Abt’s 2019 Global Reporting Initiative Index

Abt is committed to transparency and reports sustainability progress against international frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards, the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact (UNGC) and alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 2019 Mission Impact Update report has been prepared in reference to the GRI Standards but makes no claims to certification. For more information on our performance and alignment, read the report here.



1. Organizational profile

  • 102-1: Name of the organization

    Abt Associates, Inc.

  • 102-2: Activities, brands, products and services

    Abt Associates was founded in 1965 as a private services firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Abt provides research, consulting and technical assistance services to clients worldwide in the areas of health, environmental and social policy, technology and international development. Our diverse staff of more than 3,600 operate on the ground in more than 50 countries alongside our clients, enabling us to tailor our solutions to meet the needs of our clients and those they serve.

  • 102-3: Location of headquarters

    Rockville, MD USA

  • 102-4: Location of operations

    We operate in more than 50 countries around the world with 11 locations in the U.S., two in Australia, and one in the U.K.

  • 102-5: Ownership and legal form

    We are a privately held company. Our employee stock ownership program (ESOP) was established in 1975, just 10 years after the company was founded. It is one of the oldest ESOPs in the U.S. and no one individual has a significant share of ownership.

  • 102-6: Markets served

    See the About Us section in the 2019 Mission Impact Update

    Abt Associates serves more than 50 countries and territories in the regions of Australia, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Americas, South and Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • 102-7: Scale of the organization

    • Total Number of Employees: 3,600
    • Total Number of Operations: 14 corporate, numerous worldwide field offices
    • FY18 Revenue: $701M
    • FY18 Assets: $247M
    • 250+ clients served
    • 17,800+ partner organizations engaged
  • 102-8: Information on employees and other workers

    Associated UNGC Principle: 6
    Associated SDG: 8

    Percent of employees by employment contract and gender:

    Percent of employees by employment contract and region:

    Percent of employees by employment type and gender:

  • 102-11: Precautionary Principle or approach

    The concept of sustainability is deeply ingrained within the mission of Abt Associates. Abt’s multidisciplinary approach to solving the world’s most difficult challenges and its inherent focus on balancing social and environmental considerations with positive economic outcome, has been part of our fabric since the very beginning in 1965.​

     The Precautionary Principle is a core element of how we pursue our mission. We systematically evaluate potential risks and benefits to human health and the environment across every engagement and ensure mitigative measures are employed when the risk potential is evident.

  • 102-12: External initiatives

    Examples of major external initiatives we engage in include:

    • CDP’s climate change program
    • The Climate Registry
    • The United Nations Global Compact
    • The United Nations Sustainability Development Agenda 2030
    • The World Resources Institute’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol
  • 102-13: Membership of associations

    • American Public Health Association
    • American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene
    • Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management
    • Humentum (Inside NGO)
    • IntraHealth International Inc.
    • Knowledge Alliance
    • National Contract Management Association
    • Professional Services Council
    • Society for International Development
    • The Climate Registry
    • U.S. Global Leadership Campaign
    • World Trade Center Institute, Inc.

2. Strategy

  • 102-14: Statement from senior decision-maker

    See the Letter from Our CEO in the 2019 Mission Impact Update

3. Ethics and integrity

  • 102-16: Values, principles, standards and norms of behavior

    Associated UNGC Principle: 10
     Associated SDG: 16

    See Our Ethics and Governance section in the 2019 Mission Impact Update

  • 102-17  Mechanisms for advice and concerns about ethics

    Associated UNGC Principle: 10
     Associated SDG: 16

    See  Our Ethics and Governance section in the 2019 Mission Impact Update

    We employ a number of measures to ensure staff behave in accordance with our standards and in compliance with regulations that govern our work.

    These include:

    • A comprehensive Code of Conduct.
    • Policies on business processes and procedures that are easily accessible to all employees.
    • Robust training on policies regarding corrupt practices, anti-trafficking, freedom from harassment and non-retaliation.
    • Two 24-hour anonymous helplines for reporting any potential misconduct, one monitored by management and one monitored by the Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee.

