Net Zero

Our Commitment 

 
 

The Critical Role of Responsibility

At AB, we’re invested in being a responsible firm—both in how we act and how we invest on behalf of our clients. We believe that ESG research, engagement and integration help us better assess risks and identify opportunities, ultimately leading to enhanced decision-making and better client outcomes.

The industry expertise of our investment team is important to developing an understanding of material ESG issues. Moreover, AB’s Responsibility team complements the investment teams’ research and engagement issues. The Responsibility team members have domain expertise in E, S and G issues, which can be used to challenge the investment teams’ thinking and equip our fundamental analysts with tools and training to consider ESG issues where applicable. 

 

Responsibility Is Embedded Throughout the Firm

AB’s Responsibility team, comprising experts in corporate responsibility and environmental, social and governance issues, partners with our investment teams at the heart of our responsible investing practices. Their work is supported by internal and external resources, and overseen by our Responsibility Steering Committee and AB’s Board of Directors. 

 
Upwards view of glass building

Net Zero Commitment

AB supports the Paris Agreement, and we’re committed to aligning our firm with a 1.5 degree pathway by 2050 while acting in the best interest of our clients.

 
 
 

2021 Responsibility Report

AB’s annual report on corporate responsibility and responsible investing

 
 
 

History of Our Commitment

  • Became Member of Sustainable Trading
  • Joined The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change
  • Joined the One Planet Sovereign Wealth Funds Initiative
  • Joined the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative
  • Accepted as a Signatory to the UK Stewardship Code for the second year in a row
  • Joined the Forum of Investors—Japan
  • Joined the TCFD Consortium in Japan
  • Joined the Japanese Stewardship Initiative
  • Joined the Investors Against Slavery and Trafficking—APAC
  • Joined Ceres
  • Became Founding Member of the Corporate Affiliate Program at the Columbia Climate School
  • Became Member of Emerging Markets Investors Alliance
  • Accepted as a Signatory to the UK Stewardship Code
     
  • Joined the AIGCC and ACGA
  • Became Boston College Center for Corporate Responsibility Supporting Member
  • Became Eurosif Transparency Code Signatory
  • Became FAIRR Member
  • Became Investor Stewardship Group Principles Signatory
     
  • Joined Investor Group on Climate Change
  • Started climate change and investing initiative with the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York
  • Became Associate Member of LuxFlag
     
  • Joined ICI Global ESG Task Force
  • Joined ICI Proxy Committee
  • Joined ICGN Board Governance Committee
  • Became TCFD Supporter
  • Became engagement colead for Climate Action 100+
     
  • Became committee member of Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong’s Public Shareholders Group
  • Published Engagement Policy
     
  • Became CII Corporate Governance Advisory Council Member
     
  • Joined Climate Bonds Initiative
  • Joined Catalytic Finance Initiative
  • Joined Climate Disclosure Project
     
  • Published formal response to Japan Stewardship Code
  • Chaired AN/Securities/IB Working Group PFA21
  • Joined International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN)
     
  • Released Statement on Controversial Weapons
  • Became Japan PFA213 signatory
  • Became PRI signatory
  • Published formal response to UK Stewardship Code1
  • Joined Council of Institutional Investors (CII)
     
 

Why Investment Teams Need to Lead the Way

At AB, our Responsibility team helps portfolio managers and analysts consider and engage on ESG issues holistically and consistently, challenging investment teams’ thinking and encouraging analysts to incorporate this perspective into their financial models and outlooks. This robust approach helps teams consider ESG issues throughout their investment processes—ultimately driving better client outcomes.

 

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Our Approach to ESG Integration

From idea generation to ongoing stewardship, integrating ESG involves considering ESG risks and opportunities throughout the investment process.

 

Process in Action

 

The Active Engagement Advantage

As active investors, engagement is vital to our process. Each year, AB analysts engage with leaders of companies and noncorporate entities, including municipalities, supranational and sovereign issuers. We also engage selectively through our proxy voting activities.

These connections allow us to assess, discuss and encourage better business practices and approaches to address rapidly evolving ESG issues. We believe that engagement can drive better research and better outcomes for clients, communities and the world.

 

How ESG Integration Can Improve Outcomes

ESG risks are often financial risks. With strong ESG research, engagement and integration, we can better assess risks and identify opportunities—the path to improved investment decision-making.

