Executive Order Demonstrates How the United States Will Leverage Its Scale and Procurement Power to Lead by Example in Tackling the Climate Crisis

Leaders representing labor organizations, the business community and environmental nonprofits applauded President Biden’s Executive Order on Catalyzing America’s Clean Energy Industries and Jobs through Federal Sustainability and accompanying Federal Sustainability Plan. The executive order will reduce emissions across federal operations, invest in American clean energy industries and manufacturing, and create clean, healthy, and resilient communities. This week’s announcement builds on the President’s whole-of-government effort to tackle the climate crisis in a way that creates well-paying jobs, grows industries, and makes the country more economically competitive.
Here’s what they are saying about the President’s Executive Order and Federal Sustainability Plan:
Union Leaders:
Liz Shuler, President, AFL-CIO: “This is the most pro-union, pro-climate White House in history. And it matters. Yesterday, POTUS signed an executive order that mainstreams sustainability in the federal workforce; advances equity and environmental justice; and promotes domestic content and union jobs.” [Tweet, 12/9/21]
Sean McGarvey, President, North America’s Building Trades Unions: “Today’s executive order is yet another clear message that the President is committed to meeting his clean energy goals while creating well-paying middle class union jobs.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Ray Curry, President, United Auto Workers: “President Biden rightly understands that we can address carbon emissions and turn it into an economic opportunity to preserve and create good union paying jobs of the future through federal fleet conversion and reducing the federal governments carbon footprint. The challenge we face is to make sure these produce jobs of the future that continue to support and build America’s middle class. Today’s Executive Order by President Biden seizes the opportunity to preserve, create and increase the opportunity for good union jobs for decades to come.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Lonnie Stephenson, President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers: “The IBEW applauds President Biden’s ambitious plan to put the federal government on the road to sustainability. By ensuring union workers are front and center in its efforts to reduce carbon emissions and modernize our nation’s infrastructure, today’s executive order proves that it is possible to achieve climate goals while supporting the needs of working families. The 775,000 members of the IBEW stand ready to work with the federal government in its transition to zero-emissions vehicles, zero-emissions buildings, and a cleaner future for our country.” [Statement, 12/9/21]
Business Leaders:
Ford Motor Company: “This is great news for our country and our planet.  Ford is leading the electric-vehicle revolution and we support President Biden’s efforts to accelerate the transition to a zero-emissions transportation future here and around the globe. We’re seeing higher-than-expected demand for the Mustang Mach-E, E-Transit commercial vans and F-150 Lightning pickup and are working to rapidly scale up our production of EVs.” [Automotive News, 12/8/21]
Ruth Porat, Chief Financial Officer, Google: “The Biden Administration’s decision to promote 24/7 carbon-free energy in the operation of federal buildings by 2030 is an important step towards decarbonizing the world’s electricity grids, and critically, will pave the way for others to set similarly ambitious goals. 24/7 carbon-free energy has been a core focus for Google since 2018, and we have set our own goal for data centers, cloud regions and campuses worldwide to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030. No one entity can solve this alone–success can only come from collective efforts–and we firmly believe the work of the Administration and others in this area will be key to accelerating progress on climate action.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
LafargeHolcim in the US: The Administration’s latest executive order leverages Federal procurement power to transform the way we design and construct infrastructure, leading the way to decarbonizing the built environment.  Read more: http://ow.ly/xK4f50H7kEv #ExecutiveOrder #LowCarbon #netzero [Linkedin, 12/7/21]
General Motors: “…encouraged by the Biden administration’s support of American manufacturing and electric vehicles. Adding electric vehicles to government fleets, paired with the needed infrastructure to support them, is a great way to get more EVs on the road as we work towards a zero-emission, all-electric future. We look forward to learning more details of the executive order.” Automotive News, 12/8/21]
John Bozzella, President and CEO, Alliance for Automotive Innovation: “The auto industry is committed to vehicle electrification and will invest $330 billion in electrification by 2025. We strongly support the Administration’s efforts to lead by example. Efforts from governments and stakeholders at all levels will be key to meeting our shared EV goals and we look forward to continuing to work with the Administration to achieve a cleaner transportation future. Through collaboration we can ensure that the transition to EVs benefits all communities, supports American workers, and enhances U.S. competitiveness and economic security.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Anne Kelly, Vice President of Government Relations, Ceres: “President Biden’s new executive order catalyzing the U.S. government toward net zero emissions by utilizing the federal government’s purchasing power is yet another important signal that this administration is committed to using its full authority and influence toward building a more competitive economy and strengthening U.S. leadership in the technology markets of today and tomorrow.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Liz Fairchild, Executive Director, Business Forward: “Today’s executive order establishes a new era for U.S. leadership on clean energy. The Biden Administration’s bold action demonstrates what can be done if Washington leverages the scale and purchasing power of the federal government.” [Statement, 12/9/21]
