Climate Leadership Awards
- About the CLA
- 2013 Award Winners
- 2012 Award Winners
- Application Process, Eligibility and Evaluation Criteria
- Excellence in GHG Management (Goal Setting Certificate)
- Excellence in GHG Management (Goal Achievement)
- Supply Chain Leadership
- Organizational Leadership
- Individual Leadership
- Frequent Questions
- Awards Dinner and Conference
- About the Partners
Dates to Remember
June 11, 2013 – Climate Leadership Awards Informational Webinar, 12:00PM EST
June 24, 2013 – Application period opens
September 13, 2013 – Deadline for 2014 award applications
Please note that the content on this page is from the 2013 Awards. This information will be updated for the 2014 Awards by June 11.
- Program Basics
- Awards Criteria
- Application and Judging Process
- Climate Leadership Awards Ceremony and Conference
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has partnered with The Climate Registry (The Registry), the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), and the Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO) to incentivize, recognize, and highlight actions that go beyond business as usual in the management and reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions both in internal operations and throughout the supply chain.
What are the Climate Leadership Awards?
The Climate Leadership Awards are a national program to recognize exemplary corporate, organizational, and individual leadership in response to climate change. By showcasing and recognizing voluntary action on climate and energy under a unified banner, EPA, The Registry, C2ES, and ACCO are sending a strong signal that innovative, sustainable leadership and reductions in GHG emissions are critical to addressing climate change in the United States.
Why is EPA jointly recognizing climate leadership with The Registry, C2ES, and ACCO?
EPA has found that EPA recognition of organizational and individual performance encourages voluntary action on energy efficiency, the production and use of cleaner power, managing and reducing GHG emissions, building resilience and other climate-friendly activities that go beyond business-as-usual activities. EPA also values the contributions that other organizations working to address climate change can bring to a recognition initiative.
How did EPA form a partnership with The Registry, C2ES, and ACCO?
In early 2011, EPA requested proposals from one or more organizations to continue to recognize corporate leadership on climate change. In May 2011, the proposal from the consortium consisting of The Registry, C2ES, and ACCO was selected by EPA to partner on this new national recognition program. The Registry, C2ES, and ACCO have a history of collaboration, complementary expertise, and their combined memberships include more than 450 corporations and other public and private sector organizations.
Are the Climate Leadership Awards a replacement program for Climate Leaders?
The Climate Leadership Awards are a legacy of the Climate Leaders program, not a replacement. The EPA Climate Leaders program, logo, website, and all other activities and affiliations officially ended on September 30, 2011.
While EPA is no longer providing individual companies with one-on-one technical assistance for developing GHG goals, inventories, and inventory management plans (IMPs) in a programmatic setting, EPA recently launched its new Center for Corporate Climate Leadership to serve as a resource center for all organizations looking to expand their work in the area of GHG measurement and management. The Center will help to establish norms of climate leadership by encouraging organizations with emerging climate objectives to identify and achieve cost-effective GHG emission reductions, while helping more advanced organizations build their climate leadership activities into their supply chains and beyond. The Climate Leadership Awards serve as a cornerstone of EPA’s new Center.
In keeping with the new Center’s mission, EPA released its Corporate GHG Goal Evaluation Model in May 2012. The goal model was initially created under EPA’s Climate Leaders program as a tool for projecting business-as-usual GHG intensity improvements in order to assess the aggressiveness of GHG reduction goals set by companies participating in the program.
What will be recognized within the Climate Leadership Awards program?
Specific award categories are as follows:
- Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management (Goal Setting Certificate) – Recognizes organizations that publicly report and verify corporate GHG inventories and publicly set aggressive GHG emissions reduction goals.
- Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management (Goal Achievement Award) – Recognizes organizations that publicly report and verify corporate GHG inventories and achieve aggressive GHG emissions reduction goals.
- Supply Chain Leadership Award – Recognizes organizations that have their own comprehensive GHG inventories and aggressive emissions reductions goals and can demonstrate that they are at the leading edge of managing GHG emissions in their organizational supply chains.
- Organizational Leadership Award – Recognizes organizations that not only have comprehensive GHG inventories and aggressive emissions reductions goals, but also exemplify leadership in their internal response to climate change and through engagement of their peers, competitors, partners, and supply chain.
