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EPA Center for Corporate Climate Leadership

Climate Leadership Awards Certificate for Innovative Partnership

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.


The certificate for innovative partnership recognizes organizations working collaboratively on leading edge climate initiatives that are above and beyond business as usual. Partnerships that are candidates for recognition should be comprised primarily of stakeholder institutions from government, academia and/or the private sector that have collectively established objectives to measurably address greenhouse gas reduction goals and/or adaptation and resilience activities.

Application and Submission Instructions
  1. Review the general eligibility requirements and the specific evaluation criteria for the Innovative Partnerships category specified below
  2. Download the 2018 Climate Leadership Awards Application: Innovative Partnership(8 pp, 255 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 Innovative Partnership Certificate.

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).

Innovative Partnership Certificate Eligibility Requirements

Applicants for the Innovative Partnership Certificate must meet the following eligibility requirements:

Recognition will be open to partnerships comprised of two or more primary stakeholders from government entities, academic institutions and/or the private sector. While this award category has been established to highlight public/private and public/public partnerships, partnerships exclusively comprised of private sector stakeholders may be considered if the nature of the activity is deemed to be outside the normal scope of business and is sufficient in magnitude of GHG emissions reduction and/or adaptation implementation to merit recognition.

In order to qualify for recognition, applicants must adhere to the following:

  • The partnership must be:
    • Currently active;
    • Based upon or supported by a legal agreement/arrangement that addresses governance, roles, funding, etc.; and,
    • Publicly described as being driven and/or motivated by an imperative to take climate action.
  • Partnership activities must be located in the United States, though the primary stakeholders are not necessarily required to be headquartered in the United States.
  • Partnerships must also have:
    • Conducted an assessment of all attributes related to the primary objectives of the partnership (e.g., vulnerability assessment, GHG inventory, energy consumption) in order to establish a baseline;
    • Achieved significant, verifiable results in reducing emissions and/or implementing adaptation and resilience to protect a specific population; and
    • Significant leadership activities and partnership accomplishments must have taken place between January 1, 2015 and September 26, 2017.
  • Primary stakeholders to the partnership will need to pass an EPA compliance screen in order for the partnership to be selected.

What is not eligible?

  • Partnerships undertaking an action that falls within the normal scope of business activity/mission of any organization are not eligible.
  • Arrangements between organizations that are based on procurement of services are not eligible (e.g., a government entity contracting an engineering consultant to do adaptation planning work).
  • Activities and achievements that have been previously recognized specifically for climate action by the U.S. EPA and its partners are not eligible.
  • Elected public officials are ineligible to apply.

Innovative Partnership Certificate Evaluation Criteria

Partnerships will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Magnitude of publicly established goals.
  • Delivery and disclosure of measurable and verifiable results or actions against publicly established goals for GHG reductions, reduced vulnerability to climate change impacts, etc.
  • Demonstration of innovation, thought leadership and public benefit.
  • Incorporation of measures to ensure sustainability of the program over time.
  • Ability to be replicated by others, including commitment of partners to sharing lessons learned.
  • Efforts to conduct public engagement, stakeholder outreach.
  • Nature of governance, budget and management of the partnership.
  • Quality of education and training of internal and external stakeholders.

*Examples of innovative partnerships for which this category has been designed include:

  • Multiple municipalities partnering together to conduct regional planning and implementation activities (these partnerships can also include non-governmental entities as stakeholders);
  • Government entities and/or academic institutions that partner with entities outside of their sector on a particular project; and
  • Joint ventures between multiple institutions across sectors where the initiative is above and beyond the normal course of business operations for each of the primary stakeholders.

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