David Levine, President, American Sustainable Business Network: “In addition to its leadership on issues of tremendous importance to the environment, this order begins to deliver on the administration’s promise to improve economic justice and advances the President’s goals of the Justice40 Initiative by ensuring that economic equity and environmental justice are key considerations in government purchasing. This ensures that government contracting and procurement opportunities are available on a more equitable basis.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Jeffrey Hollender, CEO, American Sustainable Business Network: “This order recognizes the real risks of inaction as well as the opportunities to harness the buying power of the U.S. government to advance climate-related priorities for the U.S. people and our economy. By using the massive purchasing power and influence of the federal government, this administration is showing its commitment to a faster transition to an economy powered by renewable, clean energy. That’s good for business and our environment.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
The Clean Energy Buyers Association (CEBA): “The Clean Energy Buyers Association (CEBA) applauds the Biden Administration for its leadership in driving bold ambition at a time when decisive action is necessary to accelerate our progress toward a carbon-free energy system. The EO provides the ambition and scale needed to use the full procurement and purchasing power of the federal government, and sends a strong market signal that time and location-matched clean energy is imperative to accelerating decarbonization.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Andrew Regan, Executive Director, Clean Energy for America: “Today President Biden established a new era of federal leadership on climate by committing to cut the government’s carbon emissions 65 percent by the end of the decade. We applaud President Biden for setting this ambitious goal and stand ready to support the clean energy workers, businesses, and investors who are central to realizing the President’s vision. This effort will move us one step closer towards reaching our nation’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, and support a just transition for workers and communities. We know that investing in clean energy means creating good-paying jobs and economic growth that is helping power our community past the economic decline. Let’s keep up the momentum.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Jordan Ramer, Founder and CEO, EV Connect: “The federal government’s transportation needs offer a tremendous opportunity to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles. EV Connect applauds the Biden administration’s commitment to sustainability, and we look forward to helping the President meet the goals for the federal fleet laid out in his executive order on sustainable federal procurement.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Tim Latimer, Founder and CEO, Fervo Energy: “President Biden’s Federal Sustainability Plan spotlights the monumental opportunity the United States government has to lead on procurement of carbon pollution-free energy. Fervo Energy applauds this commitment to sustainability, particularly its commitment to procure 24/7 carbon pollution-free energy. Next-generation geothermal energy represents a reliable and carbon-free solution for 24/7 clean electricity, and can be an integral part of the Administration’s efforts to reach a carbon pollution-free goal of 2030. We look forward to helping the President meet the goals for sustainable federal procurement laid out in today’s executive order.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Bryce Smith, CEO, LevelTen Energy: “LevelTen Energy applauds the Biden Administration’s commitment to procure 100 percent carbon-free electricity for federal operations, and its ambitious but very achievable target of 50 percent 24/7 load-matching. In recent years, we’ve seen incredible private sector leadership in this space, but the federal government remains one of the largest electricity consumers in the world. Large-scale federal renewable procurement will not only save the government tens of millions of dollars, but will also drive down electricity costs, create thousands of high-quality, local jobs, and advance the clean energy industry in the United States by an order of magnitude. This is what leadership looks like.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Bob Keefe, Executive Director, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2): “From communications to medical devices to space travel, federal procurement has created and driven markets, jobs and innovation since the founding of our country. This smart executive order will help to do the same, while also helping combat climate change and saving taxpayers money.” [Statement, 12/8/21],
Environmental Organizations:
John Bowman, Managing Director of Government Affairs, Natural Resources Defense Council: “The federal government is the largest customer in the world. This aligns the government’s enormous buying power with the nation’s climate goals. Shifting to clean energy – in federal buildings, vehicles and power purchases – and using clean building materials for infrastructure projects will speed the transition to a low-carbon economy. It will help scale up efficiency and renewable power. And it twins with the climate investments embodied in the Build Back Better Act to set the country on the path to achieve the carbon reductions we need.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Michael Panfil, Director of Climate Risk Strategies, Environmental Defense Fund: “The Executive Order on Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability, which President Biden signed today, means the federal government – the world’s largest buyer – will be investing in the practices and technologies we need to protect the health of all Americans, provide cleaner air and a safer climate, and build American jobs and a stronger economy. This Executive Order includes some of the most important priorities for addressing the climate crisis. The purchasing power of the federal government makes it a powerful step toward protecting the health and safety of all Americans.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
John Reeder, Vice President for Federal Affairs, Environmental Working Group: “EWG applauds the Biden-Harris administration for following through on its campaign promise to use the power of federal purchasing to address PFAS. We know the private sector is ready to step up to the plate. The administration’s new directive will help turn the tide against needless uses of PFAS and increase the availability of safer choices.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Ben Beachy, Director of the Living Economy Program, Sierra Club: “We applaud President Biden’s move to leverage the federal government’s massive purchasing power to drive demand for clean manufacturing, electric vehicles, clean buildings, and 100% clean electricity. To support environmental justice, good clean energy jobs, and a livable climate, the United States government must swiftly slash pollution from its own construction materials, vehicle fleets, electricity usage, and buildings, and spur cuts to industrial pollution throughout the supply chain. This executive order is a crucial step down that path. 
“Today’s launch of a new federal Buy Clean initiative — backed by major unions and environmental groups — will help ensure that our tax dollars curb toxic pollution, promote climate stability, and support clean manufacturing jobs by requiring companies to disclose their emissions when selling steel, concrete, and other construction materials to the government for infrastructure projects.
 “As we accelerate the country’s transition toward electric transportation powered by renewable energy, the federal government must lead the charge. We applaud the Biden administration for this major commitment to support the transition to electric cars and trucks.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Sara Fontes, Government Affairs Advocate, League of Conservation Voters: “We commend the Biden administration for leveraging the power of the federal government to spur the clean energy economy, grow clean manufacturing jobs here in the United States, protect public health by transitioning away from toxic PFAS chemicals, and advance environmental justice and equity. Today’s executive order and plan begin to deliver on the administration’s commitment to revitalize the federal government’s sustainability efforts. Whether it be the announcement of a new Buy Clean program coupled with emissions and climate-risk disclosure requirements, acquiring only clean light duty vehicles by 2027 and all vehicles by 2035 for the federal fleet, a 50% reduction in building emissions by 2032 and 100% by 2045, preferencing sustainable products without toxic PFAS chemicals, or the purchase of 100% clean electricity by 2030, this plan is an important part of the administration’s whole-of-government approach to combating the climate crisis.
“It is imperative that Congress passes the Build Back Better Act this year and federal appropriations bills before the continuing resolution expires in February, to ensure that the federal government has the additional funding necessary to deliver on this ambitious plan.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Reverend Mitch Hescox, President, Evangelical Environmental Network: “Implementing these plans will be tough, especially the EV infrastructure. However, EEN looks forward to aiding and pushing the Biden Administration to complete these national goals. Every child in the United States will breathe cleaner air thanks to this ambitious plan, face a lower climate threat, and our country will continue to generate good jobs with family-sustaining incomes.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Lindsey Baxter Griffith, Federal Policy Director, Clean Air Task Force: “We’re pleased to see the U.S. federal government, which is the largest electricity purchaser in the nation, focus on what matters most: fully decarbonizing electricity, investing in clean communities and solutions that will work across our grid every hour of every day, and commercializing the full range of technologies needed to get the job done. We support this executive order and stand ready to support the Biden administration as it puts its considerable ambition into action.