Affordable, reliable energy is the lifeblood of manufacturing in America. Our industry accounts for nearly one-third of the energy consumed in the country. That powers us to contribute $2.38 trillion to GDP and employ more than 12.8 million Americans.
Energy costs are therefore top of mind when companies choose where and whether to invest in new facilities and jobs. When policymakers debate energy policy, manufacturers stand firmly on the side of legislation and regulation that will keep the energy costs reasonable and the supply reliable.
We are also tireless advocates for improving energy efficiency and sustainability. Leading by example, manufacturers have leveraged new technologies and reduced the carbon footprint of our products by 21% over the past decade while contributing 18% more to the economy.
To continue this progress, the NAM joined with the Department of Energy to launch the Sustainability in Manufacturing Partnership. We are partners in the EPA’s Smart Sectors Program to foster collaboration on sustainable practices. According to a recent NAM survey, nearly 80% of manufacturers have a sustainability policy or are developing one, and more than 76% have a program to recycle and reuse their waste streams.
Efficient resource use is essential not only to keeping costs down but also to addressing the shared challenge of global climate change. Manufacturers believe that economic growth and environmental stewardship must go hand-in-hand.
In recent years, manufacturers have benefitted from increased regulatory certainty from federal agencies. We have a responsibility to show we can be trusted to continue leading on the environment. It is a promise we have made and one we will keep.
Addressing environmental and energy challenges requires government officials to work alongside community leaders, local utilities and manufacturers—to ensure the success of America’s manufacturing workers and to protect our earth, the only home we have.
Jay Timmons is president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, the largest manufacturing association in the United States.