The mission of the EcoPartnerships initiative is to elevate successful sub-national cooperation models to international prominence, and by doing so, to spur broad replication by their peers in the U.S. and China.  Only a relative few EcoPartnership proposals are competitively selected every year, which allows for a sufficiently diverse, yet focused cohort of marquee participants that are exemplars in their field.  

Andy Mangan of U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development (U.S. BCSD) (far right) Receives the World Economic Forum's 2016 Circular Digital Disruptor Award. U.S. BCSD developed the second-generation Materials Marketplace as part of its EcoPartnership project in Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province, from 2013-2014.

The U.S. – China EcoPartnerships program offers subnational organizations from each country a unique opportunity to pair-up and demonstrate breakthrough clean energy, climate change, and environmental solutions. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) and China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) established the EcoPartnerships program in 2008. Sub-national entities are often the best laboratories for testing new and innovative approaches, so EcoPartnerships are comprised of at least one U.S. and one Chinese participant from any of the following:

  • Private enterprise (companies, industry organizations);
  • Academia;
  • Non-governmental organizations; and/or
  • States, counties, cities

A solicitation is held each year welcoming new applications to the program. Partnerships must involve at least one organization from each country. Successful proposals specify high impact, unique and viable solutions that will be piloted over three years. Something tangible — a new technology, policy, or program — has to be developed and demonstrated. Getting selected is a great achievement. It is highly competitive, and only a handful of new EcoPartnerships are chosen annually among dozens of applications. The value proposition for organizations to pursue EcoPartnerships is access to high-profile recognition and custom-tailored support in exchange for sharing non-business sensitive updates that can be of value to their peers outside of the program.