Conduct.

  • Policies on business processes and procedures that are easily accessible to all employees.

  • Robust training on policies regarding corrupt practices, anti-trafficking, freedom from harassment and non-retaliation.

  • Two 24-hour anonymous helplines for reporting any potential misconduct, one monitored by management and one monitored by the Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee.

  • One WhatsApp line managed by Abt’s Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer.

4. Governance

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See Our Ethics & Governance section in the 2020 Mission Impact Report

Our Human and Reputational Capital Committee is updated several times per year on topics pertaining to social, environmental, and economic impacts.

Additional information on our governance structure can be found on our website: abtassociates.com

Accountability and direction for strategic issues—including those pertaining to economic, social, and environmental topics—are ultimately set by our Board of Directors, specifically the Human and Reputational Capital Committee. Chief executives then delegate oversight of actions accordingly to Vice Presidents, Directors, and Senior Managers, with regular reporting of progress and challenges to both executive and board-level leaders.

Abt's Senior Manager of Impact and Sustainability regularly reports to our executive leaders and the Board of Directors on Abt's sustainability strategy, priorities, goals, and performance.

Associated SDGs: 5, 16

Abt's Board of Directors is comprised of ten members, including the Chairman of the Board and Abt's CEO. Board members sit across four committees: Finance and Audit, Nominating and Governance, Human and Reputational Capital, and Compensation, and two sub-committees: ESOP and Operating Model.

Associated SDG: 16

Gary Perlin, retired Chief Financial Officer of Capital One Financial Corporation, currently serves as Chairman of the Board.

Associated SDGs: 5, 16

The Nominating and Governance Committee of the Board nominates Directors based on their independence and diversity, as well as their experience and expertise in a variety of areas including economic, environmental, and social topics. In evaluating each candidate, the Committee considers factors such as willingness and ability to devote sufficient time to his or her duties as a Director, willingness to leverage relationships to attract top and diverse talent, a confident personality, tolerance for ambiguity, and an informed and reasoned approach to complex business problems.

Associated SDG: 16

Annually, each Director updates his or her conflict of interest form. The Board Secretary works with Abt's General Counsel and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer to ensure that mitigation plans are in place if conflicts of interest are identified.

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See Our Ethics & Governance section in the 2020 Mission Impact Report

Goals pertaining to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are developed by Abt's Global Sustainability Program Operations Committee and approved by the executive leadership team.

Abt's sustainability reporting is formally reviewed and approved by our Chief Executive Officer, Kathleen Flanagan.

6. Reporting Practice

  • 1. Abt Associates, Inc.

  • 2. Abt Associates Australia Pty Ltd

    • i. Subsidiary: Abt Britain Limited

This report spans multiple time frames depending on the topic in focus. This includes the 2019 calendar year (CY), Abt’s 2020 fiscal year (FY) (April 2019 to March 2020), and our clients’ fiscal year designations. All relevant timeframes are noted throughout the report.

Our last report, the Mission Impact Report: 2019 Update, was published in June 2019.

We issue our Mission Impact Report on an annual basis in June.

Please send comments or questions about this Report to impact@abtassoc.com

This Report has not been prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards, Comprehensive option but includes content we have selected to disclose publicly at this time. Abt has voluntarily followed GRI reporting guidelines since our inaugural Mission Impact Report, published June 2018.

This document is organized by GRI Disclosures and serves as our GRI Content Index.

We do not engage in external assurance for GRI reporting at this time.

GRI 200: ECONOMIC DISCLOSURES

GRI 201: Economic Performance

Associated UNGC Principle: 6
Associated SDGs: 5, 7, 8, 9

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See Our Financial Health section in the 2020 Mission Impact Report.

Associated UNGC Principles: 6, 7
Associated SDGs: 8, 13

Abt continually assesses portfolio risks and opportunities, including market and reputational risks and opportunities related to climate change. Abt manages risks and opportunities by expanding our capabilities, expanding the markets and countries we serve, and by winning more impactful work that will help our clients address their climate-related risks and opportunities. In 2018, Abt became a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact and annually submits our Communication on Progress to demonstrate how we integrate the Ten Principles into our business operations and portfolio, including those addressing the environment. In addition, Abt publicly discloses our greenhouse gas emissions inventory annually to The Climate Registry and submits the Climate Change Questionnaire with the CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project.

GRI 202: Market Presence

In FY20, 83% of our senior managers were hired from the local community. The local community is defined by Local Country National (LCN) status. LCNs are employees whose nationality is the same as the country in which the project office is located. Abt emphasizes sourcing local talent to fill positions in our project offices to further support the communities in which we work.

