Environmental goods and services

The Environmental Goods and Services Sector Accounts (EGSS) record the economic importance (e.g. production value, value added, jobs and exports) of activities producing goods and services aimed at protecting the environment or conserving natural resources.

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Methodologies

Data regarding the environmental sector come from the monetary environmental accounts compiled by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

The methods were developed by the Statistical Office of the European Union (EUROSTAT) based on the UN System of Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA).

The Environmental Goods and Services Sector (EGSS) does not correspond to a branch or economic sector of the general classification of economic activities (NOGA). It encompasses companies of all kinds, whose EGSS activities generally represent only a fraction of total activities.

The environmental sector includes activities that:

  • promote environmental protection  by preventing, reducing or eliminating pollution or any other environmental damage (e.g. waste management and the production of related goods, equipment, infrastructures and services);
  • favour the management of natural resources by preserving, maintaining or increasing their stock in order to avoid their depletion (e.g. the production of renewable energy and of related goods, equipment, infrastructures and services).

The production of goods specifically designed to be cleaner or more resource-efficient than goods of equivalent use (e.g. low-energy certified buildings, energy-efficient appliance or products from organic farming or from sustainable forestry) is also included.

The following activities are excluded from the environmental sector:

  • Public transport because it is not considered an environmental activity as such even if it can contribute to protect the environment and safeguard natural resources insofar as it replaces motorized individual transport;
  • Distribution and trade of environmental goods and services - the rationale is that in general the distribution of environmental products is not specifically designed to serve an environmental protection or a resource management purpose;
  • Products manufactured from recovered materials (e.g. recycled paper) - the rationale is that products produced from recovered materials do not reduce the use of natural resources any more than the reduction already achieved due to the recovery of materials and the production of secondary raw materials;
  • Environmentally friendly production of non-environmental goods and services (e.g. production of bread using green power or organic flour or biodegradable packaging);
  • Non-environmental activities that are closely associated with the environment or using the environment directly in their production processes (e.g. collection, treatment and distribution of drinking water; extraction of mineral and fossil resources);
  • Activities that may have a positive impact on the environment but serving primarily other purposes than the protection of the environment itself (e.g. to guarantee or to increase the safety and the health of workers at the work place, to protect infrastructures against natural or technological hazards, to purify water or air for specific industrial processes).

Results are available for the production value, the gross value added and the number of employees. Exports will be calculated later.

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Statistical sources and concepts

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

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