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Stacy Smedley, Executive Director, Building Transparency: “The building and construction industry is responsible for nearly 40% of global GHG emissions. President Biden’s Executive Order and Federal Sustainability Plan demonstrates that the Administration understands the industry’s impact on climate change, and that Buy Clean policies continue to be effective in reducing the carbon impact of our buildings. This leadership at the federal level will drive demand for low-carbon solutions and incentivize construction materials manufacturers and suppliers to invest in disclosure, transparency and low carbon material innovations. This is critical in our fight against global warming and gives me hope for a sustainable future.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Gary Cohen, Founder, Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth: “We look forward to working with the Biden administration to advance climate-smart health care standards that decarbonize, detoxify, and build climate-resilient facilities. As the nation’s health care system, federal facilities can model the essential transformation of health care to align with the administration’s climate goals and use its purchasing power to shift the supply chain toward a more just, low-carbon economy. Practice Greenhealth has been working with nearly 200 federal facilities committed to leading this work. We are excited to continue to partner and support their accelerated attention to climate-smart strategies.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Other Organizations
Jason Walsh, Executive Director, BlueGreen Alliance: “The BlueGreen Alliance is thrilled to see a Buy Clean initiative established at the federal level. Buy Clean will support American manufacturing and our manufacturing workers while leveling the playing field for companies that are doing what’s right to reduce our nation’s contribution to climate change. By focusing on the environmental impact of the materials procured by the federal government, this policy can help ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly, on materials that are manufactured in a cleaner, more efficient, environmentally-friendly manner—reducing pollution and the negative health impacts that go along with it. We thank President Biden for this effort to Buy Clean and look forward to continuing to work with the administration—and in the states—to implement this important policy.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Sarah Ladislaw, Managing Director of U.S. Program, Rocky Mountain Institute: “The Biden administration’s announcement today marks a transformative effort to tackle 15% of U.S. carbon emissions. Decarbonizing buildings, ensuring federal investments for infrastructure are targeted for clean, sustainable projects, and driving and informing private investment for clean technology to slash greenhouse gas emissions showcase this administration’s climate priorities. This series of investments takes much-needed steps to capitalize on what we already know: the clean energy transition is critical in tackling climate change and stimulating our economy.”  [Statement, 12/8/21]
Ben Prochazka, Executive Director, The Electrification Coalition: “The Electrification Coalition applauds the administration for setting these ambitious commitments to accelerate the electrification of the federal fleet. Our nation’s transition to electric vehicles is now only a question of when – not if. The federal government’s leadership establishes a path forward to reduce the economic, public health and national security risks that stem from a transportation system that’s tethered to oil. 
“The federal fleet is a heavyweight customer with immense purchasing power. This announcement sends a clear signal to industry and the markets that the United States will be a leader in the transition to electrification – it’s time to take electric vehicle production, charging infrastructure development and charging equipment manufacturing to the next level. The federal government’s sharp increase in demand for EVs will spur market activity that reverberates far beyond the federal fleet. Consumers and private-sector fleets will drive electric vehicles, and American workers will be at the forefront of a historic transformation in vehicle manufacturing.  [Statement, 12/8/21]
Dr. Adam Stein, Senior Nuclear Energy Analyst, Breakthrough Institute: “President Biden’s latest move to transition the US to a carbon-free energy future creates a clear path for nuclear energy to regenerate as America’s dominant power source. The EO laid out five energy-related goals, with the first and most prominent being a transition to ‘100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity (CFE) by 2030, at least half of which will be locally supplied clean energy to meet 24/7 demand.’ America’s electricity grid needs the availability and reliability that firm energy resources provide such as nuclear energy.
“This technology-neutral approach to procuring clean energy with an emphasis on 24/7 availability is critical and will be a template for others to follow. A carbon-free future requires firm energy, including nuclear energy.”  [Statement, 12/8/21]
Josh Freed, Senior Vice President for Climate and Energy Program, Third Way: “President Biden has pledged to boldly address climate change, and ensure that the solutions benefit everyday Americans. This executive order, along with the Build Back Better Act and recently-passed infrastructure package, makes it clear that he intends to take advantage of every opportunity along the way to put American workers and businesses ahead of the curve and in the lead in a low-carbon economy. This is what American industrial policy should look like, pragmatic, ambitious, and ensuring the Administration’s commitment to equity.”
