Apply to Receive $20,000 Worth of Support to Launch a Green Business Challenge in Your Community

Implementation Pack Partners GBC

ICLEI USA-Local Governments for Sustainability and national program sponsor Office Depot are excited to announce an expanded opportunity to support four additional local governments with $20,000 to create or enhance their Green Business Challenge, a model for local governments and NGOs to engage businesses in a friendly competition to implement activities that increase business operational efficiency while contributing to community sustainability goals.

As part of this opportunity, four local communities will be selected to receive a Green Business Challenge Implementation Pack valued at $20,000 (in funding and in-kind contributions) – thereby helping to create and/or enhance an existing Green Business Challenge in their community. The funding builds on the successful Challenges that ICLEI and Office Depot helped launch with local governments in Chicago, Austin, Bellevue, Chula Vista and the Triangle J region.

ICLEI USA is currently seeking applications from interested municipalities or local implementing partners to receive this one-of-a-kind assistance package.  This application is open to ICLEI USA members or non-profit implementation partners servicing ICLEI USA member communities (if your community is not currently a member, learn more about joining our robust network of local governments here). We encourage applicants to read the Green Business Challenge Guidebook and Resource Kit before applying.

(Applications due February 7, 2014)


Houston GOC speech photoHouston’s Green Office Challenge has seen continued successes with support from ICLEI USA’s Green Business Challenge program

What Is the Green Business Challenge?

ICLEI USA’s Green Business Challenge (GBC) is a friendly competition to engage commercial property managers, office tenants, and other business organizations to improve energy efficiency, conserve water, reduce waste, make greener purchases and involve their employees in a concerted effort to improve the sustainability performance of their businesses. What makes the Challenge so innovative and successful is its emphasis on friendly competition and community-wide recognition for participants. Launching a Green Business Challenge program can be a primary means to engage your business community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainability – and help you reach your community’s climate, energy and other environmental goals.

The GBC model allows customization of a local, measurable competition by providing direct strategic support, plus access to templates, scorecards, marketing materials, sponsorship support, a national network of knowledge and best practices, and an online gamified platform to engage businesses and track progress. Launched in 2009, GBC provides communities all over the U.S. a local means of action, but contribution to a national movement and national impact.

What is Included in the Green Business Challenge Implementation Pack?

ICLEI USA is seeking applications from local government members who are ready to begin, or are seeking to build upon an existing business engagement program in their community for 2014. Based on the local government’s member needs, ICLEI USA will assist members in achieving their program goals. ICLEI USA will provide a selected community with guidance and technical assistance in the design and launch of a new Green Business Challenge. Alternatively, ICLEI USA may assist in the modification or enhancement of a community’s existing business engagement program. GreenPSF, ICLEI’s technology partner, will provide customization of an online business engagement platform for administering the community’s Green Business Challenge. Resources and best practices from the Chicago Green Office Challenge and pilot communities’ Green Business Challenge programs will also be applied to address and enhance an existing program’s sustainability. The following outlines the details of the assistance, funding, and resources:

Green Business Challenge Implementation Pack


Each Local Government Receives:
Up to 50 hours of technical assistance and guidance from ICLEI USA for the creation and launch of a Green Business Challenge, or guidance and support for incorporation of Green Business Challenge resources into current business engagement program


A 14-month software license, up to 50 hours customization, and training and technical support for use of the GreenPSF software tool


Cash for event management including venue, food and other event costs associated with 3 events (local GBC launch, greener purchasing training and GBC awards)


In-kind contribution of Office Depot gift cards to be used for specific purposes during the GBC implementation, including but not limited to printing, marketing, office supplies, green product samples, awards/plaques/stickers for GBC participants.





Roles and Expectations (Details to be finalized in a Memorandum of Understanding and scope of work with individual recipient communities)


  • Provide guidance and technical assistance in Green Business Challenge development with selected local governments, which could include but not be limited to guidance on:
    • Visioning/scoping Green Business Challenge and integration with other community goals, utility programs, and other initiatives such as climate action planning and disclosure
    • Business engagement, communications, and marketing best practices
    • Partnership and sponsorship development best practices
    • Metrics, scorecard, and standards development
    • Networking resources to leverage the greater Green Business Challenge community
  • Arrange for funds and resources to be transferred to local governments
  • Arrange a Kick-Off meeting, and facilitate ongoing meetings / phone calls with local governments, GreenPSF, and Office Depot or other ICLEI USA Green Business Challenge sponsors as necessary

Office Depot will:

  • Provide the $20,000 worth of sponsorship per recipient community (details in table above) for  which in return, Office Depot will expect a reasonable, negotiable amount of promotion that will be articulated in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) prior to the transfer of funding.

GreenPSF will:

  • Develop and launch each community’s web platform for engaging businesses in Green Business Challenge, specifically completing the following tasks:
    • Develop a front-end website of similar scope, structure, and aesthetics as
    • Load basic property data to expedite registration (if available)
    • Setup a branded Knowledge Base
    • Provide a system, training, and support for the participating city or implementing partner to administer activities, points, participants, etc.
  • Provide technical support to a designated program administrator in each community and fix bugs and other technical issues in a reasonable and timely manner

Local Governments or Implementing Partners will:

  • Designate one staff person to be the point-person on the local Green Business Challenge and serve as a liaison to ICLEI, GreenPSF, and Office Depot on Green Business Challenge implementation, participating in regular check-in calls and meetings as necessary
  • Arrange, fund (partly through the funds received in the Green Business Implementation Pack), and host 3 events associated with the Green Business Challenge
  • Acknowledge ICLEI USA, Office Depot, and GreenPSF as partners in all communications where time and space allow.
  • Share lessons learned and resources/materials created for GBC with ICLEI and with other communities participating in Green Business Challenge (via the ICLEI resources library and the ICLEI GBC network)
  • Serve as a resource for future GBC program development and provide feedback to ICLEI
  • Provide ICLEI with metrics on business participation, energy and resources savings, and other sustainability impacts at the halfway point and end of the GBC, based on predetermined standard


  • January 10, 2014 – Application opens
  • February 7, 2014 – Applications due
  • February 21, 2014 – Winners notified
  • March 7, 2014 – MOU and scope of work finalized
  • April-October 2014 – GBCs launched within each recipient community
  • October 2015 – GBC Implementation Pack round closes

More information:

  • Green Business Challenge Guidebook and Resource Kit (use ICLEI login to download):

  • Green Business Challenge success stories:

  • Details of GreenPSF web platform features:


Caroline Teng, Senior Program Officer, ICLEI USA

(510) 844-0699 ext. 322