Excellence in GHG Management (Goal Setting Certificate)
Recognizes organizations that publicly report and verify organization-wide greenhouse gas inventories and publicly set aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.
Application and Submission Instructions
- Review the general eligibility requirements and the specific evaluation criteria for the GHG Management: Goal Setting category specified below.
- Download the 2020 Climate Leadership Awards Application: Excellence in GHG Management (Goal Setting) (10 pp, 311 K, June 2019).
- Complete the application package, save it to your computer. Collect any required or additional supporting information.
- 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).
Goal Setting Certificate Eligibility Requirements
Applicants for the Excellence in GHG Management (Goal Setting Certificate) must meet the following 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 occur in the U.S.
- 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.
- Leadership activities (in this case, goal setting) must have taken place between January 1, 2017 and September 27, 2019.
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 the base year and the current year.
- 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.*
- Inventories must be third-party verified to a limited level of assurance or have been through a third-party critical review. If scope 3 or direct or indirect biogenic emissions are included as part of the applicant's goal, these must also undergo third-party verification or critical review.
- Third-party verified GHG inventory statement is required for goal’s base year.
- Reporting all scope 1 and 2 sources of an organization’s GHG inventory, with the exception of small sources that are cumulatively equal to or less than 10% of total emissions.
- Up to 10% 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.
- If base year emissions have changed by 5% or more as a result of a 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. If the organization has a GHG reduction goal with an achievement year of 2015 or later, 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, a third-party verification body or critical reviewer 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 it must provide emissions data for the period of time not reflected in the achievement year inventory so as to demonstrate that the organization would have still achieved the original goal had the reporting approach not changed. While verification of that data is recommended, it is not required. Alternately, organizations can elect to adjust the base year to conform to the reporting approach of the achievement year – in which case verification of the adjustment would be needed if the change in emissions is 5% or greater.
GHG Reduction Goal Requirements
- The goal must be publicly announced.
- The geographic boundaries of the goal and GHG inventory must include all U.S. operations, all North America operations, or all global operations. Within the chosen geographic boundaries, the reduction goal should include all scope 1 and 2 (either location-based or market-based) emissions sources that are included in the inventory. The goal boundaries 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 2017, 2013 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 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.
- 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. (An organization may substantiate their case for a subsequent 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.
Disclosure of GHG Mitigation Activities
Identify at least three GHG mitigation activities that are currently underway to demonstrate that planned reductions are not the result of organic growth or decline. These activities should reflect applicant’s most impactful strategies, and ideally be in addition to renewable electricity or offset purchases. Activities relating to supply chain management may be included if the goal incorporates scope 3 reductions.
For more specific information on third party verification, reporting GHGs, or the use of RECs and offsets, please refer to the FAQ page on this website.
* 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 acceptable if transparently documented. More information on base years can be found in the CLA Frequently Asked Questions.
** A goal publicly set after January 1, 2020 must commit to at least a 2.5% reduction per year over the life of the goal. For example, a 5-year goal must commit to at least a 12.5% reduction. This update will impact future applicants beginning in the 2021 Climate Leadership Award application cycle.