Renewable Choice Energy

Climate Leaders 2.0

industry-news icon by on 06/07/2011

EPA unveils new National Climate Awards Program, and strategically says goodbye to Climate Leaders.

EPA National Climate AwardsThe phase down of EPA’s highly successful and long standing Climate Leaders program last September left many program participants and industry members questioning what would fill the void left by the program’s discontinuation. EPA’s recent unveiling of the new National Climate Awards Program, co-sponsored by The Climate Registry, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, and the Association of Climate Change Officers, appears to shed some light on this question.

Climate Leaders was a program started by the EPA back in 2002 and was designed to help organizations complete a voluntary greenhouse gas inventory and then set reduction goals. By encouraging participants to make the move to non-governmental programs instead of Climate Leaders, EPA is focused on realigning their resources to more comprehensively assist companies who want to learn as much as they can about the emissions data they’ve collected as a result of conducting a greenhouse gas report. A broad range of best practices and innovation is expected as a result of the transition. No other voluntary program will be affected by the change.

Once such realigning is the introduction of the National Climate Awards Program. According to EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy, "This new opportunity reflects EPA’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and recognizing leadership on climate change". Ms. McCarthy went on to say "[EPA is] pleased to be partnering with three non-profit organizations that have demonstrated expertise in GHG emissions management."

The criteria for selecting recipients have not been announced, but it appears the first round of award recipients will be selected in early 2012. Award categories will include:

  • Sustained Excellence in Public Reporting– Recognizing companies that continually raise the bar in the area of public disclosure of GHG emissions data. This would include regular public reporting and verification of corporate GHG inventories, GHG goal setting and achievement of GHG emissions reductions.
  • Supply Chain Leadership– Recognizing companies that have their own comprehensive GHG inventories and emissions reduction goals and can demonstrate that they are at the leading edge of managing carbon in their supply chain.
  • Organizational Leadership– Recognizing companies that have “mainstreamed” climate change across their operations and can demonstrate that they factor climate change into their business decisions.
  • Individual Leadership– Recognizing individuals exemplifying extraordinary leadership in leading their organizations’ response to climate change and/or affecting the responses of other organizations.

While only time will tell how the National Climate Awards Program will continue to develop the ability of EPA to support, promote and recognize climate leadership, EPA has clearly selected the highest caliber partners to implement the new program. It is exciting to see EPA demonstrate such commitment to recognizing leadership in the area of climate responsibility.

Renewable Choice's Matt Wood

Matt Wood is Director of Sustainability Services for Renewable Choice.