GRI 205: Anti-Corruption

Associated UNGC Principle: 10
Associated SDG: 16

We use an enterprise risk management (ERM) framework based on global risk management standards, including COSO and ISO 31000, to conduct an annual assessment process. Corruption risks are included in this assessment.

Associated UNGC Principle: 10
Associated SDG: 16

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See Our Ethics & Governance section in the 2020 Mission Impact Report

For additional information, see our 2019 UNGC Communication on Progress

GRI 300: ENVIRONMENTAL DISCLOSURES

GRI 302: Energy

Associated UNGC Principles: 7, 8
Associated SDGs: 7, 8, 12, 13

Energy consumption within the organization:

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Associated UNGC Principles: 8, 9
Associated SDGs: 7, 8, 12, 13

See Disclosure 302-1 for more information.

GRI 305: Emissions

Associated UNGC Principles: 7, 8
Associated SDGs: 3, 12, 13, 14, 15

GHG emissions by Scope:

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Direct (Scope 1) GHG emissions:

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Associated UNGC Principles: 7, 8
Associated SDGs: 3, 12, 13, 14, 15

Energy indirect (Scope 2) GHG emissions:

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Associated UNGC Principles: 7, 8
Associated SDGs: 3, 12, 13, 14, 15

Other indirect (Scope 3) GHG emissions:

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Associated UNGC Principles: 8, 9
Associated SDGs: 13, 14, 15

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See Our Environmental Responsibility section in the 2020 Mission Impact Report

In 2019, we successfully completed external verification of our 2017 and 2018 GHG emissions. Adhering to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, Abt includes CO2, CH4, and N2O in our emission inventory and measures our emissions in Scope 1, 2, and 3.

We are committed to externally verifying our emissions on a biennial cycle and publically report our inventory to The Climate Registry. Abt's GHG inventories for the years 2012 through 2018 have been externally verified to reasonable assurance standards for Scope 1 and 2 emissions and to limited assurance standards for Scope 3 emissions.

In 2019, our total emissions were 4,313 MT CO2e, representing a 22.7% year-over-year reduction from 2018 and a cumulative reduction of 49.7% from the 2012 base year. Emissions for 2019 and 2020 will be verified in 2021.

GRI 400: SOCIAL DISCLOSURES

GRI 401: Employment

Associated UNGC Principle: 6
Associated SDGs: 5, 8

In FY20 we updated our methodology to calculate hire and turnover rates more accurately, measuring the number of hires or turnovers per category and dividing by the average headcount. Therefore rates will not add up to 100%.

As Abt wins more international-based projects, our rate of international hiring will increase. Depending on the country, this will have implications for male/female rates by country.

Hire rates, Abt U.S.:

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Hire rates, Abt Australia and Britain:

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Turnover rates, Abt U.S.:

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Turnover rates, Abt Australia and Britain:

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Associated SDG: 8

Abt Associates is committed to providing a comprehensive suite of benefits for the health and wellness (physical and financial) of our employees and their eligible dependents/family members.

Our U.S.-based employees who regularly work 30 hours or more each week are eligible immediately to participate in our comprehensive benefits package, which includes company-subsidized medical and dental insurance plans, company-funded life insurance, disability plans and leave plans, business travel accident insurance, and an employee assistance plan. Employees can choose from a variety of employee-paid benefits offered through payroll deductions, including flexible spending plans, supplemental life and disability insurance, and vision coverage. Employees are also eligible for parental leave—which provides 100% base salary replacement for up to five days in their first year of employment and up to ten days after one year of employment—following the birth of an employee’s child or the placement of a child with an employee in connection with adoption. Abt will contribute a certain percentage of its profits each year to eligible employees (U.S. citizens and permanent residents) via the employee stock ownership program (ESOP) as well as provide a generous matching contribution to the employee’s 401K.

Abt’s Expatriate and Third Country National employees enjoy the same benefits as our U.S.-based employees.

Associated UNGC Principle: 6
Associated SDGs: 5, 8

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 See Supporting Mothers in the Field section in the 2020 Mission Impact Report

Per Abt's Parental Leave Policy, all employees working 30 hours or more are entitled to parental leave, regardless of sex. New parents can receive ten days of full paid leave when they welcome a new child into their life, through birth or adoption. Through our Adoption Assistance benefit, Abt will reimburse $5,000 in costs associated with an adoption process.

See Disclosure 401-2 for more information.

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GRI 402: Labor/Management Relations

Associated UNGC Principle: 3
Associated SDG: 8

Abt’s standard practice is to ensure that employees are well-informed in advance of operational and procedural changes. Our company was founded on participatory principles and we have maintained that practice throughout our company's history. From a corporate planning perspective, we conduct a five-year strategic planning process with annual updates. In general, all major operational changes are decided and announced during this process, thereby providing employees between one to five years notice. Of course, changes may be required within the course of a year, in which case the decision is announced directly to staff affected by the change(s).

