5 ways one Birmingham company is building a sustainable business


Protective Life Corporation, sustainable business
Protective is hiring. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

For more than 115 years, Protective Life Corporation has helped people achieve protection and security in their lives. We’ve pulled five golden nuggets from Protective’s 2021 Sustainability Report that can help others in Birmingham trying to build a sustainable business or adopt sustainable practices. Keep reading for all the details. 

Sustainability Report 2021: Business, People, Community

Scott Adams, sustainable business
Scott Adams (Protective)

“Building a sustainable business requires innovation, searching for opportunities and evolving to better reach and protect more people. We continue to integrate sustainable practices across our organization and strongly believe our broad view supports our longevity, enabling us to deliver on our promises now and for years to come.” 

Scott Adams, Executive Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, Strategy and Innovation for Protective

1. Powering the Birmingham HQ with 100% renewable energy

Protective Sustainability Report
Protective’s HQ is powered by 100% renewable energy (Protective)

Deciding to power its 650,000 square-foot headquarters with 100% renewable energy was no small commitment. Fortunately, through the use of a Renewable Energy Credit (REC), in collaboration with Alabama Power Company, Protective is now able to do just that.

Fun fact: the renewable energy used to power the HQ—in a normal year—is equivalent to 19 million kilowatt-hours of wind energy. In case you’re wondering, that translates to almost 2169 years! 

In addition to reducing the carbon emissions of their HQ, which is home to 40% of the company’s total employees, Protective is helping increase the overall demand for clean energy. 

Interested in learning more about how to build a sustainable business? Download the Protective 2021 Sustainability Report today

2. Promoting healthy aging research with UAB

Dr. Steven Austad, sustainable business
Dr. Steven Austad, PhD at work in the lab at UAB. (Protective)

Back in the early days of the pandemic, we introduced our readers to Dr. Steven Austad, PhD, a UAB healthy aging expert who’s discovering the secrets of longevity from ancient creatures.

To help advance the science in this vitally important area, UAB has named Dr. Austad as the Protective Life Endowed Chair in Healthy Aging Research. He’ll not only be able to help understand the underlying causes of aging—he’ll also be able to develop medical interventions to support healthy aging.

In addition to this position, Protective’s total $2M investment also funds the Protective Life Healthy Aging and Research Acceleration and Innovation Fund at UAB. From medication to meal timing, this research has the potential to transform how we all age.

3. Supporting the Protecting Good Community Engagement initiative

Protecting Good, sustainability report
Protecting Good near the stadium. (Protective)

For Protective, having their name on the new stadium was more than PR—it was the start of a relationship focused on quality of life for residents living near the stadium in five key neighborhoods

  • Central City
  • Druid Hills
  • Evergreen
  • Fountain Heights
  • Norwood

The program places special emphasis on the following: 

  • Strong communities
  • Access to resources
  • Being advocates who will listen, address concerns and seek solutions where possible

Protecting Good is a broad community engagement initiative. One of the key initiatives of the program is helping residents repair and replace their roofs. 

A collaborative project between Protective, the Alabama Department of Insurance’s Strengthen Alabama Homes Program, the City of Birmingham’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and Habitat for Humanity made this work possible. 

Through this partnership, FORTIFIED™ roofs were installed and critical home repairs were completed on three homes during an initial pilot late in 2021. In 2022, Protecting Good’s project for homes plans to target 100 homes. 

4. Supporting Protective Teammates

Protective sustainability
So many different kinds of people at Protective. (Protective)

During the pandemic, like many companies, Protective made a lot of changes in order to build a sustainable business. These included:

  • Providing hybrid and virtual work opportunities for employees.
  • Adding a paid cultural floating holiday.
  • Rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine incentive awareness campaign to prioritize and protect employees. 

Also, for the second consecutive year, Protective increased its minimum wage, this time, up to $18 per hour.

Here’s how employees voted on an internal Pulse Survey conducted in August 2021: 

  • 91% of Protective employees feel proud to tell people where they work.
  • 90% are likely to recommend the company to friends or family as a great place to work.
  • 84% say they are inspired by what the company stands for.

5. Partnering with the community via the Protective Life Foundation 

sustainable business
Preschool Partners (Protective)

In 2021, the Foundation paid $4 million in grants to support a number of organizations that improve the quality of life of citizens, neighborhoods and the environment. 

“Through financial contributions and volunteer hours, Protective reaches and actively serves hundreds of nonprofits, ultimately touching thousands of people in need of help, support and encouragement.”

—Sustainability Report 2021
  • 198 nonprofits supported
  • 1,500+ of Protective’s employees engaged in the community

Learn more about the steps Protective is taking to build a sustainable business in their 2021 Sustainability Report

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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