Innovative Partnership Certificate


The certificate for innovative partnerships 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 2023 Climate Leadership Awards Application: Innovative Partnership Certificate Application
  3. Complete the application package, save it to your computer. Collect any required or additional supporting information.
  4. 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 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 2019 may not reapply for the same category until the 2022 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Partnership activities must be located in the United States, though the primary stakeholders are not necessarily required to be headquartered in the United States.
  3. 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, 2020 and December 31, 2021.
  4. CLA applications and applicants 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.

What is not eligible?

  1. Partnerships undertaking an action that falls within the normal scope of business activity/mission of any organization are not eligible.
  2. 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).

Innovative Partnership Certificate Evaluation Criteria

Partnerships will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Innovation, strategic management, and thought leadership in addressing climate change.
  2. Partnership achieved significant, verifiable results in reducing emissions and/or implementing adaptation and resilience to protect a specific population.
  3. Quality of engagement with partners includes diverse communities including non-profit partners, government organizations, local vulnerable and under-resources communities, particularly those disproportionately burdened by environmental harm and risks, such as minority, low-income, Tribal communities, among others.
  4. Quality of collaboration with peers to develop best practices, influence behavior change, establish standards, and engage in public education.
  5. Education and outreach of results to internal and external stakeholders, partners, and suppliers.