Responsible Investing:

Integration and Engagement


ESG Integration Can Improve Investment Decisions

Proprietary tools and systems can enable ESG engagement, research and collaboration among our global team of analysts. By following an investor-driven approach, they’re best positioned to do the deep fundamental research necessary to truly understand ESG issues and their impact on securities.

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.

Process in Action

ESG Integration is about thoughtfully considering how material ESG issues impact a company’s investment attractiveness.

Flow chart of ESG Integration cycle

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.


ESIGHT is a one-stop online shop where all AB investment teams can access and share proprietary information about corporate ESG practices. In 2020, we launched several ESIGHT enhancements, including an ESG knowledge center, COVID-19 research and country ESG scores for fixed income.


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 should empower better decisions and result in stronger portfolios.

Put into Practice

Chilean Electricity Sector

Power generation is a very capital-intensive industry, and in Chile, is highly dependent on Coal, making companies there reluctant to shutter operational coal plants. Also, many price-sensitive consumers can’t shoulder higher electricity bills to subsidize the transition from coal to renewable methods. We’ve been engaging with the largest four Chilean power-generation companies (AES Andes, Colbún, Engie Energia Chile and Enel Chile) and an electric system financing entity (CHIPEC) to discuss phasing out coal plants and creating innovative ways to finance the transition to renewable energy.

In the first half of 2021, Engie Energia Chile announced that it would close all its coal-powered plants by 2025. AES Andes announced that it would close more than half its coal facilities. To address the issues facing vulnerable consumers amid a short-term period of elevated power prices due to the green power transition, AB engaged with the Chilean government and bankers to develop a creative solution—developing CHIPEC). 

AB also engaged with Chile on developing an ambitious carbon emissions reduction plan. Chile became the first sovereign to issue a sustainability-linked bond, with its targets tied to the de-carbonization progress from the utility sector. The key performance indicators of this new bond are stronger than the existing government policies, which positions it close to a 2-degree scenario.  Also, on September 30, 2022, Enel Chile announced the closure of its final coal plant—Bocamina II. Enel Chile is the first company among this group to close all of its coal plants, years ahead of its initial commitment. This progress will dovetail AB’s engagements going forward.


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.

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.

The views expressed herein do not constitute research, investment advice or traderecommendations and do not necessarily represent the views of all AB portfolio-management teams and are subject to revision over time.


The case study examples presented are not to be considered investment recommendations of AllianceBernstein.

How Does Engagement Make a Difference?

Engagement is a vital part of our responsible investment process. Each year our active analysts engage with the leaders of public and private companies and non-corporate entities, including municipalities, and supranational and sovereign issuers.

We engage selectively through our proxy voting activities and as a core component of our research and investment processes.

  • Independent Perspectives: With direct access to management, our active equity and fixed-income analysts and responsible investment team seek to develop unbiased perspectives on ESG issues through dialogue with companies. Different teams can engage separately or jointly when appropriate.
  • Proprietary Tools: Using our in-house research and collaboration tools, AB analysts can share insights in real time and track any needed follow-ups for extended engagements.
  • Constructivist Approach: As large stewards of capital, we can facilitate constructive engagement with management teams and, where appropriate, directors, to create a forum to discuss many industry-related topics, including ESG issues.

Engagement in Action

Case Study: Energy in India

AB analysts seek to clarify how a leading energy company approaches liquefied natural gas development to position itself in the transition to a lower-carbon economy.

Case Study: Insurance in Brazil

Our team probes management to discuss discrepancies between its ESG ratings and the firm’s actual practices and disclosures for financial product safety and health-insurance access.

Case Study: Financial Services in the US

We engage with a large US consumer-financial-services firm about the creation of scopes one, two and three greenhouse gas targets and whether they’re meaningful or integrated with the firm’s business strategy.