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Manufacturers Make Sustainability Possible

As the world marks Earth Day today, manufacturers are doing their part. It’s a message that the NAM continues to advance on behalf of the industry, particularly given that all the technologies that will contribute to a more climate-friendly future—from clean energy, to carbon capture, to batteries, microgrids and advanced vehicles—are built or produced by manufacturers.

Manufacturers are deeply invested in this work, which is why the NAM, along with its member companies, is developing and driving the kinds of policies that support sustainability and promote manufacturing jobs in America.

At the core of manufacturers’ leadership is the recognition that climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution. The NAM has consistently maintained that international cooperation is the only way to solve the climate crisis and ensure that the U.S. doesn’t suffer a competitive disadvantage. And the industry is also committed to the actions in the United States that will help further our critical goals.

The way forward: In The Promise Ahead, the NAM lays out a comprehensive plan for action around sustainability and climate. Recommendations follow three core principles for climate action that will help manufacturers effectively build the infrastructure necessary to make the U.S. a leader in climate-friendly technology:

  • One unified policy: Instead of the patchwork of federal, state and local climate change regulations that manufacturers currently face, the industry needs a clear federal policy that offers predictability, consistency and certainty while meeting science-based targets. Businesses should be able to plan for the future—and shouldn’t have to worry that the policies of today will be different tomorrow.
  • A level playing field: Any national policy to address emissions should be economy-wide and apply to all emitters. Congress should develop plans that don’t unduly burden one sector over another, and manufacturers shouldn’t be expected to shoulder the already-high cost of new regulations alone.
  • Consumer choice and competitiveness: This policy approach shouldn’t automatically involve a mandated phaseout of any manufactured product. Instead, policymakers should lead with the tools and strategies manufacturers need to improve products, preserving consumer choice and supporting the innovation that manufacturing provides.

Immediate action: Manufacturers are moving aggressively to address significant issues. It’s why the NAM worked with Congress to pass bipartisan policy initiatives like those included in last year’s energy bill and the bipartisan infrastructure law. These include investing in energy and water efficiency, funding and expanding climate and clean energy R&D programs, paving the way for a smart grid and hydrogen, and commercializing and deploying carbon capture, utilization and storage technology.

What we’re saying: “It’s remarkable to see the commitments manufacturers are making to the health of our communities, our country and our world—which is why we have consistently led the drive for climate innovation,” said NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Rachel Jones. “We need a national and international approach that unleashes our efforts. Our plan is designed to create a rallying point for that approach and spur sustainable economic and environmental progress.”

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