Environmental Initiative works across differences with numerous partners to create spaces where people can openly exchange ideas and come to a consensus on large issues. We’re working toward a healthy environment, prosperous economy, and equitable society— together.
About the Awards
The annual Environmental Initiative Awards recognizes innovative and impactful achievements in the environmental community. In 2018, we gave eight awards– five projects and three individual awards– with an inspiring night of networking and celebration with more than 400 of Minnesota’s environmental leaders. The evening included a reception, formal dinner, and awards program.
Sponsor the Awards
Sponsorships for the 2019 Environmental Initiative Awards are now available. Contact Sacha Seymour-Anderson at 612-334-3388 ext. 8108 with questions or for more information.
2018 Award Categories
Each January, nominations are accepted from across Minnesota to honor collaborative environmental projects and individuals. In 2018, we honored the following categories:
The Courageous Innovator recognizes an outstanding young professional working in groundbreaking ways with unlikely allies to solve environmental problems. This is an honor Environmental Initiative confers upon an individual under the age of 30 who has demonstrated an extraordinary capacity and potential to solve environmental problems in partnership.
The Critical Collaborator award recognizes an individual who has dedicated their career to solving environmental problems. This award is an honor Environmental Initiative confers upon any individual who has created a lasting impact on Minnesota’s environment and exemplifies our mission to build partnerships to develop collaborative solutions to Minnesota’s environmental problems.
ENERGY AND CLIMATE
A partnership that works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut energy consumption, advance energy efficiency, or improve air quality. Projects may also include collaborative efforts to prepare Minnesota to adapt to a changing global climate.
This award celebrates collaborative partnerships working on the next environmental breakthrough. While the impact of their work may not be seen immediately, winners of this future-facing award will be recognized for their creativity in solving an environmental challenge and the potential of their project or plan to ensure a prosperous economy, an equitable society and a healthy environment long into the future.
The Rural Vitality award recognizes collaborative efforts to solve environmental challenges on a community scale in rural areas of under 10,000 residents. This could include grassroots efforts in revitalization or beautification, alternative land use strategies, or policy initiatives that contribute to economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, and improved quality of life.
SUSTAINABLE LEADERSHIP: LARGE EMPLOYER
For companies larger than 500 employees, this award acknowledges collaborative efforts to pursue sustainable business practices or offer private sector-based solutions to environmental challenges. The project should contribute to environmental stewardship, economic benefit, and social equity.
SUSTAINABLE LEADERSHIP: SMALL EMPLOYER
This award acknowledges small businesses with less than 500 employees who collaboratively pursue sustainable business practices or offer private sector-based solutions to environmental challenges. The project should contribute to environmental stewardship, economic benefit, and social equity.
GUIDELINES FOR PROJECT AWARDS
- A partnership-based project refers to any two or more entities working collaboratively on a project with shared goals and outcomes. Entities could include government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, private companies, community groups and/or individuals.
- Projects that have received significant financial resources or staff time from Environmental Initiative are not eligible for an award.
- The project is either ongoing or the date of project completion is in the last two years.
- The project, even if ongoing, has demonstrated concrete results and outcomes in relation to the project goals.
- The project has taken place and has demonstrated outcomes in Minnesota.
- If two or more nominations for the same project are received, judges will evaluate only the nomination that was received first. It is the nominator’s responsibility to communicate with other project partners to ensure the submission of a single, comprehensive project nomination.
- Only the information submitted via the nomination form will be used to evaluate project nominations. No supporting material (photos, videos, etc.) will be shared with judges.
GUIDELINES FOR INDIVIDUAL AWARDS
- Individuals nominated for the Courageous Innovator award must be under the age of 30.
- Individuals nominated for the Critical Collaborator award may be any age.
- Individuals nominated for either award have demonstrated leadership and environmental outcomes in Minnesota.
- Only the information submitted via the nomination form will be used to evaluate individual award nominations.
Winners in each category were honored and presented at the dinner and celebration on Wednesday, May 23 at Nicollet Island Pavilion.
HOW PROJECT NOMINATIONS ARE EVALUATED
A panel of independent judges selected by Environmental Initiative evaluated project nominations based on the following criteria:
- Importance of the goals laid out for the project,
- Quality of results and environmental outcomes associated with the project,
- Strength of partnership and degree that partnership was used as a tool to solve environmental problems,
- Degree of project innovation, uniqueness, and groundbreaking action.
- Degree to which diverse perspectives were included in or positively impacted by the project results.
Due to the broad nature of the award categories and the diversity of scale and types of projects submitted, each judging team determined the relative weight of the above criteria. The Environmental Initiative Awards seeks to inspire others to adopt collaborative approaches to environmental problem solving, so judges also considered the degree to which the project can be easily replicated.
Environmental Initiative monitors project nominations for potential conflicts of interests with individuals serving as judges. Conflicts are handled on a case-by-case basis. The judge may be asked to recuse his or her self from evaluation and discussion of that specific project, or may be asked to leave the judging panel entirely, depending on the level of involvement of the judge with the project.
HOW INDIVIDUAL AWARD NOMINATIONS ARE EVALUATED
Starting in 2017, Environmental Initiative began recognizing two individuals who have been influential and effective environmental leaders.
Environmental Initiative staff reviewed nominations and selected winners for the Courageous Innovator and Critical Collaborator awards based on the following criteria:
- Ability of nominee to collaborate and solve problems,
- Skill of nominee to lead by influencing those around them,
- Quality of nominee’s positive impact on our environment, economy, and community,
- Nominee’s use of collaboration to build bridges between unlikely allies.