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 3,600 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 2021 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: 3,600

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

  • 230+ clients served

  • 3,100 partners

Associated UNGC Principle: 6
Associated SDG: 8

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See the Equity & Inclusion section in the 2021 Mission Impact Report

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

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

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

tables 03

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. Delivery of our services is pull based and initiated by customer demand. We partner 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. Our most important asset is our employees and their subject matter expertise in Education, Environment and Energy, Inclusive Economic Growth and Agriculture, Governance and Justice, Health, Housing, Communities and Asset Building, and Workforce and Economic Mobility. We rely on a diverse supply base of over 1,600 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 our diverse supply base. Abt Associates supply base is global. Requirements are sourced domestically and internationally to meet customer and project demand. Payments made to suppliers supporting our supply chain for the year totaled $155 million dollars. Abt Associates focuses on optimization of our supply chain making investments in IT infrastructure and labor that maximize our investment, reduce costs, and ensure delivery of quality services. Investments are continual to ensure we meet our strategic plan, values, and corporate mission.

Our supply chain is stable and has not experienced significant change in size, structure, and ownership this fiscal year. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we experienced minimal disruption in the supply of materials and services needed 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 operations. Abt Associates experienced no major changes in the location of our supply base as we continue to globally source materials and services. Our strategic supplier relationships remain stable with no issues. There were no significant termination of supplier engagements. We effectively managed potential disruptions through active supplier monitoring and evaluation. Abt continues investment in 3rd party risk management activities and process improvements to ensure supply chain 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

  • Economic Dividends for Gender Equality

  • The Climate Registry

  • United Nations Global Compact

  • United Nations Sustainability Development Agenda 2030

  • World Resources Institute’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol

  • AcademyHealth

  • Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management

  • Global Compact Network USA

  • Humentum (Inside NGO)

  • IntraHealth International Inc.

  • Professional Services Council

  • Society for Health Communication

  • Society for International Development

  • Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness

  • The Climate Registry

  • United States Energy Association

  • U.S. Global Leadership Campaign

  • World Trade Center Institute, Inc.

2. Strategy

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See the Letter from Our CEO in the 2021 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 2021 Mission Impact Report

Associated UNGC Principle: 10
Associated SDG: 16

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See Our Ethics & Governance section in the 2021 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 phone line managed by Abt's Director of Ethics & Compliance.

4. Governance

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See Our Ethics & Governance section in the 2021 Mission Impact Report

Our Human and Reputational Capital Board Committee is updated quarterly 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.

Our Director of Strategy, 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 twelve members, including the Chairman of the Board and Abt's CEO. Board members govern 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 and Our Environmental Responsibility sections in the 2021 Mission Impact Report

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

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

6. Reporting Practice

This report spans multiple time frames depending on the topic in focus. This includes the 2020 calendar year, Abt’s 2021 fiscal year (April 2020 to March 2021), and our clients’ fiscal year designations. All relevant timeframes are noted throughout the report.

Our last report, the Mission Impact Report 2020, was published in June 2020.

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 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 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 capabilities, markets, and countries served and by winning more impactful work that helps our clients address their climate-related risks and opportunities. In 2018, Abt became a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and submitted its inaugural Communications on Progress (COP). The COP demonstrates how we integrate the UNGC 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 to the CDP.

At the operations level, Abt assesses the energy use of each of our leased facilities, analyzing intensity metrics including those calculated with leased square footage, occupied square footage, and office headcount and attendance. This provides Abt an opportunity to gauge office utilization, track energy use, and measure and monitor associated financial implications. Abt evaluates municipality and state climate vulnerability assessments to discern risk types and the level of vulnerability at each site. Reports are generated and discussed with the Senior Director of Corporate Services with the purpose of informing which leased assets should be prioritized for retrofits or moves. While leases are typically set in five-year or ten-year increments, it is vital to monitor changes in vulnerabilities year over year.

GRI 202: Market Presence

In FY21, 84% 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.

tables2021 04

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

Abt’s Code of Conduct establishes standards of business conduct that are applied uniformly at all Abt Associates locations and followed by all employees. While businesses and customs vary—and each individual who works for Abt Associates is unique—certain standards and responsibilities are shared wherever we do business. This includes adhering to anti-corruption laws and competing fairly.

Employees receive annual ethics and compliance training to certify their understanding and compliance with the Code of Conduct. This training includes explicit guidance on working ethically with clients to ensure quality and integrity. Abt’s Code of Conduct and Ethics and Compliance Helpline are made available to all staff, as are detailed policies regarding bribery, business ethics and conduct, and more. 

