Organizational Leadership Award

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 internal stakeholders (employees, executive leadership, Board of Directors, etc.), peers, and partners. The Organizational Leadership Award highlights exceptional commitment, initiatives, performance, and outcomes focused on scopes 1 and 2.

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 2024 Organizational  Leadership Award-Application and the 2024-3rd-Party-Reference-Form-Organizational-Leadership. Completed reference forms may be submitted via email to [email protected], or submitted by the applicant along with their application form (see below)
  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.

Minimum Eligibility 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 originate in the United States.
  • Applicants must qualify as one of the following:
    • Legally recognized corporate organization with annual revenue over $50 million, or with annual revenue over $5 million and at least 25 employees – or –
    • Governmental entity, non-profit, or academic organization with annual budget over $50 million, or with annual budget over $5 million and at least 25 employees.
  •  Applicant must not have received an Organizational Leadership award from The Climate Registry in the previous three (3) years.


GHG Inventory & Verification Requirements

  • GHG inventory must be publicly reported and include both scope 1 and 2 emissions. The organization must report both location-based and market-based scope 2 emissions for all years.
    • Organizations may track progress toward a goal using a single base year or a base period that reflects an average of annual emissions over several consecutive years.[1]
  • Inventories must undergo a regular audit process (e.g., verification, attestation, quality control, third-party critical review, etc.) to ensure their integrity.
  • Audit records must be submitted for relevant years.
  • If scope 3 or direct or indirect biogenic emissions are included as part of the applicant’s goal, these must also undergo an audit process.
  • If purchases of renewable energy (demonstrated by the ownership and retirement of renewable energy instruments, such as renewable energy certificates) and/or offsets have been accounted for in the applicant’s base year or current year inventory, information about the (1) quantity (in units of MWh and/or CO2e, respectively), (2) description or project types, (3) certification/quality (e.g., Green-e certified), and (4) product vintage must be provided in section 4.10. These purchases must also undergo an audit process.
  • An applicant’s annual GHG inventory must include all scope 1 and 2 sources.
    • Up to 10% total emissions can be accounted for using simplified estimation methods (SEMs). SEMs are rough, upper-bound methods for estimating emissions.
    •  For organizations that have determined certain sources to be immaterial and that do not include them in their inventory, those sources should be documented in their inventory management plan and the audit records.      
  •  If base year emissions have changed by 5% or more as a result of structural change, a change in calculation methodologies, or because of a discovered error, applicants must adjust the base year inventory to reflect this correction or change. The organization must include both location-based and market-based scope 2 emissions in its reported GHG inventory for the base year, regardless of the magnitude of the change from previously reported scope 2 emissions.
  • If adjustments of 5% or more are made to the base year emissions, an audit process must attest to the accuracy of the base year adjustment. This requirement also applies if the difference between newly reported base year location-based or market-based scope 2 emissions and previously reported base year scope 2 emissions is 5% or more.
  •  If an organization changes its reporting approach (e.g., from a calendar year to a fiscal year-basis) during the goal period, the reporting approach must be consistent between the base year and the achievement year. If the base year must be adjusted to conform to the reporting approach of the achievement year, then an audit process of the adjustment is required if the change in emissions is 5% or greater.


GHG Reduction Goal Requirements

  • The goal must be publicly announced and available.
  • The geographic boundaries of the goal and GHG inventory must include all U.S. operations, all North American operations, or all global operations. The goal boundaries must remain consistent throughout the goal period.
  • The goal must be an absolute reduction goal. Intensity goals will be considered, but the award will be evaluated based on absolute reductions.
  • The applicant must disclose which scope 2 method (location-based or market-based) it is using to track progress towards meeting its goal. The scope 2 method in the achievement year must be consistent with the scope 2 method in the base year.
  • The base year for a first-generation goal must not be more than five years prior to the year the goal was publicly announced. For instance, for first generation goals set in 2021, 2017 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) must be no less than three and no more than 15 years for a first-generation goal. Subsequent goals that use the same base year may extend the previous goal period by no fewer than three and no more than 15 years. 
  • The timeframe between the goal being set and achieved must be at least three years to demonstrate ambitious and aggressive action.


[1] A single year could be defined as a calendar year or a fiscal year. A rolling base year, which involves shifting or rolling the base year forward by a certain number of years at regular intervals of time, may also be acceptable if transparently documented.