EU Environmental protection services: EUR 69 billion invested

Eurostat estimates that in 2022, EU countries invested about EUR 69 billion into assets essential to provide environmental protection (EP) services. These services included wastewater treatment plants, vehicles to transport waste, acquisitions of land to create a natural reserve, or cleaner equipment for producing with less polluting emissions.

The information comes from data on environmental protection expenditure accounts published by Eurostat as a result of the 2022 mandatory data collection according to the requirements established in the Commission delegated regulation 2022/125. This article presents a few findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained article on environmental protection expenditure accounts.

About EUR 44 billion (65% of total environmental protection investments) was spent by corporations, both the specialist providers of environmental protection services (e.g. private companies dealing with waste collection and processing and with sewerage) and corporations other than specialist producers, which purchase technologies and equipment reducing the environmental pressures arising from their production process (e.g. equipment reducing their air emissions).  The general government and non-profit sector accounted for the remaining share (35 %).

The share of environmental protection investments in total investments was about 2.5 % in 2022. More specifically, the share of environmental protection investments in total investments of corporations was 2.0 % and of the general government was 4.8 %.

The largest amount of investments was related to wastewater and waste management services. In 2022, they accounted for 44.0 % and 25.7 % of the total investments for environmental protection, respectively, while 10.5 % went to air protection, 7.8 % to protection against radiation, to environmental R&D and other environmental protection activities, including general environmental administration and education, 6.0 % to soil and groundwater protection, 4.4 % to biodiversity and landscape protection, and the remaining 1.6 % to noise reduction.

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Methodological note: 

  • Environmental domains are defined according to the classification of environmental protection activities (CEPA). CEPA is a recognised international standard included in the family of international economic and social classifications. It can be downloaded from the Ramon
  • Statistics in this article are compiled according to the UN System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA).