Environmental protection expenditure accounts (env_ac_epea)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

E2: Environmental statistics and accounts; sustainable development

1.5. Contact mail address

5 r. Alphonse Weicker - bâtim. Joseph Bech, 2721 Luxembourg

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 21/06/2016
2.2. Metadata last posted 21/06/2016
2.3. Metadata last update 21/06/2016

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

Environmental protection expenditure is the economic resources devoted to environmental protection. Environmental protection (EP) is defined as all activities directly aimed at the prevention, reduction and elimination of pollution or any other degradation of the environment.

Environmental protection expenditure accounts (EPEA) present the data on expenditure for environmental protection in a way that is compatible with national accounts. EPEA is one of the environmental accounts and it is an integrated part of the European environmental accounts published by Eurostat.

3.2. Classification system

The datasets use the following dimensions (not all dimensions are relevant in all tables):

1) Environmental economic characteristics: see section 3.4. below

2) Geopolitical entity (GEO): EU Member States, EFTA Countries, Candidate Countries, Potential Candidate Countries

3) Classification of environmental protection activities (CEPA). The following categories exist:

CEPA 1 — Protection of ambient air and climate

CEPA 2 — Wastewater management

CEPA 3 — Waste management

CEPA 4 — Protection and remediation of soil, groundwater and surface water

CEPA 5 — Noise and vibration abatement

CEPA 6 — Protection of biodiversity and landscapes

CEPA 7 — Protection against radiation

CEPA 8 — Environmental research and development

CEPA 9 — Other environmental protection activities.

4) Classification of economic activities - NACE rev.2 (NACE_R2): Data are aggregated for publication with special groupings divisions (2-digits of the classification) relevant for EPEA.

5) Sector: Institutional sector as defined in SEEA CF 2012 and ESA2010, with the following groupings: corporations, General government; non-profit institutions serving households, Households, Rest of the world (as beneficiary, or origin, of transfers for environmental protection).

6) Period of time (TIME): Data are annual.

7) Unit (UNIT): Millions of euros, million units of national currency, full-time equivalents (for labour input). The full-time equivalent is the number of full-time equivalent jobs, defined as total hours worked divided by average annual hours worked in full-time jobs.

3.3. Coverage - sector

The data set covers the entire national economy as defined in national accounts (ESA 2010, paragraph 2.04). Breakdowns by institutional sectors, economic activity (NACE) and environmental activity (CEPA) are available for certain tables.

The general government and non-profit institutions serving households cover all units classified in sectors S.13 and S.15 in national accounts.

The corporation sector covers all units classified in sectors S.11 and S.12 in national accounts. It includes in particular the output of specialist producers (i.e., the units of the corporation sector whose principal activity is the production of EP services. They can be found in particular in NACE Rev. 2 divisions 37, 38.1, 38.2 and 39). The secondary output in EP services of corporations is published together with specialist producers data. The ancillary activities of corporations other than specialist producers are included in EPEA too (see 3.4 below).

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

Environmental protection (EP) includes all activities and actions which have as their main purpose the prevention, reduction and elimination of pollution and of any other degradation of the environment. Those activities and actions include all measures taken in order to restore the environment after it has been degraded. Activities which, while beneficial to the environment, primarily satisfy the technical needs or the internal requirements for hygiene or safety and security of an enterprise or other institution are excluded from this definition.

The following concepts are presented: total investments (gross fixed capital formation and net acquisition of non-financial non-produced assets), pollution treatment investment, pollution prevention investment, final consumption, intermediate consumption, in-house current expenditure, exports and imports, output, taxes less subsidies, compensation of employees, consumption of fixed capital, net operating surplus, receipts from by-products, labour inputs, current and capital transfers, earmarked taxes.

A detailed explanation is found in the annex at the bottom of this page.

A complete methodological explanation can be found in the EPEA guidelines (to be published soon), ESA2010, SEEA CF 2012 (chapter 4).

3.5. Statistical unit

EPEA uses the same statistical units as national accounts. The building block is the institutional unit (ESA 2010, paragraph 2.12), which are grouped in institutional sectors.

3.6. Statistical population

Environmental protection expenditure is the economic resources devoted by resident units to environmental protection. Resident units are defined as in ESA 2010 and SEEA CF 2012. Therefore environmental protection expenditure accounts have the same system boundaries as national accounts.

3.7. Reference area

EU member states, EFTA countries, EU candidate and accession countries. (limited to data availability)

3.8. Coverage - Time

Data starting from 1997 and depending on country and characteristic.

3.9. Base period

Not applicable

4. Unit of measure Top

Millions of euros, million units of national currency, full-time equivalents (for labour input)

5. Reference Period Top

The data refer to the calendar year.

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

EPEA are legally covered by Regulation (EC) No. 691/2011 on European environmental economic accounts (EEEA). EEEA currently include six modules (air emissions accounts, environmentally related taxes by economic activity, economy-wide material flow accounts, environmental protection expenditure accounts, environmental goods and services sector accounts, and physical energy flow accounts).

The EEEA are fully in accordance with internationally agreed concepts and definitions set out in the system of environmental economic accounting 2012 – central framework (SEEA CF 2012, see annex). The SEEA CF is a multi-purpose conceptual framework to report the interactions between the environment and the economy.

EEEA present environmental information in a way that is fully compatible with National Accounts.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not applicable

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Confidential data are flagged "confidential" and not published. Aggregates of confidential data respect Eurostat confidentiality rules.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

Data are not bound by an advance release calendar.

8.2. Release calendar access

Not applicable

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Accessibility and clarity') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.

Data are disseminated simultaneously to all interested parties through a database update and on Eurostat's website.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Data are disseminated annually.

10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

There are no news releases on-line.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

This is a very recent dataset and it is not used in publications yet.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

The online database is available free of charge here:


10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Not applicable

10.6. Documentation on methodology

Methodological information can be downloaded from the Eurostat's website.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

As soon as reporting becomes obligatory (autumn 2017), Member States will provide quality reports, according to Regulation 691/2011, article 7. Eurostat will publish these quality reports as well as a summary assessment of the quality.

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

To ensure quality of the data Eurostat implements the following procedures/guidelines:

1) Methodological guidelines to assist countries in compiling EPEA

2) Extensive validation procedure of the data received. This procedure checks the data for possible illegal symbols, illegal footnotes, ensure consistency (totals and sub-totals calculated correctly, and against the figures reported in previous years) and implausible results (sharp changes over time).

3) Gap-filling of missing statistical information (see also point 18.5)

11.2. Quality management - assessment

Quality management is being set up in the run up for the first mandatory transmission of EPEA data in 2017. Validation procedures, estimation of missing statistical data (gap-filling) are in place. The Environmental Accounts Working Group, encompassing representatives of all Member States, Eurostat and other stakeholders, discusses quality improvements.

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

Environmental protection is a key objective of the European Commission DG Environment. Environmental protection expenditure is the existing approach to quantify the effort made by the society and companies towards achieving the 20-20-20 targets and the implementation of the ‘polluter pays principle’ (set out in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Article 191(2) TFEU)). 

The 7th Environmental Action Programme, priority objective 6 'To secure investment for environment and climate policy and address environmental externalities' calls, among other things, to ensure that by 2020 environment and climate policy objectives are achieved in a cost-effective way and are supported by adequate finance; public and private sector funding for environment and climate-related expenditure is increased. Moreover, one of the means to ensure the goals of the 7th Environmental Action Plan is represented by ‘more and wiser investment for environment and climate policy’.

The Commission Staff Working document Progress on 'GDP and beyond' actions calls for top-level indicators on environmental protection and quality-of-life indicators are being developed (Action 1).

Besides initiatives which directly require environmental protection expenditure data, there are policy initiatives about the green economy and green jobs for which environmental protection expenditure data is also necessary.

The policy context is set here: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/environment/overview/policy-context

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

There are no systematic studies of user satisfaction. Eurostat has regular hearings with European policymakers and contacts with the research community and other stakeholders to monitor the relevance of the statistics produced and identify new priorities.

12.3. Completeness

Presently the data are very incomplete. There is no legal obligation to transmit the data. Regulation (EU) 691/2011 creates a legal obligation starting from the 2017 data collection. At that time the data will be complete for all countries for 2014 and 2015 and gradually longer time series will be populated.

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

The overall accuracy is considered to be good. The data use standard international definitions, the data sources used are official statistics.

13.2. Sampling error

Not applicable to statistical accounts.

13.3. Non-sampling error

Not applicable to statistical accounts.

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

Every year Member States transmit data to Eurostat within 24 months of the end of the reference year. After validation Eurostat publishes the data around March/April (i.e. T+27m or T+28m).

14.2. Punctuality

Not applicable because there is no release calendar.

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

The comparability across countries is good due to clear statistical concepts and definitions.

15.2. Comparability - over time

The comparability over time is good due to clear statistical concepts and definitions.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

The data are coherent with National Accounts and Environmental Accounts.

15.4. Coherence - internal

The internal coherence is very high, ensured by the accounting framework.

16. Cost and Burden Top

No information is available.

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

Every year Eurostat publishes the complete time series, which may lead to revisions of data previously published. Revisions can be due to changes in methodology or methods of data compilation. Data are not revised in between annual releases. During first months after the first data release revisions may be possible. The datasets are frozen afterwards, usually in May.

17.2. Data revision - practice

Every year the EPEA questionnaire requests the entire time series back to 2006. Countries must report the reference year and they may or may not also revise the data for previous years.

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

EPEA are compiled combining numerous data sources and aligning them (whenever necessary) to the definitions of ESA 2010 and SEEA CF 2012. The main data sources are national accounts (mostly supply-use tables and COFOG data), structural business statistics, specific surveys for EPEA, balance of payments, household budget surveys.

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Data are collected annually.

18.3. Data collection

EPEA data collection is regulated by Regulation (EC) No. 691/2011 on European environmental economic accounts.

18.4. Data validation

Data are extensively checked via comprehensive validation procedure using IT tools.
More about data validation can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/data/data-validation and in point 11.1.

18.5. Data compilation

As the data collection is presently voluntary and becomes mandatory only starting from 2017, some Member States report incomplete data in terms of years, sectors or variables covered and a few Member States do not report any EPEA data. Therefore, Eurostat fills the gaps for missing data and produces estimates of EU aggregates by summing up the gap-filled country data. Eurostat estimates missing data for a specific year taking into account figures reported in the recent past by the Member State, auxiliary official statistics such as national accounts and government finance data as well as the data reported by other Member States that year. 

18.6. Adjustment

Not applicable

19. Comment Top

Not applicable

Related metadata Top

Annexes Top
Abridged explanation of the characteristics