4. Governance

  • 102-18: Governance structure

    See Our Ethics and Governance section in the 2019 Mission Impact Update

    Our Human and Reputational Capital Committee is updated quarterly on topics pertaining to social, environmental and economic impacts.

    Additional information on our governance structure can be found on our website: abtassociates.com

  • 102-19: Delegating authority

    Accountability and direction for strategic issues—including those pertaining to economic, social and environmental topics—are ultimately set by our Board of Directors, specifically the Human and Reputational Capital Committee. Chief executives then delegate oversight of actions accordingly to Vice Presidents, Directors and Senior Managers, with regular reporting of progress and challenges to both executive and board-level leaders.

  • 102-20: Executive-level responsibility for economic, environmental and social topics

    Our Senior Manager of Impact and Sustainability regularly reports to our executive leaders and the Board of Directors on Abt's sustainability strategy, priorities, goals and performance.

  • 102-22: Composition of the highest governance body and its committees

    Associated SDGs: 5, 16

    See Our Ethics and Governance section in the 2019 Mission Impact Update

  • 102-23: Chair of the highest governance body

    Associated SDG: 16

    Gary Perlin, retired Chief Financial Officer of Capital One Financial Corporation, currently serves as Chairman of the Board.

  • 102-24: Nominating and selecting the highest governance body

    Associated SDG: 5, 16

    The Nominating and Governance Committee of the Board nominates Directors based on their independence and diversity, as well as their experience and expertise in a variety of areas including economic, environmental and social topics. In evaluating each candidate, the Committee considers factors such as willingness and ability to devote sufficient time to his or her duties as a Director, willingness to leverage relationships to attract top and diverse talent, a confident personality, tolerance for ambiguity and an informed and reasoned approach to complex business problems.

  • 102-25: Conflicts of interest

    Associated SDG: 16



    Annually, each Director updates his or her conflict of interest form. The Board Secretary works with Abt's General Counsel and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer to ensure that mitigation plans are in place if conflicts of interest are identified.

  • 102-26: Role of highest governance body in setting purpose, values and strategy

    See Our Ethics and Governance section in the 2019 Mission Impact Update

    Goals pertaining to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are developed by Abt's Global Sustainability Program Operations Committee and approved by the executive leadership team.

  • 102-32: Highest governance body’s role in sustainability reporting

    Abt's sustainability reporting is formally reviewed and approved by our Chief Executive Officer, Kathleen Flanagan.

6. Reporting practice

  • 102-50: Reporting period

    This report spans multiple time frames depending on the topic in focus. This includes the 2018 calendar year, Abt’s 2019 fiscal year (April 2018 to March 2019) and our clients’ fiscal year designations. All relevant timeframes are noted throughout the report.

  • 102-51: Date of most recent report

    Our last sustainability report, the Mission Impact Report, was published in June 2018.

  • 102-52: Reporting cycle

    We issue our Mission Impact Update on an annual basis in June.

  • 102-53: Contact point for questions regarding the report

    Please send comments or questions about this Report to impact@abtassoc.com

  • 102-54: Claims of reporting in accordance with the GRI Standards

    This Report has not been prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards, Comprehensive option but includes content we have chosen to disclose publicly at this time. Abt has voluntarily followed GRI reporting guidelines since our inaugural Mission Impact Report, published June 2018, and plans to extend our reported disclosure threshold each year.

  • 102-55: GRI content index

    This document is organized by GRI Disclosures and serves as our GRI Content Index.

  • 102-56: External assurance

    We do not engage in external assurance for GRI reporting at this time.


GRI 205: Anti-Corruption

  • 205-1: Operations assessed for risk related to corruption

    Associated UNGC Principle: 10
    Associated SDG: 16

    We use an enterprise risk management (ERM) framework based on global management standards, including COSO and ISO 31000, to conduct an annual assessment process. Corruption risks are included in this assessment.

