To fight racial injustice and inequity, we’ve started a search to continue to increase the diversity of our board members, with the goal of appointing a new diverse member in 2021. We’re also evaluating how we can better recruit, develop and retain diverse talent—including senior leaders. We’re revisiting corporate philanthropy and working to coalesce the financial-services sector around action.
We’re committed to elevating our corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices—to that end, we’ve strengthened our corporate statements on climate change, modern slavery and human trafficking, and vendor management in 2020. We’re also building up our corporate environmental metrics and targets.
We’ve put investors at the heart of our responsible investing effort, appointing Sharon Fay as Chief Responsibility Officer and Michelle Dunstan as Global Head of Responsible Investing. Together, Sharon and Michelle, who have a combined 45 years of experience at AB as analysts and portfolio managers, will oversee AB’s responsible investing strategy, including research and stewardship, integration and collaboration with our broader teams on product development.
Among our responsible investing initiatives is thought leadership. We’re deepening our collaboration with Columbia University’s Earth Institute on climate change and investing, developing a curriculum that more than 150 AB investors have completed to date. I’ve completed it, as has Ramon de Oliveira, AB’s Chairman of the Board.
We’re considering collaboration in other areas, too. We’re advancing ESG integration with proprietary tools and frameworks, and we’re extending our Portfolios with Purpose platform—four new solutions that received initial funding in 2020.
COVID-19 has become a prominent theme in engagement: it not only impacts business models but also shines a light on corporate ESG practices. We’re advocating that issuers be responsible corporate citizens, and we’re working to better understand opportunities and threats created by the pandemic. By incorporating COVID-19 in our ESIGHT and PRISM platforms, we’re enabling Investment Professionals to share company information in real time.
In 2020, we embarked on a strategic ESG engagement campaign, with our analysts focusing on companies that exclude ESG metrics from their executive compensation plans and those without climate-change targets or metrics. We’ll ask for those metrics to be established in 2021, as we do the same for AB. We’ve made a commitment to using our position of influence as investors to help drive positive change that also creates better financial outcomes for our clients.
We’re committed to being leaders in responsibility—both in how we act as a firm and how we invest on behalf of our clients. Working together, we continue to make progress on our ESG journey.