- Individual Leadership Award – Recognizes individuals exemplifying extraordinary leadership in leading their organizations’ response to climate change and/or affecting the responses of their organizations (as well as others).
Who is eligible to be recognized within this awards program?
Corporate organizations with annual revenue over $100 million as well as governmental entities or academic organizations with annual budgets over $100 million are eligible. Individuals whose employers meet the aforementioned criteria are also recognized in the “Individual Leadership” category. Applicants must have significant operations in the United States. Given the global nature of climate change, the majority of GHG emissions reductions do not have to occur in the United States.
Why is there a threshold of $100 million in revenues for businesses, and of $100 million in budget for governmental entities and academic organizations?
While all actions taken to reduce GHG emissions are important, this program focuses on motivating and recognizing those organizations that may yield the largest impacts through their efforts. A threshold was also implemented to ensure that volunteer judging panels would be able to provide an adequate review for each application.
What constitutes an aggressive GHG reduction goal?
Applicants are expected to demonstrate that their goals – including second and third generation goals – are sufficiently aggressive and beyond business as usual in the applicant’s sector. The determination of an aggressive goal may vary for different sectors and for different organizations depending on a variety of factors. For instance, GHG intensity tends to decrease over time in most sectors as equipment is replaced with newer, more efficient technology. This trend can be rapid in sectors where capital stock turns over quickly, and much slower in traditional manufacturing sectors. The rate of intensity improvement can also be affected by the growth rate of the sector. At the same time, organizations within the same sector can have different GHG emissions sources and a wide range of reduction opportunities. In addition, some organizations have undertaken GHG reduction activities prior to announcing public GHG targets, which should be taken into consideration when evaluating an organization’s goal.
EPA recently published a Corporate GHG Goal Evaluation Model, which is now available for download on the EPA Center for Corporate Climate Leadership’s Goal Setting page.
This resource provides organizations with a transparent and publicly available benchmarking tool to help evaluate and establish new or existing GHG goals. This model was created under EPA’s Climate Leaders program as a tool for projecting business-as-usual GHG intensity improvements in order to assess GHG reduction goals set by companies participating in the program. The model incorporates best available forecast data on energy consumption and economic production output from a variety of publicly available sources and has been updated and enhanced with data from 2011.
In addition to the benchmarking tool above, other ways of demonstrating the aggressiveness of GHG goals include providing input from external industry experts or stakeholders, demonstrating unique emissions reduction opportunities specific to the organization and how those factored into goal setting/achievement, qualitative and quantitative evidence of past performance, how the organization is implementing energy management best practices for the industry, appropriate production metrics, and other GHG management innovations that might support an applicant’s claims.
Do the Climate Leadership Awards allow for recognition of the goals set by Partners during their participation in the Climate Leaders program?
Yes, however, companies that participated in the Climate Leaders program and have already received recognition from EPA for their goal setting and/or achievements are not eligible.
Will the Climate Leadership Awards recognize intensity-based reduction goals?
In the Excellence in GHG Management categories, intensity targets will be recognized in two ways:
- For the goal setting category: Eligible organizations will be recognized for intensity goals that also result in aggressive absolute emission reductions. Organizations that established aggressive intensity-based GHG reduction goals between January 1, 2010 and October 5, 2010 (the date after which Climate Leaders no longer accepted intensity goals) and have not yet been recognized by EPA are also eligible for recognition.
- For the goal achievement category: Organizations that set aggressive intensity goals before October 5, 2010 (the date after which Climate Leaders no longer accepted intensity goals) and achieved the goal between January 1, 2010 and October 12, 2012 will be eligible for recognition (if they have not yet received recognition from EPA). Eligible organizations achieving intensity goals that also result in aggressive absolute emission reductions may also be recognized.
Is a publicly reported and third-party verified inventory required?
Yes. To qualify for a Climate Leadership Award, nominees will need to have a GHG inventory that is publicly reported and third-party verified to a ‘limited’ level of assurance or has received a critical review (see more detail below). This is an essential component for evaluating and ensuring the veracity of the nominee’s application, as well as the consistency and quality of the data submitted. Companies with inventories previously reviewed and approved under the Climate Leaders program may submit those for the relevant years.
What is international best practice in GHG reporting, and what standard of third-party verification will CLAs accept?
