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EPA Center for Corporate Climate Leadership

Climate Leadership Award for Organizational Leadership

Climate Leadership Awards LogoThe Agency has decided to discontinue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) involvement with the 2018 Climate Leadership Awards program. This includes canceling the 2018 Climate Leadership Awards as well as EPA’s sponsorship of the Climate Leadership Conference.


Recognizes organizations that not only have their own comprehensive greenhouse gas inventories and aggressive emissions reduction goals, but also exemplify extraordinary leadership in their internal response to climate change, and engagement of their peers, partners, and supply chain.

Application and Submission Instructions
  1. Review the general eligibility requirements and the specific evaluation criteria for the Organizational Leadership Award category specified below.
  2. Download the 2018 Climate Leadership Awards Application: Organizational Leadership(11 pp, 278 K, June 2017) and the Organizational Leadership Award: Third-Party Reference Form(3 pp, 241 K, June 2017) .
  3. Complete the application package, save it to your computer, and submit a copy by e-mail to with the following subject line: Application for Organizational Leadership Award.

Please Note: If applying for an award in more than one category, submissions must be made separately for each. An organization may not reapply for an award category in which it has won in the past two years (e.g., an organization that won in a category in 2016 may not reapply for the same category until the 2019 awards, however, it can apply in another category if it meets the eligibility requirements for that category).

Organizational Leadership Award Eligibility Requirements

Applicants for the Organizational Leadership Award must meet the following eligibility requirements:

General Requirements

  • Applicants must have significant operations in the United States. Given the global nature of climate change, the majority of greenhouse gas emissions reductions do not have to occur in the United States.
  • Meet one of the following descriptions:
    • Legally-recognized corporate organization with annual revenue over $100 million; or
    • Governmental entity or academic organization with annual budget over $100 million.
  • Finalists will need to pass an EPA compliance screen in order to be selected.
  • Exemplary climate leadership activities must have taken place between January 1, 2015 and September 26, 2017. However, applications may also refer to actions that commenced before that time and continued into the application period and the length of time an action has been in practice, or which explains how that prior activity served as a foundation for ongoing and more current activities.

GHG Inventory & Verification Requirements

  • GHG inventory must be publicly reported and include both scope 1 and 2 emissions. If the organization has a GHG reduction goal with an achievement year of 2015 or later, the organization must report both location-based and market-based scope 2 emissions for both the base year and the achievement year.
  • Inventories must be third-party verified to a limited level of assurance or have been through a third-party critical review. If scope 3 or direct or indirect biogenic emissions are included as part of the applicant's goal, these must also undergo third-party verification or critical review.
  • Third-party verified GHG inventory statement is required for goal’s base year.
  • Reporting all scope 1 and 2 sources of an organization’s GHG inventory, with the exception of small sources that are cumulatively equal to or less than 5% of total emissions.
    • For organizations that include all GHG inventory sources, up to 5% of emissions of their inventory can be accounted for using simplified estimation methods.
    • For organizations that have determined certain sources are immaterial and do not include them in their inventory, those sources should be documented in their inventory management plan and verification statement.
  • If base year emissions have changed by 5% or more as a result of structural change, a change in calculation methodologies, or because of a discovered error, applicants must adjust the base year inventory to reflect this correction or change. If the organization has a GHG reduction goal with an achievement year of 2015 or later, the organization must include both location-based and market-based scope 2 emissions in its reported GHG inventory for the base year, regardless of the magnitude of the change from previously reported scope 2 emissions.
  • If adjustments of 5% or more are made to the base year emissions, a third-party verification body or critical reviewer must attest to the accuracy of the base year adjustment. This requirement also applies if the difference between newly reported base year location-based or market-based scope 2 emissions and previously reported base year scope 2 emissions is 5% or more.

GHG Reduction Goal Requirements

  • The goal must be publicly announced.
  • The geographic boundaries of the goal and GHG inventory must include all U.S. operations, all North America operations, or all global operations. Within the chosen geographic boundaries, the reduction goal should include all scope 1 and 2 (either location-based or market-based) emissions sources that are included in the inventory. The goal boundaries must remain consistent throughout the goal period.
  • The goal must be an absolute reduction goal. Intensity goals will only be accepted if accompanied by a publicly announced absolute reduction goal.
  • The base year for a first generation goal may not be more than four years prior to the year the goal was publicly announced. For instance, for first generation goals set in 2016, 2012 would be the earliest base year accepted. Subsequent goals may use the same base year as a previous goal, provided that the new goal extends the goal period by three years at a minimum.
  • The goal period (the time between the base year and achievement year) should be no less than three and no more than 12 years for a first generation goal. Subsequent goals that use the same base year may extend the previous goal period by no fewer than three and no more than 12 years.
  • Goals must represent an aggressive reduction, which is defined as follows:
    • An organization’s first goal must commit to at least a 1.8% reduction per year over the life of the goal. For example, a 5-year goal must commit to at least 9% total reduction.
    • A subsequent goal with a new base year must also commit to at least a 1.8% reduction per year over the life of the goal. For example, a 5-year goal must commit to at least 9% total reduction. (An organization may substantiate their case for a subsequent goal that is below the required 1.8% threshold but that has ≥1% reduction per year, such as a goal considered aggressive in a specific sector.)
    • If an organization has a subsequent goal that is using the same base year as a previous goal, please see Frequent Questions for additional guidance.

For more specific information on third party verification, reporting GHGs, or the use of RECs and offsets, please refer to Frequent Questions.

Additional Considerations for Evaluation:

  • Innovation and thought leadership in developing operational strategies to address climate change.
  • Disclosure of climate-related material risks and opportunities.
  • Strategic integration of climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience activities into applicant's operations, including establishing management structures, verifying performance, allocating budget, engaging the supply chain, and demonstrating a track record of establishing and achieving GHG reduction and climate risk mitigation goals.
  • Key climate initiatives and subsequent goals, benchmarks, and plans for measuring success.
  • Quality of engagement with external stakeholders -- non-profit partners, governmental organizations, and/or other non-advocacy collaborations in which the applicant is an active participant.
  • Education and training of internal staff and management, as well as external stakeholders, partners, suppliers, competitors, and/or others.
  • Activities that are deemed to exceed business-as-usual.

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