The Emerald Awards emerged from the idea to reward environmental excellence at all levels in Alberta. Since the first Emerald Awards were presented on June 1, 1992, over 2,000 nominations have been received, leading to the recognition of over 430 finalists and 220 recipients. The Emerald Awards include ten categories: Youth, Community Group or Non-Profit Association, Education: School or Classroom, Public Education & Outreach, Emerald Challenge Award, Government Institution, Individual Commitment, Large Business, Small Business, Shared Footprints Award.
The Emerald Awards program is owned and managed by the Alberta Emerald Foundation, which is a registered charity based in Edmonton, Alberta with a mission to recognize, celebrate, and inspire environmental excellence in Alberta. The Alberta Emerald Foundation was established in 1991 by three founding partners: Alberta Environment, McLennan Ross LLP and Deloitte & Touche Chartered Accountants.
The 20th Annual Emerald Awards were presented on June 15, 2011 at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta.