CDP Climate Leader Awards

The Principal named a 2014 CDP climate leader

The Principal Financial Group is one of only 34 S&P 500 companies to be named to the 2014 CDP Climate Performance Leader Index (CPLI), and one of 63 companies to be named to the CDP Climate Disclosure Leader Index (CDLI).

These annual indices by environmental non-profit CDP spotlight companies for their actions to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the business risks of climate change.

Climate Leaders share the following characteristics, according to the CDP:

  • Executive-level and board attention to climate change
  • Monetary incentives in place to reduce emissions
  • Climate change embedded into risk management process and strategy
  • Accountability by formal targets
  • Confidence over direct and indirect emissions footprint via verification/assurance
  • Decrease in emissions attributed to their corporate efforts
  • Dollar and CO2e savings from emissions efforts
  • Strategic advantage provided or enhanced by climate change efforts

The CPLI showcases companies that receive the highest band of “A” for their climate performance assessment, and the companies in the top 10 percent for disclosure scores are awarded a position on the CDLI.

“Our company’s core value of integrity drives our commitment to being an industry leader in sustainability. It’s important to us because we know it’s important to our shareholders, our customers, our employees and the communities where we operate,” says Larry Zimpleman, chairman, president and CEO.

Sustainable renovations

The Principal is undergoing a $400 million, multi-year renovation of its 2+ million square foot campus in Des Moines, Iowa.

New Skywalk

LED lighting shown in the newest skywalk on campus.

A major component of our commitment to the environment includes working sustainability into all components of our corporate campus renovations.

Jed Fisk, vice president–corporate real estate and aviation, says, "We've set ambitious goals to reduce our carbon footprint, and we continue on a path to exceed these goals. Our campus renovations are a large component of this. We've committed to recycling more than 90 percent of demolition waste, and our HVAC and lighting changes will really contribute to energy savings. We're proving that we're truly committed to being a responsible corporate citizen."

Along with the recycling goal Fisk mentioned, our environmentally friendly renovations involve plans to reduce both indoor and outdoor water use and conserve energy. One highlight of our energy conservation strategies involves using LED lighting throughout the entire campus, including in the skywalks between buildings.

Learn more

Find out more in the CDP S&P 500 Climate Change Report 2014 (PDF), which presents new analysis linking S&P 500 industry leaders with financial outperformance.

Read the press release.

And, see more about our environmental efforts below.

How we care about the environment

Environment Overview

The Principal takes its responsibility to support our natural environment seriously. Our concern for the environment is an extension of our core value of Integrity. View our Environmental Policy

While we've pursued sustainable efforts for years, The Principal formalized its commitment in 2008 by establishing a sustainability committee consisting of cross-functional team members whose purpose is to advocate for environmental responsibility throughout the organization.

Here are just a few examples of how we're setting the standard for environmental leadership:

  • The Principal has made the following commitments through CDP’s Road to Paris 2015 project, which is bringing together companies that want to demonstrate leadership in addressing climate change in the hope that this will help deliver an ambitious international agreement at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP 21).
    • We’ve committed to provide climate change information in mainstream corporate reports using the CDSB Climate Change Reporting Framework. Financial markets currently lack comprehensive and comparable climate-related data in annual and other mainstream corporate reports, and this information is crucial toward ensuring the efficient allocation of capital needed for strong and sustainable economic growth.
    • We’ve committed to setting emissions reduction targets that are aligned with climate science. These targets will help achieve the reductions necessary to stay within a global 2°C temperature increase from pre-industrial levels. By setting and working toward these targets, The Principal will significantly reduce its emissions, while also driving innovation and raising its ambition on climate issues to the level needed to transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy.
  • We built one of the first LEED® certified buildings in Des Moines.
    • The Principal Child Development Center earned Gold LEED certification in 2009. And not only is it a Gold LEED certified building, but it incorporates environmentally friendly practices into the learning curriculum, ensuring the children attending the center understand the importance of conservation and the environment.
    • In 2014, we showcased our continuous improvement in operational efficiency and achieved LEED Gold Existing Buildings Operations + Maintenance.
    • We are also currently pursuing LEED Group certification for our downtown campus.
  • We were the first to sponsor a carbon-neutral Champions Tour golf tournament.
    • In 2011, The Principal Charity Classic became the first tournament on the Champions tour to be carbon-neutral — with our Shoot for Zero initiative.
  • We participate in Natural Capitalization programs in Des Moines, the CDP and the Business Roundtable's S.E.E. Change initiatives.
    • These voluntary programs encourage companies to share sustainable solutions and provide the opportunity to disclose greenhouse gas emissions, water management and climate change strategies.
  • We’re featured in Business Roundtable’s 2015 Sustainability Report — Create, Grow, Sustain: Celebrating Success.
    • Page 111 features Larry Zimpleman, chairman, president and CEO, highlighting our sustainability efforts.
  • Our sustainability efforts are also featured in EcoCore, a publication by Des Moines' Downtown Community Alliance.
  • We’re actively working to reduce our CO2e emissions.
    • By the end of 2014, we achieved over a 13 percent reduction in carbon emissions compared to our 2011 baseline.
  • We’re saving energy.
    • By the end of 2014, we reduced our energy consumption by nearly 10 percent compared to our 2011 baseline, resulting in more than $1.5 million in cumulative cost savings.
  • We’re continuing our campus renovations with sustainability as a top priority. Each component of the multi-year renovation of our headquarters considers the environmental impact.
    • Recycling. To date, we’ve recycled more than 90 percent of the materials removed — metals, carpet, drywall, furniture, etc.
    • Energy. The first building to be renovated was designed to an ENERGY STAR Design score of 94.
    • LEED. Our headquarters building was designed to achieve LEED New Construction.
  • We’ve boosted our recycling efforts and strengthened internal communications.
    • Our enhanced recycling program includes new containers, better signage, more effective communications and improved processes for greater consistency and increased landfill diversion across our campus.
    • We currently divert more than 70 percent of ongoing waste from landfills.
    • We’ve created a cross-functional employee Green Team to address environmental and sustainability efforts at a grass roots level.

