Individual Leadership Award


Recognizes individuals exemplifying extraordinary leadership in leading their organizations’ response to climate change and through engagement of their peers and partners.

Application and Submission Instructions

Review the general eligibility requirements and the specific evaluation criteria for the Individual Leadership Award category specified below.

  1. Download the 2021 Climate Leadership Awards Application: Individual Leadership (8 pp, 293 K, August 2020) and the Organizational Leadership Award: Individual Leadership Award: Third Party Reference Form (3 pp, 275 K, August 2020). Completed reference forms may be submitted via email to, or submitted by the applicant along with their application form (see below).
  2. Complete the application package, save it to your computer. Collect any required or additional supporting information.
  3. Submit application and supporting materials online via the CLA SmarterSelect portal.

PLEASE NOTE: If applying for an award in more than one category, submissions must be made separately for each. An individual may not reapply for this award category in which if he/she has won in the past two years (e.g., an individual who won in this category in 2019 may not reapply for the same category until the 2022 awards, however, s/he can apply in another category if meeting the eligibility requirements for that category).

General Eligibility Requirements

    1. Applicant’s employer 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 U.S.
    2. Applicant’s employer must meet one of the following descriptions:
      • Legally-recognized corporate organization with annual revenue over $100 million; or
      • Governmental entity or academic organization with an annual budget over $100 million
    3. Applicants must have been employed and reside within the United States.
    4. CLA applications and applicants (applicant’s employer in the case of the Individual Leadership Award) may be reviewed and evaluated for environmental, civil rights, and/or financial improprieties.  An application may be denied if the applicant/organization is found to be in serious violation of environmental regulations, civil rights, or financial impropriety by the CLA Steering Committee. Where areas of concern are identified, additional follow up may be conducted. 
    5. Exemplary climate leadership activities must have taken place between January 1, 2018 and December 4, 2020. 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.

Considerations for Evaluation:

Applicants will be evaluated based on the following attributes that are deemed to exceed business as usual:

  • Innovation, strategic management, and thought leadership in addressing climate change.
  • Key climate initiatives led by the applicant, and subsequent goals, benchmarks and plans for measuring success implemented by the applicant.
  • Quality of engagement with non-profit partners, government organizations, and/or other non-advocacy collaborations.
  • Quality of collaboration with peers to develop best practices, influence behavior change, establish standards and engage in public education.
  • Education and training of internal staff and management, as well as external stakeholders, partners, and suppliers.