Our vision at AllianceBernstein (AB) is to be the most trusted investment firm in the world. To realize this vision, we must continue to understand and respond to the evolving needs of our clients, colleagues and communities. We recognize that being a responsible corporation and a responsible investor go hand in hand—you can’t be one without the other. Both are ongoing processes, not destinations, and are woven into the fabric of who we are. Simply put, we must continually address the social, economic and environmental challenges of our time. I am pleased to highlight examples of what we have accomplished to date and share our aspirations.
As a responsible investor, we have always integrated environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in our investment decisions and have engaged companies on material ESG issues. But to enhance our ESG integration, we built a proprietary, cross-asset-class, collaboration platform called ESIGHT, where analysts and portfolio managers can share their insights and company engagements to drive better investment outcomes.
“We recognize that being a responsible corporation and a responsible investor go hand in hand—you can’t be one without the other.”
—Seth Bernstein, President and CEO
We also understand that responsible investing is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. For clients that want to do more with their money, we developed Portfolios with Purpose, an investment platform that aims to produce measurable social or environmental impact based on the focused, individual responsibility goals of our clients. We aim to become a leader in this space, bringing much-needed rigor and integrity to a topic where, to date, much has been promised and little has been delivered.
Additionally, we have partnered with the Earth Institute at Columbia University to develop a climate curriculum for the asset management industry and will be the lead sponsor of their Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Open House. To do our part, we have reduced our own energy consumption and started to eliminate plastic bottles and are encouraging a paperless workspace. Our goal is to have 65% of employees work in sustainable environments, as defined by LEED standards or other applicable local accreditations, by 2025.
But what makes these efforts come together is our people. It’s our diverse backgrounds and experiences that make AB an exciting place to work. As CEO, I am committed to, and accountable for, ensuring that all employees’ perspectives are welcomed, and that everyone feels encouraged to be open and honest. In 2018, I was proud to join the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™, a growing coalition of more than 400 companies pledging to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
A diverse and engaged workforce is critical to our success, and we are committed to understanding the views and needs of our colleagues and responding with action. Therefore, we increased the cadence of our firm-wide engagement survey, AB Voice, to annual from biennial. Our 2019 survey response rate was 88%, which is higher than the industry benchmark of 80%, but we know we can do better. We also want to help our employees engage in their communities, and our centralized philanthropy program, AB Gives Back, will further enhance our outcome-driven community initiatives, supporting volunteerism, financial sponsorships and advocacy.