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Marks of Distinction Details

  Marks of Distinction     List of Awarded Marks     News and Social Media Kits 

The Climate Leadership Network, made up of the over 500 signatories to the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments, mobilizes the sector’s knowledge and practical expertise to accelerate global climate action and local community impact. Signatory institutions contribute to shared climate action knowledge by developing climate action plans and annual progress evaluations.  Thousands of these reports have been publicly submitted, and this data has been used to for peer guidance and to measure trends. The new Marks of Distinction initiative recognizes when institutions reach various key performance indicators that demonstrate climate leadership. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Marks of Distinction?

Marks of Distinction is an initiative that recognizes a select group of signatories that set high-performance goals, demonstrate and report measurable progress towards those goals, and support Network activities.

How many are there and who has earned them?

There are 15 different Marks of Distinction that recognize various accomplishments such as progress towards carbon neutrality, use of renewable energy, and use of a revolving fund. View the full array of institutions who have earned inaugural Marks of Distinction, and see descriptions about each award category. The initiative is designed to be to be flexible.  As new programs and key metrics evolve, new Marks of Distinction will be added.

Why Marks of Distinction now?

Our Climate Leadership Network is more important than ever given this unique period in our country’s history. This past year, the Network stepped up in major ways to lead national climate progress. From setting some of the country’s most aggressive renewable energy targets to leading discussions at the international climate negotiations – we are part of the only higher education network dedicated to climate action in the country, and our work has made a difference! The Marks of Distinction will allow you and your communications team to tell that story and inspire further action.

What determines whether an institution receives Marks of Distinction?

The Marks of Distinction initiative recognizes exemplary performance among a select group of higher education institutions and backed by the robust Reporting Platform. Leveraging this data, we are sharing documents that visually represent this year’s accomplishments in categories including; Carbon Reduction, 100% Renewable Energy Goal, and We Are Still In participation.

When will you award the next Marks of Distinction?

In September, we will release another round of Marks of Distinction, with data submitted by the upcoming annual reporting deadline of May 1, 2018.

Why did X Institution not earn Marks of Distinction?  Either the prior years’ annual report had not been submitted in time (by Sept. 2017) to analyze the data or if it was submitted they may have not yet hit the performance thresholds chosen at this time for recognition, however, they still may be making progress!

How do I stay eligible for Marks of Distinction?

In order to remain eligible for the Marks of Distinction program, your institution must continue to be an active participating signatory, by contributing annual dues and reporting annual data.

How should my institution use the Marks of Distinction?

With a Mark of Distinction, institutions can share the story of the institution’s climate action progress with students, staff, faculty, alumni, donors, and local partners. The Marks are a visual representation of goals and program participation options that support progress and an icon represents each category. To request a copy of the Marks of Distinction (See Sample) be sent to your campus, please email commitments@secondnature.org.  

Initiative Timeline & Deliverables

  • The first inaugural round of Marks of Distinction will be awarded in April 2018, using data submissions that were uploaded to the reporting platform by Sept. 1, 2017.
  • The second round of Marks of Distinction for the academic year 2017-2018 will be awarded by September 2018 with data submitted by the annual reporting deadline of May 1, 2018.
  • Going forward Marks of Distinction will be awarded in September of each year, using data submitted by the May 1 reporting deadline.
  • To qualify, signatories have to be in “good standing” and be an active signatory, both by contributing towards annual dues and reporting annual data (Note: a grace period and assistance on financial contributions are given to qualifying institutions).

Questions? Email us at commitments@secondnature.org