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A brand new federal coverage may minimize emissions from infrastructure and enhance Canadian trade, however the authorities’s strategy wants an improve: research

OTTAWA — A seventh of the world’s carbon emissions are related to constructing supplies like metal, cement, and aluminum, leaving a construction-shaped gap in world efforts to fight local weather change.

In response, governments around the globe—together with Canada and the U.S.—are adopting “Purchase Clear” insurance policies to preferentially purchase cleaner development merchandise for public infrastructure tasks and develop the marketplace for lower-carbon supplies.

A brand new report from Clear Power Canada and International Effectivity Intelligence, Cash Talks, fashions the potential affect of Purchase Clear right here in Canada. The report additionally provides suggestions—endorsed by an alliance of trade, labour and environmental teams—for a way Purchase Clear may minimize much more emissions whereas supporting Canadian trade.

Canada already produces among the world’s cleanest cement, aluminum, and metal thanks, partially, to its comparatively low-carbon electrical energy grid. However with out a sturdy home marketplace for these merchandise, Canada may lose its aggressive benefit as America’s new Inflation Discount Act channels billions of {dollars} into rising the marketplace for U.S.-made, low-carbon constructing supplies—threatening Canada’s clear industrial head begin. 

It’s one purpose the Purchase Clear Alliance (made up of metal, cement, aluminum, and forestry trade associations alongside teams representing labour and the setting) is advocating for Canada to up its Purchase Clear ambition to make sure it stays within the race.

Our report finds that the Canadian public sector makes up round a fifth of all infrastructure spending within the nation, whereas emissions from constructing publicly funded infrastructure is the same as the air pollution from 1.7 million gasoline automobiles (8 million tonnes of CO2e). 

The federal authorities is growing a Purchase Clear technique for federal development tasks, like ports or authorities buildings, however this covers simply 4% of all public spending and fewer than 1% of all infrastructure spending in Canada. 

The true heft of Canada’s public infrastructure spending rests with provinces, municipalities and Crown companies. Solely by adopting a very nationwide strategy will Purchase Clear considerably bolster Canada’s clear industrial market within the face of American competitors.

The report recommends a number of steps the federal authorities ought to take to construct a very efficient Purchase Clear technique, endorsed by the Purchase Clear Alliance:

  • Broaden the scope: Mandate Purchase Clear necessities throughout the entire federal authorities, together with for Crown companies and federal investments in provincial and municipal infrastructure.
  • Develop provincial and native capability: Create a devoted crew within the federal authorities to offer assist to all ranges of presidency—from provinces to municipalities—and the non-public sector to get on board with Purchase Clear.  
  • Construct the inspiration for a nationwide strategy: Reform constructing requirements to allow low-carbon supplies whereas additionally investing in knowledge, instruments, and applications to check and scale even cleaner development options.


“Canadian trade is already forward with regards to clear development supplies because of a relatively clear electrical energy grid and a bunch of world-leading cleantech corporations. By getting Purchase Clear proper, we are able to slash carbon air pollution from our buildings and infrastructure whereas supporting Canadian industries and the 1000’s of jobs that go along with them.”

Oliver Sheldrick, clear economic system program supervisor at Clear Power Canada

“Purchase Clear insurance policies that encourage the acquisition of decrease carbon development supplies, that are competitively produced by home industries, will maintain good jobs for staff in communities throughout Canada. Shopping for clear will assist preserve Canadian industrial jobs, considerably minimize the embodied carbon of our buildings, bridges and infrastructure, and construct a future we are able to all be pleased with.”

Jamie Kirkpatrick, senior program supervisor at Blue Inexperienced Canada

Canada’s cement and concrete trade has been steadfast in our dedication to scale back our emissions by 15MT cumulatively by 2030 and attain true net-zero by 2050. A key element of realizing this objective is to extend the supply and use of low carbon concrete. By placing Purchase Clear insurance policies in place, governments can proceed to take pleasure in the advantages of concrete—a sturdy, resilient, versatile and value efficient materials—whereas on the identical time realizing very important emissions reductions and supporting jobs in communities from coast, to coast, to coast.”

Adam Auer, President & CEO, Cement Affiliation of Canada


  • About 13% of world emissions are “embodied” within the supplies used to assemble buildings and different infrastructure.
  • The two largest polluters are cement and metal manufacturing, collectively answerable for round 14% of world emissions. One other 2% of world emissions come from aluminum manufacturing.
  • Demand for these supplies is solely projected to develop, with as much as 45% extra cement, 30% extra metal, and 80% extra aluminum anticipated to be required by 2050.
  • All public infrastructure spending in Canada totalled a large $62.5 billion in 2018, about one-fifth of all spending on infrastructure within the nation, together with housing.
  • Of this public spending whole, direct federal procurement accounts for simply 4%, whereas federal spending that’s transferred to provinces, territories, and municipalities accounts for an additional 13%.
  • By taking a pan-Canadian strategy, Canada may keep away from as much as half of its emissions from development supplies by 2030.


Report | Cash Talks

Technical Report | Advancing Purchase Clear Coverage in Canada

Associated report | Classes from the US on “Shopping for Clear” and proposals for Canada


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