Featured Environmental Awards & Recognition

In recognition of our environmental efforts, the Principal Financial Group and our Principal Real Estate Investors division have earned the following:

  • 2014 — The Principal named a Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) S&P 500 Climate Performance Leader.
    • This is the second year in a row The Principal has earned a spot on the CDP S&P 500 Climate Performance Leadership Index.
    • The Principal increased its 2013 CDP score from a 95 / A to a 99 / A and was one of only 34 companies named to the Climate Performance Leadership Index in 2014.
  • 2014 — The Prinicpal named a Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) S&P 500 Climate Disclosure Leader.
    • This is the first year The Principal earned a spot on the CDP S&P 500 Climate Disclosure Leadership Index. The Climate Disclosure Leadership Index is the numerical part of the CDP score and is based on the completeness and quality of data reported to CDP.
    • A total of 63 S&P 500 companies earned a spot on the Climate Disclosure Leadership Index in 2014. This index and the Performance Leadership Index highlight companies committed to improving their impact on the environment.
  • 2014 — The Principal ranked 149/500 on the Newsweek Green Ranking.
    • The Newsweek Green Ranking was created in 2009 to rank the 500 largest U.S. companies on corporate sustainability and environmental impact.
    • The Green Rankings have become a key component of Newsweek’s business coverage to address climate change, seeking to assess, with as accurate measurements as possible, the environmental performance of the world’s biggest companies.
  • 2014 — Principal Real Estate Investors recognized as an Executive Member of EPA’s Certification Nation.
    • This program was established to help the EPA celebrate its 15th anniversary and recognize organizations that achieved a significant number of properties certified to the ENERGY STAR standard in 2014.
  • 2014 — Principal Real Estate Investors cited as being among the Greenest Real Estate Companies in the United States by Commercial Property Executive.
    • For the fourth year in a row, the real estate publication’s annual ranking puts Principal Real Estate Investors in a class of companies forging the path for a sustainable future.
  • 2014 — Principal Real Estate Investors received the Green Star designation for three of its funds from the 2014 Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) survey.
    • GRESB is an international organization dedicated to assessing the sustainability performances of real estate portfolios around the world. Green Star is the highest rank GRESB provides.
  • 2013 — Principal Real Estate Investors received a top ranking from the 2013 Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) survey.
    • The Principal Green Property Fund ranked No. 1 among its respective peer group based on the environmental and social performance of the fund's property portfolio.
  • 2013 — Pat Halter, CEO of Principal Real Estate Investors, received an honorable mention for Sustainability Executive of the Year by Commercial Property Executive magazine.
    • The award is based on “creativity and unique contributions to the commercial real estate industry in the past year, as well as transactions, strategies and initiatives at the company and property level.”
  • 2013 — The Principal named a Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) S&P 500 Climate Performance Leader.
    • The Principal Financial Group was named to the CDP S&P 500 Climate Performance Leadership Index with a 2013 CDP score of 95 / A. This performance-based index recognizes achievements associated with measuring, verifying and managing our carbon footprint.
  • 2011 — Winner of Environmental Impact Awards/large business category – Greater Des Moines Partnership award.
    • The Principal was recognized for its major sustainability efforts including energy efficiency programs, waste prevention and recycling measures.

We’d like to thank our customers, shareholders and employees, for their support of our efforts and the choices they’ve made that are better for the environment.

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