Buy Clean is a way to guarantee that products and materials that are used for public projects like infrastructure improvements are the cleanest and most sustainable available. Buy Clean policies help ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly, on materials that are manufactured in a cleaner, more efficient, environmentally-friendly manner—reducing pollution and the negative health impacts that go along with it while supporting good jobs across our nation.

Why it Matters

In the United States, the industrial sector is responsible for about 29% of emissions and that’s expected to increase 17.6% through 2050. Adding to the problem, goods and materials imported to the U.S. from oversees are often made in less environmentally friendly ways than they would be here at home because they come from countries with lower environmental standards.


A policy to promote spending taxpayer dollars on materials that are manufactured in a cleaner, more efficient, environmentally-friendly manner.

This reduces industrial pollution and health impacts, while supporting family-sustaining jobs and building globally-competitive domestic manufacturing.


Often, products and materials produced overseas are manufactured in ways that would not meet U.S. environmental and emissions standards. The higher emissions from the production of those materials pass through the “carbon loophole,” when imported.


“Embodied carbon” is the sum of all of the carbon emissions resulting from the production of a product or material. This measures the carbon impact of an item from the time it’s made until it’s used.

Many of these imported products and materials could be made here in the U.S. by American workers instead of in countries with lower environmental and health standards and higher emitting facilities. This is known as the “carbon loophole.”

Tackling industrial sector emissions – which are concentrated in a select number of energy intensive manufacturing subsectors, including steel, cement, and chemicals, must be central to our climate strategy moving forward. In addi­tion, such emissions reductions would support improved public health outcomes for workers and communities that live near manufacturing facilities.

If done right, we can rebuild American manufacturing, reduce emissions, close the carbon loophole, improve public health, and support good, middle-class jobs across America. Buy Clean policies can play a significant role in reducing emissions and driving further improvements in the manufacturing sector.