  • 205-2: Communication and training about anti-corruption policies and procedures

    Associated UNGC Principle: 10
     Associated SDG: 16

    See Our Ethics and Governance section in the 2019 Mission Impact Update

    For additional information, see our 2018 UNGC Communications on Progress


GRI 302: Energy


GRI 305: Emissions

GRI 401: Employment

  • 401-1: New employee hires and employee turnover

    Associated UNGC Principle: 6

    Associated SDGs: 5, 8

    Hire rates:

    Turnover Rates:

  • 401-2: Benefits provided to full-time employees that are not
    provided to temporary or part-time employees

    Associated SDG: 8

    Abt Associates is committed to providing a comprehensive suite of benefits for the health and wellness (physical and financial) of our employees and their eligible dependents/family members.

    Our U.S.-based employees who regularly work 30 hours or more each week are eligible immediately to participate in our comprehensive benefits package, which includes company-subsidized medical and dental insurance plans, company-funded life insurance, disability plans and leave plans, business travel accident insurance and an employee assistance plan. Employees can choose from a variety of employee-paid benefits offered through payroll deductions, including flexible spending plans, supplemental life and disability insurance and vision coverage. Employees are also eligible for parental leave—which provides 100% base salary replacement for up to five days in their first year of employment and up to 10 days after one year of employment—following the birth of an employee’s child or the placement of a child with an employee in connection with adoption. Abt will contribute a certain percentage of its profits each year to eligible employees (U.S. citizens and permanent residents) via the employee stock ownership program (ESOP) as well as provide a generous matching contribution to the employee’s 401K.

    Abt’s Expatriate and Third Country National employees enjoy the same benefits as our U.S.-based employees.

  • 401-3:  Parental leave

    Associated UNGC Principle: 6
     Associated SDGs: 5, 8

    See Supporting Health and Balance section in the 2019 Mission Impact Update

    All employees working 30 hours or more per week are entitled to parental leave, regardless of gender.

    See Disclosure 401-2 for more information.

    Return to work rates of employees that took parental leave and returned in the same reporting period:

    Retention rates of employees that took parental leave and were still employeed with Abt 12 months after they returned from leave:

  • 305-1:  Direct (Scope 1) GHG emissions

    Associated UNGC Principles: 7, 8
    Associated SDGs: 3, 12, 13, 14, 15

    Emissions by Scope:

    Direct (Scope 1) GHG emissions:

    Emissions verification in progress


  • 305-2: Energy indirect (Scope 2) GHG emissions

    Associated UNGC Principles: 7, 8
    Associated SDGs: 3, 12, 13, 14, 15

    Indirect energy (Scope 2) emissions:

    Emissions verification in progress

  • 305-3:  Other indirect (Scope 3) GHG emissions

    Associated UNGC Principles: 7, 8
    Associated SDGs: 3, 12, 13, 14, 15

    Other indirect (Scope 3) emissions:

    Emissions verification in progress

  • 305-5: Reduction of GHG emissions

    Associated UNGC Principles: 8, 9

    Associated SDGs: 13, 14, 15

    As of 2018, we have achieved a 33.5% emissions reduction (2,877 MT CO2e) over our 2012 baseline and a 6% reduction (351 MT CO2e) over our 2017 emissions. Per the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, Abt includes CO2, CH4 and N2O in our emission inventory and measures our emissions in Scope 1, 2 and 3.

    Our 2017 and 2018 greenhouse gas emissions completed verification with our 3rd party partners in September 2019. We verify our emissions biennially.

  • 302-1:  Energy consumption within the organization

    Associated UNGC Principles: 7, 8

    Associated SDGs: 7, 8, 12, 13

    Energy consumption within the organization:

  • 302-4: Reduction of energy consumption

    Associated UNGC Principles: 8, 9

    Associated SDGs: 7, 8, 12, 13

    See Disclosure 302-1 for more information.

GRI 402: Labor/Management Relations

  • 402-1: Minimum notice periods regarding operational changes

    Associated UNGC Principle: 3

    Associated SDG: 8

    Abt’s standard practice is to ensure that employees are well-informed in advance of operational and procedural changes. Our company was founded on participatory principles and we have maintained that practice throughout our 54-year history.  From a corporate planning perspective, we conduct a five-year strategic planning process with annual updates. In general, all major operational changes are decided and announced during this process, thereby providing employees between one to five years notice. Of course, changes may be required within the course of a year, in which case the decision is announced directly to staff affected by the change(s).

    Our approach is to provide the “what, how and when” for employees and then involve staff and/or collect input from staff to inform decisions and direction based on employee feedback. Ideally, employees are included in the design and implementation processes, thereby maximizing their input. For example, changes in our annual performance review process reflected employee feedback on the existing process and included a six-month notice period. The decision to implement a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system was announced a year in advance and included employee representatives on implementation teams. The decision to move office locations and design new office space was announced five years in advance and included employee visioning sessions and employee input and feedback throughout the process.

GRI 403: Occupational Health and Safety

  • 403-1: Occupational health and safety management system

    Associated SDG: 8

    An occupational health and safety management system has not been implemented at this time. Abt had one reportable Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) injury in 2018.

  • 403-2: Hazard identification, risk assessment and incident investigation

    Associated SDGs: 3, 8

    The vast majority of domestic employees are working in an office environment and work related hazards are minimal. Most injuries are either slip and falls or related to wrist strain due to typing. Our HR and Benefits team meets on an annual basis with our workers compensation carrier to review claims and identify patterns that would require intervention. Recommendations are reviewed for potential implementation at this time. Additionally, in the U.S., Abt must comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations around worker safety.

    Employees have many avenues for reporting a work-related injury: they can contact the HR Service Center, report to Facilities in the office in which they work, report to their manager or contact the HR and Benefits team directly.  All reports come to Benefits for reporting to our workers compensation carrier. Abt's Non-Retaliation Policy protects workers from retaliation for good-faith reporting of any possible improper activity.

    Abt employees have resources in place to raise issues about their work situation either directly to their manager or to HR. They can also contact Abt's Employee Advisory Council if they are not satisfied with the response from their manager or HR.

    For repetitive stress injuries, we use our workers compensation carrier to perform ergonomic assessments to identify adjustments to work stations that will allow an employee to work without discomfort. The carrier may recommend changes to the work station, or equipment that will reduce discomfort (such as a natural keyboard) that Abt will provide.

  • 403-3:  Occupational health services

    Associated SDG: 8

    Abt's workers compensation carrier performs ergonomic assessments to minimize the risk of repetitive stress injuries at employees' request. Employee access is facilitated by sharing information on Abt's intranet, required postings in all offices and communicating process for reporting accidents and injuries during new employee orientation. Abt secured personal health information and ensures that information on employee work-related injuries is not used for favorable or unfavorable treatment by keeping access to this information restricted to Benefits staff.

  • 403-4: Worker participation, consultation and communication on
     occupational health and safety

    Associated SDG: 8

    Abt does not have a process for worker participation and consultation in the development, implementation and evaluation of the occupational health and safety management system.

  • 403-5: Worker training on occupational health and safety

    Abt does not provide training beyond informing employees about the reporting process noted in Disclosure 403-2.

  • 403-6: Promotion of worker health

    Abt provides medical coverage to all employees working at least 30 hours per week and subsidizes approximately 70% of the cost.  Employees also have access to free flu shots, subsidized exercise classes, chair massages and a bike subsidy to encourage exercise.

    Abt offers many voluntary health promotions, including gym discounts, steps and weight loss challenges, onsite gyms in two offices and Weight Watchers membership.  We also offer supplemental health insurance programs that are employee funded. Our Work/Life Assistance Plan offers many seminars on topics such as stress relief, depression, marital conflict and financial issues. Employees also have access to counselors at no cost.

  • 403-8:  Workers covered by an occupational health and safety management system

    No employees are excluded from this disclosure.

