BlueGreen Alliance | Federal Buy Clean


Share of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from the industrial sector when end-use of electricity is distributed.

1.4 gigatons

Amount of embodied carbon in manufactured goods imported into the United States.

4th Lowest

Ranking of the U.S. steel industry’s CO2 emissions intensity among 15 major steel producing countries.

In the United States, the industrial sector is responsible for a significant share of greenhouse gas emissions at about 30%. These emissions are project­ed to increase 17.6% through mid-century. While other economic sectors are projected to see flat or declining emissions, the resulting climate and health benefits would be offset by increases in industrial emissions under a busi­ness-as-usual scenario. In addition, the U.S. imports as much as it produces in industrial climate pollution. Each year, the U.S. imports manufactured goods with 1.4 gigatons of em­bedded greenhouse gas emissions—the same amount of climate pollution produced by all factories in the U.S. combined.

While much action on Buy Clean has been focused on the state level, the push for federal Buy Clean policies is gaining steam and on December 8, 2021, President Biden released Executive Order 14057, “Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability,” and the accompanying Federal Sustainability Plan, officially launching the first-ever national Buy Clean program.

Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability (Executive Order 14057) The executive order sets a goal of achieving net-zero emissions from federal procurement by 2050. To achieve this goal, the executive order establishes a federal Buy Clean initiative, a Net-Zero Emissions Procurement Federal Leaders Working Group, and a Buy Clean Task Force to provide recommendations on policies and procedures to expand consideration of embodied emissions and pollutants of construction materials in Federal procurement and federally funded projects. Signed by President Joe Biden on December 8, 2021.
116th Congress – Buy Clean Transparency Act (S.1864) A bill that would require transparency in reporting the greenhouse gas impacts of products procured by certain Federal agencies. Introduced in the previous Congress by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). To be reintroduced in the 117th.
117th Congress – CLEAN Future Act (H.R.1512) A wide-ranging bill (BGA write up here) that includes provisions on Buy Clean. Introduced by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

How Clean is the U.S. Steel Industry?

Steel produced in the United States is among the cleanest in the world when it comes to carbon emissions, but the U.S. still imports large amounts of steel from countries with higher carbon intensity, according to an April 2022 study commissioned by the BlueGreen Alliance. The study found that the U.S. ranks first among major steel producing nations and second worldwide—just after Italy—in producing the cleanest, lowest-carbon steel.

The report also found that globally, Global steel production has more than doubled between 2000 and 2020. China accounted for 53% of global steel production in 2020. Under the current policy and technology regime, the energy use and GHG emissions of the steel industry are likely to continue increasing because the increased demand for steel, particularly in developing countries, is outpacing the incremental decreases in the energy and CO2 emissions intensity of steel production happening.

Read the full report

Buy Clean Canada

Buy Clean is also getting attention in Canada, where BlueGreen Canada is leading the charge in pushing for adoption of the policies. Canada has a national goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and with buildings currently accounting for 13% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, a Buy Clean policy could go a long way to reaching that goal. In January 2021 BlueGreen Canada released a report on what Buy Clean could mean for the country.

Read the full report at BlueGreen Canada