There are multiple GHG accounting and reporting methods contained within established GHG reporting guidance, such as the International Panel on Climate Change Methodology Reports, the World Resources Institute/World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s GHG Protocol standards, the International Standards Organization’s 14064 series, and The Climate Registry’s GHG reporting and verification protocols.
Once an organization has completed its annual emissions report, the inventory must be both publicly reported and third-party verified in order to be submitted in a CLA application. Three levels of third-party verification are currently accepted in the CLAs - ‘reasonable’ level of assurance, ‘limited’ level of assurance, and critical review. These levels reflect the degree of confidence the verifier has that an emissions report is materially correct. As the assurance level increases, so does the required rigor of the review process.
- ‘Reasonable’ assurance statements are generally considered to reflect the highest possible level of confidence from a verification body. They result from a comprehensive review and site visits and are typically crafted as a positive statement, in other words, the verifier demonstrates there is ‘reasonable assurance that an emissions report is materially correct.’
- ‘Limited’ assurance statements provide a lower level of confidence, as they require both less detailed testing of GHG data and less examination of supporting documentation. These are typically crafted as a negative assertion, in other words, the verifier demonstrates there is no evidence that an emission report is not materially correct.
- Third-party critical reviews are conducted by an independent third party who, at a minimum, ensures that the measurement methodologies and data collection processes are consistent with international best practice and are scientifically and technically valid. Applicants must include a written statement from the third party that confirms the data used to estimate emissions are appropriate and reasonable for public reporting. If the inventory is reported to a particular standard, the critical review findings should also include a statement that the inventory is in conformance with that standard.
Note: While limited assurance statements and third party critical reviews will be accepted for both the 2013 and 2014 CLAs, it is expected that verification standards will be increased for the 2015 awards such that 2014 inventories and beyond must be consistent with ISO 14064-3, conducted by a verification body accredited to ISO 14065, and verified to a reasonable level of assurance in order to align with emerging international best practice. For more information, see the answers to the following frequent questions.
Do scope 3 emissions have to be reported and third-party verified?
Scope 3 emissions must also be reported if they are incorporated in the reduction goal and should be reported for Supply Chain Award applications. If scope 3 emissions are included as part of the applicant’s goal, these must also undergo, at a minimum, a third-party critical review.
How is the verification standard for scope 1 and 2 emissions evolving? Will these changes impact the Climate Leadership Awards in the future?
In order to align with international best practice, beginning with the 2015 awards, third-party verification for 2014 GHG inventories and beyond must be:
- consistent with ISO 14064-3,
- conducted by a verification body accredited to ISO 14065, and,
- performed to reasonable level of assurance.
A high-quality verification standard is directly linked to accurate, credible data, which is critical for validating emission reductions and for demonstrating true accountability to your stakeholders.
Are ISAE standards acceptable for verification of GHG inventories?
Beginning with the 2015 awards, verification must be consistent with ISO 14064-3. For the 2013 and 2014 awards, other standards such as ISAE 3000 may be accepted. Base year reports that were submitted to U.S. EPA’s Climate Leaders Program for technical review by an EPA-contracted reviewer and were found to be consistent with the requirements of that program are also accepted.
If an organization had its base year accepted by EPA as part of the Climate Leaders program, does it have to have its base year re-verified?
If an organization had its base year accepted by EPA as part of the Climate Leaders program but then had to adjust its base year, does it have to have its base year re-verified?
Yes. It may be possible for an organization to have the adjustment verified in conjunction with the achievement year inventory.
What if there has been a change in our base year emissions?
If your base year emissions have changed by more than 5% as a result of structural change, a change in calculation methodologies, or because you’ve discovered an error, you must adjust your base year inventory to reflect this.
If your inventory has undergone a previous third-party review but there has been an adjustment of 5% or more in your base year emissions, a third-party verification body must attest to the accuracy of your base year adjustment.
Can a subsidiary apply for an Excellence in GHG Management award?
Yes, as long as the applicant can provide a detailed GHG inventory that is accounted for separately from that of the parent organization.
Can offset and REC purchases be listed as one of the three mitigation activities under the Excellence in GHG Management criteria?
RECs (scope 2) and high-quality offsets (scope 1, 2, and 3) can be used as part of a program to reduce an organization’s GHG emissions. If used, they should be incorporated into the verified GHG inventory. However, the Climate Leadership Awards look to recognize leaders that undertake additional mitigation activities that go beyond the purchase of RECs and offsets. Thus, the three mitigation activities provided in the application should be internal initiatives that an organization undertakes to manage and reduce its emissions.
