Environmental protection expenditure

The environmental protection expenditure accounts (EPEA) measures the financial effort of households, enterprises and public administrations aimed at the prevention, reduction and elimination of pollution or any other degradation of the environment.

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Data regarding the national expenditure on environmental protection come from the monetary environmental accounts compiled by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). The compilation methods of the environmental protection expenditure accounts (Environmental protection expenditure accounts EPEA) had been developed by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, based on the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) of the ONU.

National expenditure on environmental protection represents the financial contribution made by households, businesses and public authorities (including non-profit institutions serving households – NPISH) to prevent, reduce or eliminate pollution or any other environmental damage.

It is defined as the sum of:

  • the use of environmental protection services by resident units, i.e.:
    - general government final consumption (share of non-market environmental protection services not paid for by any particular financing entity but by the public authorities themselves);
    - household final consumption (e.g. communal fees for waste management and wastewater; added expense of buying organically produced food)
    - intermediate consumption of businesses (e.g. communal fees and other waste management and wastewater payments; the cost of running, maintaining and repairing environmental protection equipment; the cost of environmental research, training or certification).
  • gross fixed capital formation for environmental protection (e.g. investment in fixed assets such as gas filters, waste containers, shredders and incinerators, wastewater treatment plants, improved fuel combustion systems, low-noise vehicles etc.)
  • net environmental protection transfers paid to the rest of the world

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) are not included.

National environmental protection expenditure is measured in a manner consistent with the National accounts. It is based solely on existing data. Estimates are made if no information is available on the breakdown by environmental domain.

The measurement of the degree of coverage of the public costs for wastewater treatment – at the municipal, cantonal and federal level – comes from an evaluation of the financial statistics of the Federal Finance Administration (FFA). These costs include current expenditure as well as an estimate of depreciation (average value of investment expenditure over all available years) and interest charges. Income corresponds to fees for administrative acts, usage and service fees as well as connection fees (estimated by the average value of contributions to investments over all available years). This method is based on the one developed by the Federal Finance Administration (FFA) to calculate the index of financing by fees in the cantons and communes (documentation available in French, German and Italian).



Statistical sources and concepts


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