For additional information, see our FY20 UNGC Communication on Progress

GRI 300: ENVIRONMENTAL DISCLOSURES

GRI 302: Energy

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

CY2020 energy consumption includes energy consumed from Abt's telecommuting workforce during the pandemic. This accounts for Abt's increase in natural gas and electricity consumption from our employees' use.

Energy consumption within the organization:

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

CY2020 energy consumption includes energy consumed from Abt's telecommuting workforce during the pandemic. This accounts for Abt's increase in natural gas and electricity consumption from our employees' use.

Energy intensity ratio, U.S.-based:

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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

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

Indirect energy (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

GHG emissions intensity ratio, Scope 1+2 MT CO2e per employee:

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GHG emissions intensity ratio, Scope 3 MT CO2e per employee:

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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 2021 Mission Impact Report

Abt adheres to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, including 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 inventory on a biennial cycle and publicly report our inventory to The Climate Registry. Abt's GHG inventories for 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. Emissions for 2019 and 2020 will be verified in 2021.

In 2020, our total emissions were 2,431 MT CO2e, representing a 44.5% year-over-year reduction from 2019 and a cumulative reduction of 71.7% from the 2012 base year. COVID-19 had a significant impact on our emissions for 2020, as we stopped non-essential business air travel and employee commuting from March-December, continuing into 2021. Abt began accounting for emissions from telecommuting in our 2020 emissions inventory, as this source became material in the wake of the pandemic.

GRI 400: SOCIAL DISCLOSURES

GRI 401: Employment

Associated UNGC Principle: 6
Associated SDGs: 5, 8

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

As Abt commences more international-based projects, this will increase our international hire rate. Depending on the country, this will have implications for male/female proportions based on local country.

Hire rates, Abt U.S.:

tables2021 13tables2021 14tables2021 15

Hire rates, Abt Australia and Britain:

tables2021 19tables2021 20tables2021 21

Turnover rates, Abt U.S.:

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Turnover rates, Abt Australia and Britain:

tables2021 22tables2021 23tables2021 24

Associated SDG: 8

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See Our Employee Wellness section in the 2021 Mission Impact Report for updated benefits during COVID-19

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

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.

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 one reportable Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) injury in CY20. The injury was due to long periods of computer work which caused wrist and arm pain.

Associated SDGs: 3, 8

The vast majority of U.S. domestic employees are working in an office environment and work-related hazards are minimal. Most injuries are either slip and falls or related to wrist strain due to typing. Our Human Resources (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 workstations that will allow an employee to work without discomfort. The carrier may recommend changes to the workstation, 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.

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 free flu shots, subsidized exercise classes, chair massages and a bike subsidy to encourage exercise. On-site benefits were paused due to COVID-19 beginning in March. Abt anticipates restarting these benefits when employees return to the offices.

Abt offers many voluntary health promotions, including gym discounts, steps and weight loss challenges, onsite gyms in two offices, and Weight Watchers membership. We also offer supplemental health insurance programs that are employee funded. Our Work/Life Assistance Plan offers various seminars on topics such as stress relief, depression, marital conflict, and financial issues. Employees also have access to counselors at no cost.

Abt publishes suggested desk setup 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 sole injury reported in CY20 was due to long periods of computer work which caused wrist and arm pain.

Work-related ill health:

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GRI 404: Training and Education

Associated SDG: 8

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. With the 2020 pandemic moving most of Abt staff to remote work, our virtual learning platforms have become even more critical to how we learn, be it self-paced or in teams or cohorts. 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. Finally, Abt is committed to developing a more equitable and inclusive culture and in 2021 has begun to roll out Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion training and learning opportunities.

Associated UNGC Principle: 6
Associated SDGs: 5, 8

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 used 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 FY21, 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 training is further supplimented with online role-based training on various 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

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 our commitment to conducting research that meets the highest ethical standards, Abt Associates maintains our own Institutional Review Board (IRB) to safeguard research participants’ 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 that includes, if relevant, referrals to resources (e.g., helplines for veterans), instructions for mandated reporting (e.g., potential neglect or abuse of children), and/or procedures for mitigating COVID-19 risks for face-to-face data collection; 4) a detailed data security plan and data agreements; and 5) certificates of confidentiality or privacy certificates to protect participants’ sensitive research data.

Abt had zero reported human rights abuses through any of our employees, clients, suppliers, or research participants in FY21.

See Disclosure 410-1 for more information.

Associated UNGC Principle: 1

In 2020, Abt conducted our annual all staff Ethics and Compliance training, which covered human rights policies and procedures. This training takes 45 minutes on average. 100% of employees completed the training, including modules on human rights, trafficking, child protection and preventing sexual exploitation and abuse.

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. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) 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.