2010: The Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award Program

GEELA LogoThe annual Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award Program is administered by the California Environmental Protection Agency and the Natural Resources Agency, in partnership with the Department of Food and Agriculture, Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, California Integrated Waste Management Board, and the State and Consumer Services Agency.

The Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award Program is California’s highest environmental honor. The program recognizes individuals, organizations, and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made notable, voluntary contributions in conserving California’s precious resources, protecting and enhancing our environment, building public-private partnerships and strengthening the State’s economy.

The 2010 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards Ceremony took place on November 15, 2010.

Who May Apply | Categories | Eligibility | Selection | How to Apply

Who May Apply

Competition is open to all California residents, businesses, non-profit organizations, professional and trade associations, communities, state and local government entities, tribes, and federal agencies operating in California. Those who applied previously are welcome to apply again.

Award Categories

  • Children’s Environmental Education
    Unique and exemplary educational programs that 1) are supported with written, academic standards-aligned curricula and 2) raise children’s awareness of, and involvement in, environmental issues. Applicants must submit standards-aligned curriculum materials and/or delineate web-based, standards-aligned curriculum materials.
  • Climate Change
    Innovative and forward thinking projects/programs that 1) reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on public health and our vast natural resources; and 2) provide economic and business-related benefits. Preference will be given to recipients of the CoolCalifornia.org Small Business Award.
  • Comprehensive Land Use Planning
    A comprehensive plan that demonstrates social equity and adequate housing; cost-effective infrastructure and transportation; water and energy efficiencies, and open space conservation to protect forests, agriculture, watersheds and other ecosystem values.
  • Ecosystem And Watershed Stewardship
    Innovative and sustainable approaches to land, water and resource management that restore or protect natural conditions, functions and processes, and provide economic, social and environmental benefits.
  • Enhanced Environmental and Economic Leadership
    Prior GEELA award recipients who have sustained exceptional leadership and can demonstrate significant and robust improvements in voluntary efforts previously recognized, which conserve California’s precious resources, protect and enhance our environment and/or strengthen the economy.
  • Environmental and Economic Partnerships
    Efforts that foster unique, cooperative and collaborative approaches between the private, public, and/or non-profit sectors to achieve demonstrable results in both environmental and economic improvement.
  • Sustainable Communities
    Examples of completed or underway projects that display highlight effective project design or development of local communities and landscapes that makes efficient use of land, includes multimodal transportation options and connectivity, improves economic vitality, and the availability of affordability of housing, protects public health and safety, and conserves local watersheds, habitats and other sensitive lands.
  • Sustainable Practices or Facilities
    Pioneering efforts to integrate environmental values and conservation of natural resources into comprehensive, long-term decision making and management of businesses and facilities.
  • Technological and Market Innovation
    Innovation in product or process design, manufacturing or product marketing to cost-effectively improve environmental and public health, energy efficiency, productivity and sustainability of forests, farms or other natural resource lands, or conservation of open space and agriculture.
  • Waste Reduction
    Exemplary achievements in conserving and protecting natural resources and reducing costs by incorporating efforts such as waste prevention, reuse, recycling, composting, environmentally-preferable purchasing, and product design and stewardship. Preference will be given to previous Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP) certificate recipients.


The awards will be presented for voluntary achievements culminated in 2009. Competition is open to all California residents, businesses, non-profit organizations, professional and trade associations, communities, state and local governmental entities, and federal agencies operating in California. Projects are deemed ineligible if they are the result of mitigation, litigation, or required by legislation.


A Selection Committee will evaluate applications for strength in eight specific areas: Results, Transferability, Environmental Impact, Resource Conservation Impact, Economic Progress, Innovation/Uniqueness, Pollution Prevention, and Environmental Justice. These criteria will be considered in the competitive weighting of nominations and are described below. Evaluations will take into consideration differences in size, region, and scope of projects, as needed.

  • Results: Steps taken to achieve results are described; results are defined in measurable terms; environmental and economic benefits are identified and documented.
  • Transferability:
    Project can be readily transferred to other sectors; others can easily implement.
  • Environmental/Resource Conservation Impact:
    Accomplishment includes more than one environmental media or resource; project or program has long lasting and sustainable impact; magnitude of impact is described and significant.
  • Economic Progress:
    California’s economy is enhanced; measurable benefits are identified and realized; new/better jobs are created and new markets developed.
  • Innovation/Uniqueness:
    Demonstrates basic practice to unique, innovative practice; a paradigm shift in approach; demonstrates a “pioneer” spirit; ahead of the marketplace and profitability.
  • Pollution Prevention: Achieves measurable reductions in the generation of waste through source reduction; increased public-private awareness of pollution prevention; exemplifies best practices with a cross-media focus.
  • Environmental Justice:
    Significantly raises the awareness and addresses environmental issues in vulnerable disadvantaged communities and or populations; raises the involvement of local/grassroots communities in the project or program; builds community leadership/stewardship to address environmental issues.

The deliberative process of the Selection Committee is confidential and all decisions are final subject to applicable California state law. A nomination may be considered in a category different from that in which it is nominated.

How to Apply

Anyone wishing to apply for, or nominate an individual, organization, or business, for a 2010 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award must complete an application by Tuesday, June 1, 2010. Please document your answers in advance and then coping and pasting them into the online application.

Application deadline was Tuesday, June 1, 2010, 5:00 P.M.

View award winners in other years.

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