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.

  2000 2010 2018 2019p
Gross value added        
   in CHF billion, at current prices
10.9 19.6 22.2 21.2
   as % of GDP
2.3% 3.1% 3.1% 2.9%
Employment in full-time equivalents        
   in full-time equivalents 79 900 137 100 154 800 149 400
   as % of total employment
2.3% 3.7% 3.8% 3.6%
p: provisional Source: FSO – Environmental accounting, national accounts, STATENT

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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 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 sector includes activities producing goods or services having the purpose of:

  • Protecting the environment 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).
  • Managing 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).

This statistical perimeter adopted internationally to measure the economic importance of the environmental sector includes also the production of goods specifically designed to be cleaner or more resource efficient than normal goods of equivalent use (e.g. low-energy certified buildings, energy-efficient appliance or products from organic farming or from sustainable forestry). The measurement of the economic importance of the environmental sector comes from the environmental accounting, coherently with the National accounts (SNA), which they complete with an environmental dimension. The measurement is based on already existing data only.

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 production value, gross value added and employment. Exports will be calculated later.


Statistical sources and concepts


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



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