Cultivating Environmental Responsibility
As responsible investors, we scrutinize the environmental effects and behavior of companies we analyze. As a responsible corporation, we turn the same lens on ourselves—working to reduce our environmental impact.
Doing More for the Environment by Using Less
At AB, being good stewards of the environment means redesigning our business operations to use less of the Earth’s precious resources. We’re focused on the following initiatives to reduce our environmental footprint:
- Removing plastic water bottles from offices
- Implementing paper-free meetings by employing technology
- Tracking down the use of printing to the user
Managing Greenhouse Gasses and Energy Usage
We’re constantly striving to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and in 2019 we recorded our lowest total emissions (as measured by total metric tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) since we started reporting on this internally in 2010. Between 2018 and 2019, we were able to reduce our emissions by a further 4.5%, and by 13% over the five‐year period ending 2019.
Columbia Earth Institute Collaboration
AB and Columbia University’s Earth Institute, home of the world-renowned Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, have collaborated to create a first-of-its-kind climate change and impact investment curriculum, “Climate Science and Portfolio Risk.” Designed by AB investment professionals and top Lamont-Doherty research professors, it fills a major industry need for asset managers to dig deeper into the complex issues around climate change and its impact on economic and financial outcomes.
The program addresses the risks of global climate change, including rising sea levels, and predictive modeling for extreme weather, wildfires and other threats from a warming planet. The goal is to increase the understanding—both within and outside the asset-management industry—of the impacts of climate change. We’re thrilled to partner with the Earth Institute, another leading institution, in applying research to pursue better outcomes.
Climate Commitment AB Memberships
Our memberships as an example of our involvement in climate-change efforts.
Using Fewer Plastics—With Water Packaging in the Crosshairs
Over the past three years, we’ve taken a number of key actions to transform our office water supplies and the amount of plastic used. Overall, this effort has removed roughly 60,000 pounds of plastic from AB’s waste stream.
In July 2016, we eliminated plastic water bottles in most offices, including cafeterias and pantries.
We distribute reusable steel water bottles to all employees.
Glass carafes filled with filtered still water and sparkling water are now used for catering.
Bring Your Own Device: Working to Leave Printers Behind
The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program, started in 2017, is designed to enable AB staff to securely access corporate email, calendars and contact information on their personal phones, tablets and other supported devices. The goal is to reduce paper usage by providing a stipend to employees who purchase an iPad.
At the end of 2018, a total of 2,513 iPads had been purchased under the BYOD program, representing 69% of our workforce. These purchases have resulted in a 9% reduction in the volume of documents printed by employees. AB continues to expand the number of devices supported as we move toward an increasingly paperless world.
Another initiative to become more sustainable and reduce our environmental footprint is the drive to reduce paper consumption. Between 2017 and 2019, we’ve reduced the number of personal printers by 62% globally. Over the same time frame, the amount of paper used by multifunction devices in the US has decreased by 20%. Paper usage of the personal printing devices that remain has decreased by 5%. The Bring Your Own Device program, which we launched in 2017, continues to make an impact in reducing paper and expenses. As of 2019, 73% of AB’s active employees have taken advantage of the tablet stipend program, which not only reduces paper usage, but also reduces the number of duplicate devices purchased.
Greening Our Workplaces
Emphasizing Greener Buildings
AB doesn’t own its physical workspaces, but we work closely with property managers to pursue the highest possible local environmental standards. We favor green office buildings and building standards, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in the United States. We’re working toward our goal of placing 65% of our employees into more environmentally friendly buildings and greener workspaces by 2025. The transition to our new global headquarters building in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, USA is well under way, with the building’s completion expected in 2021.
AB Boston, Massachusetts, USA
AB Shanghai, China
AB Tokyo, Japan
Making Our Workplace More Efficient
We’re executing on plans to move into greener office spaces with our remaining New York employees and to transition our London staff to a new office location. We’re also pleased that our new office location in Shanghai recently achieved Gold status from LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a widely used green building rating system.
Going Green in the Music City
We’ve invested nearly $70 million in our new Nashville, Tennessee, headquarters. It’s expected to have a workplace density of less than 150 square feet per person—a judicious use of space that minimizes our physical footprint while enhancing employees’ interactions.
Engaging AB Employees on Sustainability
The Sustainable Employee Wellness Group (EWG) is dedicated to sustaining the environment both as a firm and as individuals. The group hosts regular events to engage and educate employees on topics including solar energy, recycling, safe water and eating sustainably.