Can offsets and RECs be sourced from outside the United States?
While it is preferred that offsets are sourced in the U.S., non-U.S. offsets are also acceptable as long as they meet the key accounting principles described in the application forms.
U.S. RECs are also preferred, but non-U.S. RECs may be acceptable as long as the applicant can demonstrate that the RECs otherwise meet the EPA’s Green Power Partnership eligibility requirements (PDF) (19 pp, 630K).
Does my organization have to be a participant of EPA’s Smartway program to be eligible for the Supply Chain Leadership Award?
Applicants citing significant achievements in U.S. and Canadian transportation and distribution-related supply chain activities and that are eligible to be a SmartWay partner in one the six categories—freight shippers, logistics companies (including 3PLs/4PLs), rail carriers, truck carriers, drayage truck carriers, and multi-modal carriers—must be both SmartWay partners and eligible for recognition under EPA’s SmartWay Excellence Awards criteria.
If an applicant’s supply chain achievements do not include significant transportation and distribution-related activities in the U.S. and Canada, or they are not eligible to be a SmartWay partner, then these criteria do not apply.
Application and Judging Process
What is the application process?
Application forms will be available on the website by August 22, 2012. You may apply for or nominate another organization/individual for a Climate Leadership Award between the opening of the nominations period on August 22, 2012 and October 12, 2012.
What is the timeframe for applications?
The deadline for applications for the 2012 awards will be October 12, 2012.
Can organizations apply themselves?
Yes, as long as the applicant meets the award criteria eligibility requirements.
How will the applications be judged?
Applications will be evaluated by EPA, The Registry, C2ES, and ACCO in collaboration with independent experts.
Climate Leadership Awards Ceremony and Conference
When and where will the Climate Leadership Awards ceremony take place?
An event to honor award recipients will take place in early 2013 in Washington, DC in conjunction with the second annual Climate Leadership Conference.
What is the Climate Leadership Conference?
The 2013 Climate Leadership Conference is an annual exchange for addressing global climate change through innovation and business solutions. Forward-thinking leaders from business, government, academia, and the non-profit community share best practices for integrating GHG reduction and climate risk and resilience strategies into their organization’s operations.
Over 270 climate professionals participated in the 2012 conference. The 2013 event will feature high-profile speakers from the public and private sectors who will share key insights and innovative ideas on topics related to the Climate Leadership Awards such as: energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities, setting and achieving GHG reduction goals, engaging supply chains, developing adaptation strategies, and other practical applications for climate change response strategies. Comprehensive information about the conference is available at www.climateleadershipconference.org.
Who may attend the awards dinner?
The awards dinner honoring award and certificate recipients is open to the public. Conference attendees, award winners, and special guests are encouraged to attend. All non-conference attendees are required to pre-register for the event.
Will there be multiple winners in each award category?
EPA, The Registry, C2ES and ACCO will recognize multiple winners where it is deemed appropriate to do so.
When will award winners be notified?
What will award winners receive?
Organizations recognized for Excellence in GHG Management: Goal Setting will receive a mounted certificate. The Excellence in GHG Management: Goal Achievement, Supply Chain, Individual, and Organizational Leadership Award winners will receive a physical award.
How do I register to attend the awards event?
Registration information for the Climate Leadership Awards Dinner and the Climate Leadership Conference will be available at www.climateleadershipconference.org.
Is a special hotel rate associated with the CLA program?
A discounted hotel rate will be made available to all Climate Leadership Conference and Climate Leadership Awards Dinner attendees. Information on lodging rates and a link to reservations will be made available at www.climateleadershipconference.org/lodging.html by September 2012.
Will the awards program occur on an annual basis?
Yes. EPA, The Registry, C2ES, and ACCO have plans to produce the awards program on an annual basis.
Who produces the Climate Leadership Conference? What is EPA’s role in the conference?
The Registry, C2ES, and ACCO are co-presenting organizations of the Climate Leadership Conference. EPA is the headline sponsor to the Climate Leadership Conference.
See the conference website for more information.
You can also email us:
- Awards program: questions@ClimateLeadershipAwards.org
- Climate Leadership Conference: questions@ClimateLeadershipConference.org
Questions will be directed to the appropriate parties and we will respond within 2-3 business days.