Our approach is to provide the “what, how, and when” for employees and then involve staff and/or collect input from staff to inform decisions and direction based on employee feedback. Ideally, employees are included in the design and implementation processes, thereby maximizing their input. For example, changes in our annual performance review process reflected employee feedback on the existing process and included a six-month notice period. The decision to implement a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system was announced a year in advance and included employee representatives on implementation teams. The decision to move office locations and design new office space was announced five years in advance and included employee visioning sessions and employee input and feedback throughout the process.

GRI 403: Occupational Health and Safety

Associated SDG: 8

An occupational health and safety management system has not been implemented at this time.

Abt had 12 reportable Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) injuries in FY20. The 12 injuries were the result of flea bites experienced by staff in McAllen, Texas, which has a very high number of fleas due to the heat and humidity of the area. A combination of the location and infrastructure repairs needed on the roof of our leased space resulted in a possum gaining access to the building, spreading the fleas indoors. The building has since been repaired and undergone proper treatment for the removal of the fleas and animals.

Associated SDGs: 3, 8

The vast majority of domestic employees work in an office environment where work-related hazards are minimal. Most injuries are either slip and fall injuries or those related to wrist strain due to typing. Our HR and Benefits team meets on an annual basis with our workers compensation carrier to review claims and identify patterns that would require intervention. Recommendations are reviewed for potential implementation at this time. Additionally, in the U.S., Abt must comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations around worker safety.

Employees have many avenues for reporting a work-related injury: they can contact the HR Service Center, report to Facilities in the office in which they work, report to their manager or contact the HR and Benefits team directly. All reports come to Benefits for reporting to our workers compensation carrier. Abt's Non-Retaliation Policy protects workers from retaliation for good-faith reporting of any possible improper activity.

Abt employees have resources in place to raise issues about their work situation either directly to their manager or to HR. They can also contact Abt's Employee Advisory Council if they are not satisfied with the response from their manager or HR.

For repetitive stress injuries, we use our workers' compensation carrier to perform ergonomic assessments to identify adjustments to work stations that will allow an employee to work without discomfort. The carrier may recommend changes to the work station, or equipment that will reduce discomfort (such as a natural keyboard) that Abt will provide.

Associated SDGs: 3, 8

Abt's workers' compensation carrier performs ergonomic assessments to minimize the risk of repetitive stress injuries at employees' request. Employee access is facilitated by sharing information on Abt's intranet, required postings in all offices and communicating process for reporting accidents and injuries during new employee orientation. Abt secures personal health information and ensures that information on employee work-related injuries is not used for favorable or unfavorable treatment by keeping access to this information restricted to Benefits staff.

Associated SDG: 8

Abt does not have a process for worker participation and consultation in the development, implementation, and evaluation of the occupational health and safety management system.

Abt does not provide training beyond informing employees about the reporting process noted in Disclosure 403-2.

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See Our Employee Wellness section in the 2020 Mission Impact Report

Abt provides medical coverage to all employees working at least 30 hours per week and subsidizes approximately 70% of the cost. Employees also have access to complimentary flu shots, subsidized exercise classes, chair massages, a bike maintenance subsidy, and a bike sharing membership discount to encourage exercise.

Abt offers many voluntary health promotions, including a step and weight loss challenges, on-site gyms in two offices, and medical screening incentives. We also offer supplemental health insurance programs that are employee funded. Our Work/Life Assistance Plan offers many seminars on topics such as stress relief, depression, marital conflict, and financial issues. Employees also have access to counselors at no cost.

Abt publishes desk setup guidance for ergonomic comfort and provides ergonomic assessments for employees who request assistance.

See Disclosure 403-2 for more information.

Work-related injuries:

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The 12 injuries were the result of flea bites experienced by staff in McAllen, Texas, which has a very high number of fleas due to the heat and humidity of the area. A combination of the location and infrastructure repairs needed on the roof of our leased space resulted in a possum gaining access to the building, spreading the fleas indoors. The building has since been repaired and undergone proper treatment for the removal of the fleas and animals.

Work-related ill health:

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GRI 404: Training and Education

Associated SDG: 8

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See Our Leaders at All Levels section in the 2020 Mission Impact Report

Abt provides learning and development opportunities for staff through LinkedIn Learning, which offers over 10,000 diverse courses. LinkedIn Learning content, along with dedicated time to learn, allows Abt staff to meet just-in-time needs as well as accomplish long-term goals. Abt also supports continued education/training through our professional development assistance program, which helps cover the cost of expenses incurred while pursuing a degree or professional certification. Internal courses, brown bags and workshops are hosted throughout each year on a wide variety of topics. Access to technical on-demand training is available for staff. Abt is highly supportive of on-the-job learning and has created tools and an environment where stretch assignments and internal mobility opportunities help staff develop new skills.

