Media Releases

Industry organizations respond to new ‘buy clean’ approach to government procurement

TORONTO — Several Canadian organizations made the following statements in response to the U.S. and Canada’s new “Greening Government Initiative:”

“We welcome the new U.S.- Canada initiative to collaborate on ‘greening’ government operations. A focus on procurement—or as it’s sometimes called, buying clean—requires governments to spend public dollars on materials that are low-carbon. 

“Many Canadian-made goods, like steel and cement, are lower carbon than international peers—something that will be in increasing demand as countries around the world look to cut emissions. But in a competitive global clean economy, having access to government buyers at home is key to helping our world-leading companies and products scale up to the size of the opportunity.

“We look forward to seeing how the Canadian federal government will implement this new approach while working with all levels of government to develop a buy clean approach.”

—Sarah Petrevan, policy director at Clean Energy Canada.

“This Buy Clean Strategy represents an opportunity to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions while supporting Canadian workers and manufacturers. Whether it’s steel, aluminum, cement or wood, construction materials sourced from within Canada are typically lower carbon than imported materials. It’s crucial for our economic recovery for Canada and the U.S. work collaboratively to invest in climate change solutions that help to create and retain good jobs.” 

—Meg Gingrich, President of Blue Green Canada and Assistant to the National Director of the United Steelworkers

“Green procurement is an underappreciated and underutilised tool in the decarbonization toolbox. But it’s essential if we are going to promote and scale low-carbon innovations and realise the imperative of a net-zero circular economy. This is especially true for building materials like low-carbon cement and concrete, which are indispensable to our infrastructure and public works. The cement and concrete industry have advocated for a green procurement agenda for many years and welcome Minister Duclos’ and Ms. Mallory’s leadership on green procurement as a major step forward for our shared climate ambition.” 

—Michael McSweeney, President and CEO of the Cement Association of Canada

“Canadian steel is amongst the greenest in the world. As outlined in the Canadian Steel Producers Association’s 2050 Net Zero vision, we believe we have a crucial role to play in greening the supply chains of the integrated North American economy. Leveraging government procurement policies to advance climate objectives will play an important role in the net zero transformation. We welcome the leadership and collaboration between Canada and the US in this effort.”

—Catherine Cobden, President and CEO Canadian of the Steel Producers Association

“Canada’s forest sector and its workers are keen to advance climate smart forestry and forest products solutions in our move to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. Increasing government procurement of carbon-storing wood sourced from sustainably-managed Canadian forests is just one solution that can help achieve this goal. We look forward to continuing our work with the US and Canadian governments and our supply chain partners to build a greener economy, protect family-supporting jobs, and get more Canadians working.”

—Derek Nighbor, President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada

“Canada produces some of the lowest carbon intensity battery minerals and metals anywhere in the world, and does so with world leading ESG standards. The Mining industry welcomes the opportunity to deepen engagement and collaboration on the establishment and growth of the North American battery electric vehicle supply chain.”

—Pierre Gratton, President and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada

KEY FACTS

  • California’s Buy Clean California Act requires contractors bidding on state infrastructure and construction projects to disclose emissions for certain materials, such as steel and glass.
  • The CLEAN Future Act, proposed by House Democrats last year, would establish a similar Buy Clean program to California’s, but nationally.
  • Research shows that up to around a quarter of emissions pass through a “carbon loophole” where countries do not consider imports when calculating national emissions. Buying clean ensures that these carbon emissions do not fall into this loophole.
  • Canada’s electricity grid is 83% non-emitting, meaning that goods and products made using it are additionally clean. 

RESOURCES

Op-ed | When it comes to building materials, Canada has a climate advantage to use (or lose)

Op-ed | Canada’s burgeoning clean economy also includes heavy industry

Report | The Next Frontier

Report | Buy Clean: How Public Construction Dollars Can Create Jobs and Cut Pollution

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