California introduces ‘Buy Clean’ law to drive low-carbon procurement

California has introduced the first ever law to address embodied carbon in construction materials.

Under the new ‘Buy Clean California’ law state agencies are required  to consider the embedded carbon emissions of industrial products like steel and glass when contracting for state-funded infrastructure projects.

The legislation, which has strong support from business and industry leaders, labor unions, and environmental organizations, further cements California’s leadership in reducing the emissions that cause climate change.

The law will also level the playing field for manufacturers around the U.S. and the world who have led the way by investing in clean, efficient manufacturing technologies and processes.

The Buy Clean approach allows California to help clean businesses and industries maintain their position as strong, global leaders on climate action. It creates additional motivation for suppliers to reduce their climate pollution. The state’s substantial purchasing power already makes it an attractive market for firms across the United States, and around the world.

Manufacturers who operate the most polluting plants, and charge less for their products, will no longer have an advantage over manufacturers who have invested in reducing their pollution. By including suppliers’ emissions performance in procurement decisions, the state can influence business decisions among the many suppliers who want to provide goods to public agencies.

To “Buy Clean” means that suppliers’ emissions performance will be taken into account when an agency is contracting to buy steel, flat glass and mineral wool (insulation) for infrastructure projects.

As the world’s sixth largest economy the State of California spends more than $10 billion annually on infrastructure projects, such as bridges, roads, and state facilities. Beginning in 2019, Buy Clean will require contractors who bid on state infrastructure projects to disclose the greenhouse gas emissions data for certain materials they use in these facilities, such as steel and glass.

California now joins the US Navy and major California companies like Apple, Google, Chevron, PG&E, CalPERS and others who address their supply chain emissions as part of company policy.

“Buy Clean is a critical step toward closing a major climate loophole in and accelerating the global transition to a low-carbon economy. As the world’s sixth largest economy, Buy Clean California sends a powerful message to businesses around the world that the greener your products are, the wider its doors open for business.” Dan Hamza-Goodacre, ClimateWorks Foundation.

Further information


October 18, 2017