  • 403-9:  Work-related injuries

    Work-related injuries:

  • 403-10:  Work-related ill health

    Work-related ill health:

GRI 404: Training and Education

  • 404-2: Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs

    Associated SDG: 8

    See Our Leaders at All Levels section in the 2019 Mission Impact Update

    Abt provides learning and development opportunities for staff through LinkedIn Learning, which offers over 10,000 diverse courses. LinkedIn Learning content, along with dedicated time to learn, allows Abt staff to meet just-in-time needs as well as accomplish long-term goals. Abt also supports continued education/training through our professional development assistance program, which helps cover the cost of expenses incurred while pursuing a degree or professional certification. Internal courses, brown bags and workshops are hosted throughout each year on a wide variety of topics. Access to technical on-demand training is available for staff. Abt is highly supportive of on-the-job learning and has created tools and an environment where stretch assignments and internal mobility opportunities help staff develop new skills.

  • 404-3: Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews

    Associated UNGC Principle: 6
    Associated SDGs: 5, 8

    Performance Review Evaluation Plan (PREP) is Abt's annual performance evaluation process in which all employees—in all locations worldwide—are provided with feedback, a rating for goals and competencies and the opportunity to create a professional development plan. 100% of Abt staff who were hired by December 31st of the previous year participate in our annual PREP review process. All staff also participate in our mid-term reviews in November, and are encouraged to have open communication with their staff and supervisors at all times.

GRI 405: Diversity and Equal Opportunity

  • 405-1: Diversity of governance bodies and employees

    Associated UNGC Principle: 6
    Associated SDGs: 5, 8

    Diversity of governance bodies:

    Diversity of employees, Abt U.S.:

    Diversity of employees, Abt U.K. and Australia:

GRI 410: Security Practices

  • 410-1: Security personnel trained in human rights policies or procedures

    Associated UNGC Principle: 1
     Associated SDG: 16

    See Our Ethics and Governance  section in the 2019 Mission Impact Update

GRI 412: Human Rights Assessment

  • 412-1: Operations that have been subject to human rights
    reviews or impact assessments

    Associated UNGC Principle: 1

    See Our Ethics and Governance section in the 2019 Mission Impact Update

    Abt's Institutional Review Board (IRB) supplements online training regarding research integrity and the protection of human research participants with role-based training on other topics, such as privacy laws (e.g., HIPAA) open data policies (e.g., USAID’s) and ethical issues specific to a methodology (e.g., qualitative research with vulnerable populations).

     Abt has had zero reported violations of human rights abuses through any of our employees, clients, suppliers or research participants.

  • 412-2: Employee training on human rights policies or procedures

    Associated UNGC Principle: 1

    One half hour of training on human rights policies or procedures was administered in 2018 to each and all staff.

    All employees were required to complete modules on human rights, trafficking, child protection and preventing sexual exploitation and abuse.

  • 412-3: Significant investment agreements and contracts that include human rights clauses or that underwent human rights screening

    Associated UNGC Principle: 2

    Abt is compliant with all of its U.S. Government contracts containing the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) clause found at FAR 52.222-50, titled “Combating Trafficking in Persons.” Additionally, upon issuance of a subcontract under a U.S. Government prime contract, Abt includes this same FAR clause and ensures compliance by its subcontractors. Our work performed under agreements with the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) requires that we likewise adhere to and be compliant with relevant anti-trafficking and human rights policies.

     Our work for the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) strictly adheres to the Environmental and Social Safeguard Policy. Abt Associates Australia implements a robust child protection policy in compliance with DFAT’s stringent requirements driving adherence to international child safeguarding standards. In accordance with a "do no harm" approach, a number of key safeguarding requirements are implemented as part of our operations and program activities, including rigorous recruitment and screening measures, comprehensive child protection training for staff and partners, dedicated child protection resourcing across programs, detailed risk management processes and partner capacity building.

GRI 415: Public Policy

  • 415-1: Political contributions

    Associated UNGC Principle: 10

    Associated SDG: 16

    Abt makes no political contributions.

Abt Associates is an engine for social impact, harnessing the power of data and our experts’ grounded insights to move people from vulnerability to security worldwide. We think boldly, crossing disciplines, methods, and geographies to provide research, consulting and technical services globally in the areas of health, environmental and social policy, technology and international development.

Copyright © 1965-2019 | Abt Associates

Copyright © 1965-2019 | Abt Associates