 
Columbia University

Climate Academy

AB and the Columbia Climate School are partnering to tackle climate change. Together, we hope to research the most pressing climate issues, embed those insights throughout our investment process where applicable and educate others.

 

Engagement in Action

Chilean Electricity Sector

Chilean power generation depends heavily on coal, a very capital-intensive industry, making companies reluctant to shutter operational coal plants. Also, many price-sensitive consumers can’t shoulder higher electricity bills to subsidize the transition to renewable energy.

We’ve been engaging with the four largest Chilean power generators (AES Andes, Colbún, ECL and Enel Chile), encouraging management to phase out coal plants and create innovative ways to finance the renewable transition. We demonstrated that the cost of capital is lower for firms focused on greener power sources, that existing coal plants cost more than new renewable plants, and that rising carbon taxes and regulation will make existing coal plants less competitive.

The companies were receptive. In the first half of 2021, ECL announced plans to close all coal-powered plants by 2025. AES Andes announced that it would close more than half of its coal facilities. To help vulnerable consumers endure higher short-term prices during the green power transition, AB engaged with the Chilean government and bankers to develop CHIPEC (Chile Electricity PEC SpA). This entity borrowed approximately $500 million in 2021 to finance residential consumer electric bills, helping bridge the gap until prices decline later this decade. AB was an anchor order in the bond deal and continues to hold it, given that it promotes both social considerations and the move to renewable power.

We’re pleased by this progress but will continue advocating for the closure of remaining coal plants in Chile while looking for creative ways to finance the energy transition—with an eye toward reducing social costs.

Chilean cityscape with mountains in background

Sasol

In support of South African diversified energy company Sasol’s decarbonization efforts, AB continued engaging in 2021 as colead of the Climate Action 100+ (CA 100+) investor cohort. Although Sasol still has a long road ahead to achieve its climate objectives, the company made substantial progress in 2021.

After engaging with Sasol early in 2021, AB and the other CA100+ investors escalated concerns about the company’s decarbonization plans to the firm’s board. In early September, we wrote to the board relaying investors’ expectations for disclosure of its climate strategy, including a suitable transition plan, a clear approach to net zero by 2050, a supporting capital plan and openness about remaining uncertainties.

Later that month, Sasol released robust plans for its net-zero 2050 commitment, new emissions-reduction targets, a decarbonization strategy, capital-allocation plans, a CA100+ benchmark self-assessment and a TCFD statement. It also increased its renewable energy procurement at its Secunda site—the largest single carbon-emitting site in the world—from 900 to 1,200 megawatts by 2030.

In November, AB and the CA100+ cohort met with Sasol’s board to discuss the strategy, its implementation and the financial, political, and operational feasibility of proposed solutions and fossil fuel alternatives. Later that month, management’s nonbinding climate-transition-plan resolution was approved by 96% of shareholders. AB and the CA100+ investor cohort will send a follow-up letter emphasizing the importance of effectively implementing the plan and will continue engaging in 2022.

South African energy plant

National Vision

In 2019, AB voted against one of National Vision’s directors: the firm had failed to remove its classified board and supermajority-vote requirement to change governing documents in the year after its initial public offering. The company had other shareholder-unfriendly provisions, including a plurality voting standard, no shareholder rights to call a special meeting or act by written consent, and no proxy access.

We continued to vote against the company in 2020 because the classified board and supermajority voting provisions remained, but its 2020 proxy statement indicated plans to sunset the provisions in 2021. Finally, after several engagements with the company on these governance issues, we saw National Vision reflect our feedback in its 2021 proxy, eliminating its classified board and supermajority voting requirement. The company also published its first corporate responsibility report, which contained a comprehensive materiality assessment and disclosures under both Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards.

Diverse group of business people sitting at a conference table
 

How Does Engagement Make a Difference?
 

Insight

Engagement generates insight into issuers’ strategies, competitive positioning and how they address risks and opportunities, including potential material ESG considerations. It also helps us assess management, strategy, operations and governance structure. This insight can enhance our research and investment decisions—with the ultimate goal of generating risk-adjusted returns for our clients.

