MONET 2030: Jobs in the environmental sector


SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Significance of the indicator
The indicator shows job growth in the environmental sector in relation to total employment. The environmental sector groups together activities producing goods and services aimed at protecting the environment or at conserving natural resources. Growth in the number of jobs in the environmental sector, therefore, is a step towards sustainable development. 

Help for interpretation
The growth observed is primarily the result of activities linked to energy saving measures in building construction and the production of renewable energy. 

International comparability
This indicator is comparable at European level. Methods to estimate the economic importance of the environmental sector have been developed by the European Union’s statistical office (EUROSTAT), based on the UN’s System of Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA).


Tables

Methodology

This indicator shows the change in the number of jobs in the environmental sector in relation to total employment. Methods for estimating the economic importance of this sector have been developed by the European Union’s statistical office (EUROSTAT) based on the UN’s System of Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA). Data from the environmental sector come from the monetary environmental accounts established by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). Data on total employment are based on the FSO’s structural business statistics (STATENT).
The environmental sector groups together activities producing goods and services aimed at:

  • protecting the environment by preventing, reducing or removing pollution or any other environmental damage (e.g. waste management and the production of related goods, equipment, infrastructure and services;
  • to manage natural resources by preserving, maintaining or increasing their stocks so as to prevent them from running out (e.g. the production of renewable energy and that of related goods, equipment, infrastructure and services).

This statistical perimeter, adopted at international level to measure the economic importance of the environmental sector, also includes the production of goods specifically designed to be cleaner or to consume less resources than equivalent consumer goods, such as certified low-energy buildings, energy-efficient appliances and produce from organic farming or sustainable forestry.  The economic importance of the environmental sector is measured within the framework of environmental accounting, in a manner consistent with the National accounts, providing them with an environmental dimension. It is based solely on existing data.

The following activities are excluded from the environmental sector:

  • public transport, which is not considered to be an environmental activity as such, even though it does contribute to protecting the environment and saving natural resources when it replaces individual motorised private transport;
  • the distribution and marketing of environmental goods and services as these are not activities generally designed to protect the environment or save natural resources;
  • the production of products made from secondary raw materials (e.g. recycled paper) as it does not allow a reduction in the use of natural resources other than the reduction achieved through the recycling of materials in waste flows;
  • the eco-friendly production of non-environmental goods and services (e.g. the production of bread using green electricity or organic flour or biodegradable packaging);
  • non-environmental activities that are related to or that use the environment in production processes (.e.g. the production and distribution of drinking water or sand or gravel mining);
  • activities that have a positive impact on the environment but whose main purpose is not environmental protection (e.g. ensuring or increasing health and safety at work, protecting infrastructure from natural or technological disasters, purifying air or water for technical reasons in industry).

Principles

10a Promotion of economic efficiency
The economic efficiency of a society must be at least maintained over time. The efficient use of natural resources and a future-oriented economic structure should be promoted.

10b Economic order that favours innovation and competition
The framework of the market system should be shaped in such a manner that innovation and knowledge transfer are encouraged and functional markets are maintained or improved. Competitivity and locational quality should be maintained and promoted. 

16a Limits for consumption of renewable resources
Consumption of renewable resources should be kept below the regeneration threshold.

16b Limits for consumption of non-renewable resources
Non-renewable resources should only be used in amounts that can be replaced by renewable resources.

Contact

Federal Statistical Office Section Environment, Sustainable Development, Territory
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuchâtel
Switzerland

Contact

Remark

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