2021 BGA and BGAF Annual Report
Buy Clean is a policy designed to guarantee products and materials used for public projects—like infrastructure improvements—are the cleanest and most sustainable available. What started as an effort by BGA and partners in California has now blossomed with significant policy advancements in states like Washington, Colorado, and Minnesota—and now at the federal level.
In Colorado, Buy Clean legislation passed the State Legislature June 7, 2021 and was signed into law by Gov. Polis.
In Minnesota, a Buy Clean study and a Buy Clean/Buy Fair pilot program were added to the Climate and Energy Omnibus Bill and signed into law.
In Oregon, BGA is working to solidify a coalition around Buy Clean in the state, build support by working with labor and environmental groups in the state, and continue research to define a Buy Clean policy that works best for the state and the people. A bill is expected to be introduced in 2022.
In Washington, the state’s budget funded the creation of a database to track building materials purchased for state-funded infrastructure projects and two large Buy Clean and Buy Fair pilot projects.
The policy has also reached the federal stage with an executive order (EO), “Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability,” and the accompanying Federal Sustainability Plan, officially launching the first-ever national Buy Clean initiative. This initiative was included as a result of BGA’s recommendations and engagement with the administration.
In his EO, President Biden outlined pathways for the federal government to use its scale and procurement power to help achieve net-zero emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050. Buy Clean policy is included in this strategy for the first time ever in federal procurement. With this EO, the administration is taking decisive steps to ensure that federal procurement—like all federal activities—is undertaken in a way that reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improves health and environmental outcomes in communities harmed by environmental injustice, and creates good jobs across the United States.
While the EO’s framework for Buy Clean is a groundbreaking step forward, a successful Buy Clean program will absolutely need funding, and the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) has that. The House-passed BBBA provides $250 million for financial and technical assistance to manufacturers to develop their own Environmental Products Declarations (EPDs) for their respective materials and products. Data reporting and transparency is absolutely key to a comprehensive Buy Clean policy.
Reducing industrial emissions is a win for our climate, our economy, and our country. If Buy Clean is to succeed at the national-level, this funding will need to be prioritized. BGA is working hard to help the BBBA get over the finish line in Congress and to the president’s desk for his signature.