A California city government enacting a strict energy efficient building code and installing electric vehicle charging stations, a wireless provider reducing its carbon footprint by more than 18 percent, and a university campus with 19 LEED-certified buildings–these were just a few of the winners of this year’s Climate Leadership Awards from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Announced Tuesday, 19 awards recognized 15 organizations and two individuals in both the public and private sectors for their leadership in addressing climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“The president’s climate action plan calls on the federal government to work with all stakeholders to take action to cut the harmful carbon pollution that fuels climate change,” the EPA said in a statement. “These organizations and individuals are working to do just that.”
The city of Chula Vista, Calif., Sprint and the University of California, Irvine, earned organizational leadership awards for not only developing inventories of their greenhouse gas emissions and setting aggressive emissions reduction targets, but also for providing climate action leadership to their peers, competitors and partners. For example, Chula Vista slashed carbon emissions from its municipal operations by nearly 20,000 tons, while UC Irvine cut energy consumption in campus laboratories by 60 percent.
Sprint also received a supply chain leadership award for seeking to lower greenhouse gas emissions throughout its organizational supply chain: The wireless company developed a carbon footprint of its suppliers, set a goal to have 90 percent of its suppliers meet its environmental criteria by the end of 2014, and published a guide and held workshops to help suppliers comply with these policies.
The EPA gave individual leadership awards to Sam Brooks, associate director of the federal government’s Department of General Services (DGS), and Robert Taylor, energy manager at a public water and wastewater utility in Maryland. Both men were instrumental in creating plans for their agencies to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, as well as implementing many sustainability initiatives to achieve these reductions. Under Brooks’ tenure, DGS switched to renewable energy sources for 100 percent of its electricity; similarly, Taylor purchased wind power for almost 30 percent of the utility’s energy needs.
Three companies were recognized for excellence in greenhouse gas management for publicly reporting their corporate greenhouse gas inventories and emissions reduction goals: Fruit of the Loom, Hasbro and Kohl’s. Kohl’s also garnered a second award for excellence in greenhouse gas management for achieving its emissions reduction targets; other companies that received this award include Boeing, Caesars Entertainment, Cisco Systems, Ecolab, The Hartford, IBM, Johnson Controls, Mack Trucks and Novelis.
The third annual Climate Leadership Awards were a partnership between the EPA’s Center for Corporate Climate Leadership, the Association of Climate Change Officers, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and The Climate Registry.
With a constant news cycle of doom-and-gloom reports on climate change, it is encouraging to see individuals, government agencies, educational institutions and corporations be part of the solution to the biggest environmental challenge of our time.
Image credit: Environmental Protection Agency
Passionate about both writing and sustainability, Alexis Petru is freelance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area whose work has appeared on Earth911, Huffington Post and Patch.com. Prior to working as a writer, she coordinated environmental programs for Bay Area cities and counties. Connect with Alexis on Twitter at @alexispetru