Associated UNGC Principle: 6
Associated SDGs: 5, 8

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See Continuous Performance Management section in the 2020 Mission Impact Report

Performance Review Evaluation Plan (PREP) is Abt's annual performance evaluation process in which all employees—in all locations worldwide—are provided with feedback, a rating for goals and competencies and the opportunity to create a professional development plan. 100% of Abt staff who were hired by December 31st of the previous year participate in our annual PREP review process. All staff also participate in our Continuous Performance Management program throughout the year. This program allows for timely, concise feedback that can be given and discussed immediately in real time.

GRI 405: Diversity and Equal Opportunity

Associated UNGC Principle: 6
Associated SDGs: 5, 8

Diversity of governance bodies:

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Diversity of employees, Abt U.S.:

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Diversity of employees, Abt Australia and Britain:

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GRI 410: Security Practices

Associated UNGC Principle: 1
Associated SDG: 16

We have a strict, zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct of any kind. We require all Abt Associates U.S. employees and international field staff to complete training modules on human rights, trafficking, child protection, preventing sexual exploitation and abuse, reporting harassment, investigations, and retaliation. In FY20, 100% of Abt Associates U.S. staff completed training on all modules.

The Abt Associates Institutional Review Board (IRB) ensures that relevant staff take training on research integrity and protection of human research participants every three years. This is a three-hour on-line training, which is available in ten different languages. The IRB supplements this online with role-based training on other topics, such as privacy laws (e.g., HIPAA) open data policies (e.g., USAID’s) and ethical issues specific to a methodology (e.g., qualitative research with vulnerable populations). Of staff engaged with research participants, 100% are trained in these topics at all times.

GRI 412: Human Rights Assessment

Associated UNGC Principle: 1

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See Our Ethics & Governance section in the 2020 Mission Impact Report

Our researchers study some of the most important and relevant questions facing the world today, from the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, to evaluating the effectiveness of strategies to reduce barriers to family planning services. Social, behavioral, and educational research can pose risks to privacy and confidentiality as well as ethical challenges, especially studies involving vulnerable populations. As part of its commitment to conducting research that meets the highest ethical standards, Abt Associates maintains its own Institutional Review Board (IRB) to safeguard research participants’ rights rights and welfare and to protect their personal information.

The IRB review typically includes assessment of: 1) the informed consent process and research design; 2) compliance with country or state privacy laws; 3) a safety plan for studies involving vulnerable populations to ensure those in need are referred to appropriate resources, e.g., helplines for veterans, and study teams complied with mandated reporting requirements, e.g., potential child neglect and abuse; 4) a detailed data security plan and data agreements; and 5) certificates of confidentiality or privacy certificates to protect participants’ sensitive research data.

The Abt Associates IRB ensures that staff take training on research integrity and protection of human research participants every three years. This is a three-hour on-line training, which is available in ten different languages. The IRB supplements this online with role-based training on other topics, such as privacy laws (e.g., HIPAA), open data policies (e.g., USAID’s), and ethical issues specific to a methodology (e.g., qualitative research with vulnerable populations).

Abt had zero reported violations of human rights abuses through any of our employees, clients, suppliers, or research participants in FY20.

Associated UNGC Principle: 1

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See Our Ethics & Governance section in the 2020 Mission Impact Report

Associated UNGC Principle: 2

Abt is compliant with all of its U.S. Government contracts containing the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) clause found at FAR 52.222-50, titled “Combating Trafficking in Persons.” Additionally, upon issuance of a subcontract under a U.S. Government prime contract, Abt includes this same FAR clause and ensures compliance by its subcontractors. Our work performed under agreements with the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) requires that we likewise adhere to and be compliant with relevant anti-trafficking and human rights policies.

Our work for the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) strictly adheres to the Environmental and Social Safeguard Policy. Abt Associates Australia implements a robust child protection policy in compliance with DFAT’s stringent requirements driving adherence to international child safeguarding standards. In accordance with a "do no harm" approach, a number of key safeguarding requirements are implemented as part of our operations and program activities, including rigorous recruitment and screening measures, comprehensive child protection training for staff and partners, dedicated child protection resourcing across programs, detailed risk management processes, and partner capacity building.

GRI 415: Public Policy

Associated UNGC Principle: 10
Associated SDG: 16

Abt makes no political contributions.