Governments around the world are the biggest purchasers of industrial materials. In the U.S. alone, half of all cement is purchased using taxpayer dollars. By supporting advocacy efforts that push governments to procure clean materials in public construction projects, we aim to develop and strengthen demand for clean industrial materials. In California, ClimateWorks played an integral role in supporting the 2017 Buy Clean Act, which requires state agencies to consider the embedded carbon emissions of industrial products like steel and cement when contracting for state-funded infrastructure projects.
Nearly half of all industrial emissions come from the production of building materials. To address this major source of greenhouse gases, we focus on coordinating efforts by governments, steel and cement manufacturers, architects, and construction companies to scale solutions such as substituting carbon-storing wood for carbon-emitting materials like steel, and designing buildings to use less of the most emissions-intensive materials. By also encouraging the recycling and reuse of building materials, we aim to make buildings more sustainable and aligned with a safe and stable global climate.
Making meaningful reductions in emissions will require significant capital and technological improvements to existing factories. The incentive for creating new technologies and for industries to spend the capital needed to replace old ones will come from a sharp rise in demand for cleaner, more efficient industrial goods. We promote the benefits of clean materials production to generate consumer demand and help push the required technological innovations from infancy to maturity.