[Statement, 12/9/21]
U.S. House Committee on Science:
We applaud @POTUS‘s EO which tackles the climate crisis while creating good jobs for American workers, increases economic competitiveness, and promotes #EnvironmentalJustice and equity. We also applaud the transition of federal infrastructure to zero-emission vehicles and buildings powered by carbon pollution-free electricity. [Tweet, 12/8/21]
Congressional Leaders:
U.S. Senator and Chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, Tom Carper: “True leaders turn adversity into opportunity, and that is exactly what President Biden is doing with this executive order today. Putting the weight of the federal government behind reducing emissions is the right thing to do. It will move us closer to reaching our shared climate goals and strengthen our clean energy sector—something we should all be able to support. This executive order will also enhance the implementation of our recently enacted bipartisan infrastructure bill, meaning more Americans getting to work in good-paying jobs. Still, our work to address the existential threat of climate change continues. States should follow the federal government’s lead and implement their own emissions reduction plans. I believe we can help support states as they do so. That starts with passing the Build Back Better Act and seizing the opportunity to make the President’s climate goals a reality.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
House Representative (IL-06) Sean Casten: “I’m thrilled the President has continued to show leadership on reducing the federal government’s emissions footprint by issuing this transformational Executive Order. His commitment to a carbon free future will be essential to ensuring that the private sector and other nations should follow in suit. This Administration’s innovative whole-of-government approach to emissions reduction will leverage the scale and procurement power of the United States to rapidly address the threats posed by the climate crisis.” [Statement, 12/9/21]
House Representative (FL-14) and Chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Kathy Castor: “With this executive order, President Biden is taking an important step to reduce carbon pollution, create good-paying clean jobs, and advance adaptation and environmental justice. By ensuring the federal government obtains 24/7 clean electricity and starts transitioning to clean electric vehicles, the Biden Administration is leading by example, taking a vital step forward in our fight to expand clean energy and lower costs across the country. And by ensuring the federal government considers opportunities to reduce emissions and promote climate resilience across its planning and procurement decisions, the President is taking an all-of-government approach to the climate crisis, which will be crucial to meeting our climate goals and protecting taxpayers nationwide. Consistent with recommendations in our Climate Crisis Action Plan, President Biden is using the federal government’s procurement power to expand clean vehicles, clean fuels, and resilient, innovative building technologies. The Biden Administration’s efforts will help bring new solutions to market by strengthening demand for clean technologies, so all Americans can experience the benefits of lower-cost, zero-emission climate solutions.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
House Representative (MI-12) Debbie Dingell: “The Climate Crisis is waiting for no one, and we need to act fast to ensure America is resilient. I’m thankful for the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to fighting this crisis, especially by creating jobs and boosting domestic manufacturing. From ensuring that government-purchase products are free of PFAS to efforts to transition the U.S. government to clean energy, today’s Executive Order is critical to the long-term success of this country and to the health of generations to come.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
House Representative (NJ-06) and Chair of the Committee on Energy & Commerce Frank Pallone, Jr.: “Today’s Executive Order sends a powerful message that the federal government is leading by example in our fight against climate change.  Using the power of procurement, the Biden Administration will drive meaningful progress in the development, availability, and use of clean power, vehicles, buildings, and products.  This renewed commitment to sustainable government operations will build a cleaner future for all Americans, and I look forward to working with the Administration on these efforts.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Biden Administration Officials:
Jennifer M. Granholm, Secretary of Department of Energy (DOE):
“President Biden is leading by example and working on behalf of the American people to tackle the climate crisis and DOE is in full support of the Administration’s whole-of-government strategy. Through our Federal Energy Management Program, DOE is ready to help the federal government rebuild American supply chains and create jobs by using U.S.-made products to reduce carbon pollution.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
Michael S. Regan, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
“EPA is proud to play a key role in delivering on President Biden’s executive order to drive a clean energy economy and build a more sustainable future. “Tackling the climate crisis and protecting communities from pollution requires this kind of bold, whole-of-government action. Together, we can have a dramatic impact in reducing emissions and foster the development of American-made technologies and innovations.” [Statement, 12/9/21]
Robin Carnahan, Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA):
“Right now we have a massive opportunity to create millions of clean energy jobs, save taxpayer money through reduced energy costs, and build a more sustainable future for generations of Americans. Today’s actions demonstrate how GSA and our federal partners will move forward with a bold vision that meets this moment in history by harnessing the power of American ingenuity and innovation.” [Statement, 12/8/21]
John F. Kirby, Pentagon Press Secretary with the Department of Defense (DOD):
“Integrating clean energy can help enhance our resilience to all threats, including the effects of climate change. They can help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and help us compete for the energy technologies that are central to — to our future success.” [Press Briefing, 12/8/21]



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