Lessons from the United States on “Buying Clean” and recommendations for Canada

Governments around the world are increasingly using public procurement—the systems governments use to make purchasing decisions—as a tool to tackle climate change and support low-carbon jobs.

From Canada to the U.S. to the EU, governments are using “Buy Clean” policies to incentivize the use of lower-carbon construction materials in infrastructure projects like roads, bridges, and buildings.

The government of Canada has expressed its intent to develop a Buy Clean strategy, realizing a 2021 election campaign promise and including it in the December 2021 mandate letters for three federal ministers. It’s now time for Canada to make this commitment a reality.

But not all Buy Clean policies are created equal, and there are steps that should be taken to ensure their success. Fortunately, there is a wealth of experience from jurisdictions south of the border that Canada can learn from.

Clean Energy Canada interviewed numerous American authorities on Buy Clean to understand the key lessons learned, highlight best practices, and inform the development of a Canadian strategy. We distilled the interview findings down to six key takeaways which are explored in the report.