Action

Engagement helps us advocate for our clients’ interests—enabling us to share our ESG philosophy and corporate-governance policies to try to effect positive and sustainable change by issuers. Discussions can focus on strategic, financial, and ESG and climate-related issues, but the goal is always the same: to encourage firms to make decisions with a long-term view that supports positive, sustainable financial outcomes for them, their stakeholders and our clients.

Collaboration

We work closely with non-AB investors, asset owners and ESG-focused organizations on engagement. Collaboration can happen when we’ve independently arrived at the same conclusion as other managers and believe that working together might help address specific issues. Collaboration can also occur when we believe that issues might be better addressed through a “common ask.”

 

Collaborate, Explore, Advance

Proprietary Research Collaboration Platforms

We’ve innovated platforms that power collaboration between our analysts within and across asset classes as we research and engage with issuers.

 

PRISM

Our fixed-income ESG research platform, PRISM, provides independent ESG assessments and scores that impact investment decisions. The goal, of course, is straightforward: better and faster information can empower better decisions.

 

ESIGHT

ESIGHT is a one-stop online shop where AB investment teams can access and share proprietary information about corporate ESG practices. We’ve launched several ESIGHT enhancements, including an ESG knowledge center, COVID-19 research and country ESG scores for fixed income.

 

Finding Responsible Solutions

Responsible investing is a personal journey. Clients may have different environmental and social priorities, and preferences for different investment approaches. To try to meet this need, we’ve developed our suite of Portfolios with Purpose—our ESG-focused strategies.

Icon for the year 2013
Year first Portfolio with Purpose was launched
Yellow icon for the number 13
Solutions across the Portfolios with Purpose platform
Purple icon for the number $31 Billion
Dollars invested in Portfolios with Purpose
 
 

Portfolios with Purpose

We manage US$31 billion in Portfolios with Purpose today, one of the most rapidly growing segments of our business. We also manage US$524 billion in assets that use ESG integration and other enhancements.

 

Responsible+

Achieve additional responsibility objectives, such as climate resilience, ESG improvement or best-in-class allocations. These portfolios adopt a range of strategies to improve management of ESG issues and fall into one of the following three subcategories; Climate Conscious, ESG Leaders and Change Catalysts.

Sustainable

Identify environmental or social challenges presented by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and target investment in issuers that provide products or services to tackle them. Prominent themes include climate, health and empowerment.

Impact

Invest in issuers that might provide a positive and measurable impact on society or the environment.

 
 

UN SDGS: A Road Map for Investors 

In recent years, severe weather damage, the global pandemic, and political, economic, and social unrest have made ESG issues more tangible, fueling a global movement around taking responsibility for addressing these challenges.

Sustainable development involves finding solutions to these critical challenges. Directing capital to businesses providing solutions to these issues can provide investors with exposure to fast-growing industries that may help to preserve and, ultimately, increase their wealth.

The United Nations (UN) established the SDGs as a powerful framework of 17 goals to help countries address the challenges of economic prosperity, environmental sustainability and social inclusion. They represent an aspirational view of what the world can look like by 2030. We believe the UN SDGs can help investors connect the world’s crises with actionable investment themes, serving as a road map for translating sustainability issues into investible opportunities.

Based on this mind-set, we’ve developed a practical framework focused on four themes: climate, health, empowerment, as well as strong institutions for sovereigns.

 

Sustainable Themes

Climate

Efforts to stem climate change are gaining momentum around the world. Many consumers, businesses and policymakers are recognizing the need for change.
 

  • Cleaner energy
  • Resource efficiency
  • Sanitation and recycling
  • Sustainable transportation
Single windmill with sunset in background

Health

Healthcare spending is rising, and people are living longer, which raises complex issues for access to high-quality and affordable medicine and long-term care.
 

  • Access to quality care
  • Food security and clean water
  • Medical innovation
  • Well-Being
Two people holding hands sitting across from each other

Empowerment

Many sectors of society are marginalized by economic and social forces. Physical and technological infrastructure is needed to enable sustainable economic development, employment growth, poverty eradication and social inclusion.
 

  • Education and employment services
  • Financial security and inclusion
  • Information and communication
  • Sustainable infrastructure
Women with dark hair and skin driving a truck

Strong Institutions

Responsible sovereigns provide the foundation for the private sector to innovate and for effective and accountable public policymaking.
 

  • Freedom and fundamental rights
  • Anti-corruption and government
  • Law and order
Upwards view of decorative columns on a white building
 

Reports

 

2021

 

2020

 

2019

 

Global Related Proxy Information

 
 

Proxy Season Reports

 
 

As a registered investment advisor, AllianceBernstein L.P. ("AB", "we" or "us") has a fiduciary duty to act solely in the best interests of our clients. We recognize that this duty requires us to vote client securities in a timely manner and make voting decisions that are in the best interests of our clients. Consistent with these obligations, we will disclose our clients' voting records only to them and as required by mutual fund vote disclosure regulations. In addition, the proxy committees may, after careful consideration, choose to respond to surveys regarding past votes.

This statement is intended to comply with Rule 206(4)-6 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. It sets forth our policies and procedures for voting proxies for our discretionary investment advisory clients, including investment companies registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940. This statement applies to AB's investment groups investing on behalf of clients in both US and non-US securities.

 

Performance Tables

 

Full-Time/Part-Time Female % Female Male % Male Grand Total % of Total
Full-Time 1,553 38 2,524 62 4,077 99
Part-Time 27 84 5 16 32 1
Total 1,580 38 2,529 62 4,109 100
 

Region Female % Female Male % Male Grand Total % of Total
Americas 1,126 37 1,944 63 3,070 75
Asia ex Japan 225 51 214 49 439 11
EMEA 183 35 333 65 516 13
Japan 46 55 38 45 84 2
Total 1,580 38 2,529 62 4,109 100
 

Exempt vs. Nonexempt Female % Female Male % Male Grand Total % of Total
Exempt 1,435 37 2,416 63 3,896 95
Nonexempt 145 68 68 32 213 5
Total 1,580 38 2,529 62 4,109 100
 
 
  Gender Hispanic or Latino White Black or African American Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander Asian America Indian or Alaska Native Two or More Races Grand Total
Executive/Senior Officials and Managers Female - 4 1 - - - - 5
Male - 11 - - 2 - - 13
First/Mid Officials and Managers Female 11 126 10 1 35 - 6 189
Male 14 350 6 - 63 2 4 439
Professionals Female 74 246 33 - 89 1 4 447
Male 59 419 46 2 209 1 14 750
Sales Workers Female 18 268 18 2 40 - 6 352
Male 44 509 42 1 44 5 18 663
Administrative Support Female 34 64 17 - 6 - 2 123
Male 24 22 6 - 3 - 3 58
Grand Total   278 2,019 179 6 491 9 57 3, 039
 
 

 
2018 2019 2020 % Change from
2019 to 2020
Elec. Cons. (kWh) 15,690,010 15,335,173 11,706,142 –24%
Occupancy 3,642 3,857 3,877 1%
Total Square Feet (SF) 1,215,793 1,381,743 1,634,579 18%
Scope 1
CO2e Fuel
376.45 360.94 159.03 –56%
Scope 2
CO2e Electricity
5,445.95 5,243.79 3,925.94 –25%
Scope 3
CO2e Transportation
6,492.80 6,133.69 2,111.52 –66%
Tons CO2e / SF 0.01013 0.00849 0.0038 –55%
Tons CO2e / capita 3.381 3.043 1.6 –47%
CO2e Total 12,315 11,738 6,196 –47%
 
 

  2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Total 12,618 12,254 11,879 11,096 9,648
 
 

  2019 2020 2021
Charitable Contributions 2,009,822 1,849,641 2,897,254
Matching Gifts—US 3,116,254 2,765,289 2,219,130
Matching Gifts—Non-US 100,781 165,429 128,488
Total  5,226,857 4,780,359 5,244,872
 
 

  Female Male Non-Binary Did not disclose gender
Gender Identity 3 8 0 0
Demographic Background
African American or Black 0 1 0 0
Alaskan Native or Native American 0 0 0 0
Asian 0 1 0 0
Hispanic or Latinx 0 0 0 0
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0 0 0 0
White 3 6 0 0
Two or More Races or Ethnicities 0 0 0 0
LGBTQ+ 0
Did not disclose demographic background 0
 
 

Shareholder Rights Directive II (SRD II) Disclosures

Full List of Shareholder Rights Directive II (SRD II) Disclosures

 

Transparency in Coverage