Buy Clean California Act Clamps Down on Imported Carbon Emissions

State Infrastructure Projects to be Subject to New, Low-Carbon Product Standards

October 16, Sacramento, CA – Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday signed into law AB 262, the Buy Clean California Act, the world’s first legislative effort to address imported carbon emissions.

The new law, which passed the California state legislature with bipartisan support, will require state agencies 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 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.

As the world’s sixth largest economy, California has substantial purchasing power; Buy Clean California sends a powerful market signal to manufacturers to reduce their emissions in order to participate in the California market.

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.

Governor Brown’s signing statement is available here, and a statement from Asm. Rob Bonta is available here.

Supporter Statements

“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, industrial program director at the ClimateWorks Foundation.

AB 262 will strengthen California’s climate leadership and make California the first state to align its public infrastructure expenditures with environmental goals. This bill rewards companies that have invested in clean technologies to reduce their carbon footprint.” Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) said in a statement.  

“Californians have always been the most savvy when it comes to connecting our laws to environmental principles. With the signing of Buy Clean, we’re now ready to put our taxpayer dollars where our environmental values are.” Kathryn Phillips, Director of the Sierra Club of California.

“Buy Clean isn’t just a win for the environment, it’s a win for workers and companies as well. Our labor partners supported Buy Clean because they know it supports good jobs for clean companies — and not just in California.” J.B. Tengco, California representative for the BlueGreen Alliance.

“Nations around the world are moving to reduce their carbon emissions in line with the Paris agreement, and Buy Clean promises to speed things up. The carbon loophole is a glaring gap in climate policy. California just began the process of closing it.” Carl Pope, Advisor to Bloomberg Philanthropies and former Executive Director of the Sierra Club.

“At Gerdau, we pride ourselves on our environmental performance and commitment to reducing pollution through the use of clean technologies. We’re confident Buy Clean will result in huge benefits for California, workers, and industrial producers that share our environmental values.” Mark Olson, vice president for steel producer Gerdau and a key supporter of the bill.

“When industrial producers invest to clean up their operations, everybody wins. Workers gain the benefits of cleaner operations, communities get cleaner air, and everyone gets a stable climate. This is why the labor movement supports Buy Clean – and not just for California, but everywhere.” Bob LaVenture, District Director for United Steelworkers.