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Center for Corporate Climate Leadership

Organizational Leadership Award

The 2016 Climate Leadership Awards application period will be open from June 24, 2015 through September 25, 2015.


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 2016 Organizational Leadership Award Application form and the Third Party Reference Form.
  3. Complete the application package, save it to your computer, and submit a copy with all required supporting materials by e-mail to applications@ClimateLeadershipAwards.org 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 2014 may not reapply for the same category until the 2017 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.
  • Publicly report a recent, third-party verified GHG inventory of all GHG emissions from scopes 1, 2 & 3. Scope 3 GHG inventory sources may include supply chain activities such as purchased goods and services; waste generated in operations; transportation and distribution; and product use.
  • Have a current, publicly-set, aggressive, organization-wide, absolute GHG emissions reduction goal.
  • Exemplary climate leadership activities must have taken place between January 1, 2013 and September 25, 2015. 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

  • Third-party verified GHG inventory statements are required for base year inventories.
  • An organization's GHG inventory must include all sources, 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.
  • GHG inventory must include both scope 1 and 2 emissions and must be third-party verified to at least a limited level of assurance or have been through a third-party critical review. If scope 3 emissions are included as part of the applicant's goal, these must also undergo third-party verification or critical review. 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.
  • Base year reports accepted by EPA as part of the Climate Leaders program that were reviewed by an EPA-contracted reviewer, have had no further base year adjustments, and have been found to be consistent with the requirements of that program, are accepted as critical review.

GHG Reduction Goal Requirements

  • The goal must cover 100% of the corporate-wide footprint.
  • The boundary of the reduction goal should include all scope 1 and 2 emissions and 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 2015, 2011 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.
  • 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. (In rare circumstances, an organization may substantiate their case for a 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.

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 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.

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

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