How we care about the environment

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

While we've pursued sustainable efforts for years, 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. In 2015 we furthered that commitment by adopting an Environmental Policy.

Principal Real Estate Investors puts the focus on green investing

Principal is committed not only to delivering positive financial outcomes for our clients, but also positive environmental outcomes. This mindset runs throughout our organization and investment management groups—particularly our dedicated real estate group, Principal Real Estate Investors.

This focus on responsible property investing is supported in part by Principal Real Estate Investors’ Pillars of Responsible Property Investing (PRPI) initiative. Established in 2013 and built off of previous sustainability efforts, PRPI outlines a commitment to incorporating environmental, social, and governance issues into real estate investment practices.

The group also strives for green building certifications, namely Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)® and ENERGY STAR™, throughout their real estate portfolio.

Learn more about Principal Real Estate Investors’ responsible property investing efforts.

How we're setting the standard for environmental leadership

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).

  • 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. 
  • 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, 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. 

Advocate and take action

Here are some of the other ways we advocate—and take action—for environmental responsibility across the organization.

  • We built one of the first LEED® certified buildings in Des Moines.
    • 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.
    • We’ve received LEED Group certification on two of the office building on our downtown Des Moines campus, and are pursuing certification for a third building
  • We were the first to sponsor a carbon-neutral Champions Tour golf tournament.
    • In 2011, 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 2017 Sustainability Report - Create, Grow, Sustain: Delivering Shared Success
    • Page 127 features Dan Houston, Chairman, President, and CEO, highlighting our sustainability efforts.

  • Our sustainability efforts are also featured in EcoCore, a publication by Des Moines' Downtown Community Alliance.
  • In 2017, we implemented a composting program for food prep areas in all cafés. In the first month alone, 5,500 pounds was composted.

  • We’re actively working to reduce our CO2e emissions.
    • By the end of 2017, we achieved a 29% 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% 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.
    • Recycling. To date, we’ve recycled more than 90% 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% 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.

Environmental awards and recognition

In recognition of our environmental efforts, Principal and our Principal Real Estate Investors division have earned the following awards or recognition.

  • 2018—For the 6th year in a row, Principal scored an A- on our response to CDP’s 2018 Climate Change questionnaire. The score is above average for companies within our industry and in the U.S.

  • 2017—Principal scored an A- on our response to CDP’s 2017 Climate Change questionnaire. This is a leadership score and higher than 70% of all respondents in the United States and nearly 60% of all U.S. financial sector respondents.
  • 2017—Principal ranked 184/500 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.
  • 2017—Principal Real Estate Investors recognized as ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year. This recognizes the integration of ENERGY STAR as a key component of the Principles of Responsible Investment initiative to help improve energy efficiency of U.S. buildings.1
  • 2017—Principal Real Estate Investors received an A+ rating (the highest score possible) in the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) Assessent.2
  • 2017—Principal Real Estate Investors earned four-star designations and top-10 rankings from the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) for two participating real estate funds. GRESB ranks real estate investment companies based on their environmental, social, and governance performance

Additionally, Principal Real Estate Investors has been recognized for its long-standing commitment to responsible property investing. Check out the awards received by Principal Real Estate Investors.

Supporting our environment

Principal takes its responsibility to support our natural environment seriously, it is our mission to reduce our company’s overall environmental impact.

Our commitment to corporate social responsibility

Read about our ESG strategy, areas of focus, and reports.