Gold Leaf Challenge Actions & Goals

Gold Leaf Actions 

Start with a Green Team 

When communities choose to enter the Gold Leaf Challenge, the first action they commit to will be to create a Green Team if they don’t already have one, or document that they already do. A “Green Team” is a flexible concept that refers to any established group of people who meet regularly to support sustainable changes in a community. This team could be made up of community members and/or staff members (a “Green Team”) or a panel of appointed experts and community members (a “Sustainability Committee” or “Commission”). See Gold Leaf Action CC1 (Combined Green Team) for details.

Complete Gold Leaf Actions 

Actions can be reported and formally recognized as they are completed, without any specific annual reporting period. Additionally, many actions can be repeated in multiple years to encourage growth overtime. Actions will be tallied at the end of the year to see how many “leaves” your community has accomplished. Learn more at Reporting & Recognition

Each Gold Leaf action guidance document will list the annual recertification criteria that will achieve a reward. Some of these actions may take multiple years to complete. Because the Challenge aims to drive climate action implementation, the action will be awarded a leaf once the project is completed.

44 Gold Leaf Challenge Actions

Click on each action to find additional information and guidance. 

See a full list of Gold Leaf Challenge Actions and their annual reporting criteria. 

Climate Mitigation Climate Planning Climate Adaptation Community Connectedness
CM1 - Efficient public building operations CP1 - Safe Shelter CA1 - Urban heat relief CC1 - Combined green team
CM2 - Certified green building operations CP2 - Community resilience hub CA2 - Flood mitigation CC2 - Youth involvement 
CM3 - Private Sector incentives CP3 - FEMA rating CA3 - Back-up energy systems CC3 - Youth collaboration
CM4 - Resilient growth  CP4 - Climate adaptation/resilience plans CA4 - Private resilience projects CC4 - Student internship
CM5 - Public sustainable buildings CP5 - Climate risk assessment CA5 - Resilient trees CC5 - Community restoration
CM6 - Public energy efficiency projects CP6 - Climate goals CA6 - Building weather preparation CC6 - Community science
CM7 - Alternatives to car travel CP7 - Climate action plan  CA7 - Drought Tolerance CC7 - Accessible public green spaces
CM8 - Active living campaign CP8 - Climate priority resolution CA8 - Resilient public water systems CC8 - Tree steward community
CM9 - Transportation Mode-Shift CP9 - Climate action budget   CC9 - Local purchasing
CM10 - Telecommuter Forward CP10 - Climate staff   CC10 - Local food buying
CM11 - Renewable energy purchasing CP11 - Sustainable building/ renovation policy   CC11 - Community visioning
CM12 - Community renewable energy projects CP12 - Land use policy   CC12 - Green businesses and jobs

Integrated Goals Goal-setting can:  help motivate us to take action  hold us accountable provide clarity and focus  guide us to priorities challenge us to explore new ways of taking action  help us measure progress lead to celebration and further motivation  result in short and long-term gratification

The Gold Leaf Challenge encourages participants to connect their actions to goals through the integration of local community-specific goals and/or statewide climate goals. Achieving these larger, integrated goals is a big accomplishment! Once a goal is met, participants receive a gold leaf. 

Community Goals

Setting your own goals is also an action (see action CP6)! If your community has climate goals that align with the Gold Leaf action you want to accomplish, list them out in your workplan and include information about the goal in your Gold Leaf action report. These goals may come from your community’s climate action plan, comprehensive plan, other related community-specific plan, or council resolutions. If your community doesn’t have any of these, check to see if there are region-wide plans that cover your community, such as an Regional Development Organization that has created a region-wide Climate Action Plan. 

Minnesota's Climate Goals 

For communities without their own goals identified, the Minnesota Climate Action Framework (State of Minnesota, 2022) can serve as a guide for goal-setting. In addition, these statewide goals are helpful for communities to connect with and align their own goals, when possible. Participants will find the relevant statewide goals listed in the Gold Leaf action guidance.