Award Eligibility

The Sustainability Award is given to private and public companies and organizations that implement sustainable techniques or technologies that reduce or eliminate pollutants, toxicity and other environmental impacts, including the amount of and/or toxicity of pollutants that would have otherwise been released into the environment.

Sustainability includes processes such as raw material and solvent substitution, preventive maintenance programs, beneficial reuse of by-products, waste reduction and recycling, employee engagement efforts, and comprehensive environmental management systems or governing policies.

Activities that will be considered for an award may include, but are not limited to:
  • Technology changes (e.g. layout changes, improved equipment, new process)
  • Input material changes (e.g. material purification, substitution of less toxic materials)
  • Product changes (e.g. redesign for less environmental impact, increased product life)
  • Energy conservation
  • Supply Chain sustainability
  • Governance and employee engagement

Activities submitted must have been completed or have shown substantial progress by December 31 of the previous year. Only one application will be accepted per facility or campus. Each application will be judged on its own merit and not in direct competition with other applications. Organizations are not limited to the number of times that they are permitted to apply for and receive the Sustainability Award!

View award winner case studies or see who has won previous awards to get a taste of past award winners and award-winning activities!

Any Illinois public or private organization is eligible to apply for the Sustainability Award. There is no target number of Awards presented each year. Applicants will be grouped within each of the following categories:

  • Industrial/Manufacturing
  • Trade Organization/Education Institution/Not-for-Profit/Media Organization
  • Government (park districts, municipalities, state, federal and local government agencies, etc.)
  • Hospitals/Medical/Nursing Homes
  • Vendor/Supplier
  • Commercial/Retail/Office
  • Other

If you are a consulting or service firm, you may not apply for recognition of work you have done on behalf of a client. Of course, we hope that your clients apply for the award, and recognize your assistance! In that case, you are welcome to assist your clients with the award application. You may also apply for the award based on work you have done to improve sustainability performance at your own organization.

Think your company or organization is poised to win an Award? Learn more about how to apply here, and how applications are evaluated here!

An important note about the Awards presented:

The "Continuous Improvement Award" presented in prior years has now become unified under the "Illinois Sustainability Award" and no longer separately recognized. However, consideration and evaluation of activities associated with past award recipients will not be considered for the current year award.

Additionally, the "Honorable Mention" Award, which was presented in 2013 and 2014, will no longer be issued. Applicants who have won this recognition, but not won the Sustainability Award will be considered first time applicants, but the previous submission will be reviewed to ensure improvement in between application years.