A Law that Addresses Supply Chain Carbon Emissions Signed into Law in California

Carbon Emissions

California is home to a lot of stringent pollution legislation that manufacturers have to contend with, but abiding by the laws has not translated into a competitive advantage for the Californian industrial firms. The 2006 bid by California Department of Transportation to construct the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is a case in point. While many Californian companies expressed their interest in undertaking the project, a Chinese firm was chosen. Californian enterprises went ballistic. They wondered why a company which is not subjected to strict pollution laws would outperform them. It turns out California had no legislation(s) that prioritizes corporations that employ clean technology in production over their “dirtier” counterparts.
Close to 11 years later, California has instituted a legislation, Buy Clean California Act, which will henceforth demand that the state examines the carbon footprint of steel, flat glass, and mineral wool used in most of the infrastructural projects in the Golden State. Gov. signed the act into law last month. However, the implementation of the law will wait until 2019. Meanwhile, state agencies will begin familiarizing themselves with the law in the coming year.
Matthew Lewis, a fellow at ClimateWorks Foundation, explains that the Buy Clean Act is meant to address “the carbon loopholes.” The loopholes occur when a state like California passes some strict pollution laws. Obviously, not all firms will abide by the rules, and some of them move their operations to other states, where pollution laws are less strict, and keep on polluting the environment. They then export some of their merchandise to California. This way, the state is indirectly contributing to pollution.
However, with the Buy Clean Act in place, the Golden State government will no longer be at liberty to spend as much as a single cent of the close to $10 billion annual infrastructure budget on the products of such companies. Lewis is optimistic that California being a significant market for many products will inspire manufacturers in other states or countries to adopt clean technology in production.
The Buy Clean Act is the legislative version of the Click Green Campaign spearheaded by Greenpeace, a global environmental organization. The campaign seeks to request large tech firms to buy 100 percent renewable energy.
The law resonates well with labor unions, factories, environmentalists, etc. as it advances a cause that benefits every stakeholder. California is leading the pack in environmental conservation, and others states and even European countries are out to take a leaf out of California’s book.

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