Environmental goods and services sector (env_egs)

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

2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 05/06/2018
2.2. Metadata last posted 05/06/2018
2.3. Metadata last update 05/06/2018

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The environmental goods and services sector (EGSS) is the part of the economy that generates environmental products, i.e. those produced for the purpose of environmental protection or resource management.

Environmental protection activities have as their main purpose the prevention, reduction and elimination of pollution and of any other degradation of the environment. They include all measures undertaken to restore the degraded environment to its proper condition.

Resource management activities aim at safeguarding the stock of natural resources against depletion.

The EGSS accounts provide data on output and exports of the environmental goods and services and on value added of and employment in the environmental goods and services sector.

The data are compiled following the statistical concepts and definitions set out in the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 – Central Framework (SEEA CF 2012).

Eurobase tables 'env_ac_egss1' and 'env_ac_egss2' include data from two different sources:

  • data produced and transmitted to Eurostat by EU Member States and EFTA countries. Eurostat publishes these data following a validation process.
  • the EU aggregates calculated by Eurostat not as a sum of available national data but estimated based on methods documented in the Eurostat EGSS practical guide and using publicly available data sources.

In addition, Eurostat produces output and gross value added volume estimates, i.e. discounting for changes in prices, for all countries published in dataset env_ac_egss2.

Eurobase table 'env_ac_egss3' contains solely the EGSS data for the EU, calculated by Eurostat as described above.

3.2. Classification system

The environmental activities are classified by environmental domain as set out in the classification of environmental protection activities and expenditure (CEPA) and the classification of resource management activities and expenditure (CReMA):

CEPA 1 - Protection of ambient air and climate, of which:

CEPA 1.1.2 and 1.2.2 Protection of climate and ozone layer

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, of which:

CEPA 9 - Other environmental protection activities

CReMA 10 - Management of water

CReMA 11 - Management of forest resources, of which:

CReMA 11.A Management of forest areas

CReMA 11.B Minimisation of the intake of forest resources

CReMA 12 - Management of wild flora and fauna

CReMA 13 - Management of energy resources

CReMA 13A - Production of energy from renewable resources

CReMA 13B - Heat/energy saving and management

CReMA 13C - Minimisation of the use of fossil energy as raw materials

CReMA 14 - Management of minerals

CReMA 15 - Research and development activities for resource management, of which:

CReMA 16 - Other resource management activities

CEPA 2000 is a recognised international standard included in the family of international economic and social classifications. It can be downloaded from:


CReMA is set out in Annex V of Regulation (EU) No 691/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council on European environmental economic accounts.

The suppliers of environmental products are scattered over many NACE divisions. Country data by NACE are collected by Eurostat but not currently published.

Eurostat's provisional estimate for the EU total covers CEPA 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7-9 and CReMA 10, 13A, 13B. Materials recovery activities covered by NACE Rev. 2 group 38.3 are included in the data. Activities related to forests are not covered. The data are broken down into broad NACE categories.

3.3. Coverage - sector

The EGSS is the part of the economy providing goods and services aimed at environmental protection and resource management (see SEEA CF 2012 chapter 4) or that are designed to be more environmentally friendly ('cleaner and resource efficient products').

With a view to providing support to compilers for the implementation of the definitions in their data production process lists of environmental activities and products have been set out in the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2174 ('the indicative compendium of environmental goods and services).

The environmental goods and services can be produced by corporations, households, governments and non-profit institutions.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

The EGSS has the same system boundaries as the European System of Accounts (ESA) and consists of all environmental products within this production boundary. ESA defines production as the activity carried out under the control and responsibility of an institutional unit that uses inputs of labour, capital and goods and services to produce outputs of goods and services.

Only goods and services that have been produced for environmental purposes are included in the scope of the EGSS.

'Environmental purpose' means that the good or service has been produced for the purpose of either "Preventing, reducing and eliminating pollution and any other degradation of the environment" or "Preserving and maintaining the stock of natural resources and hence safeguarding against depletion".


The EGSS statistics aim at compiling data for the following economic variables:

Output: consists of those produced goods or services that become available for use outside the producer unit, any goods and services produced for own final use and goods that remain in the inventories at the end of the period in which they are produced. Apart from the market output, output for own final use and non-market output, the output of the EGSS sector also includes ancillary output of environmental goods and services.

  • Market output is to be measured at basic prices. Basic prices are the prices receivable by the producers from the purchasers for a unit of a good or service minus any tax payable on that unit as a consequence of its production or sale plus any product subsidy per unit.
  • Output for own final use is to be valued at the basic prices of similar products sold on the market or by the total costs of production.
  • Non-market output is to be estimated by the total costs of production.
  • Ancillary output is measured as a total of recurrent production costs (such as intermediate consumption, compensation of employees and consumption of fixed capital) incurred by some enterprises: (i) to reduce the environmental pressures arising from their production process or (ii) to produce environmental goods or services not intended for use outside the enterprise, but instead supporting other (non-environmental) activities undertaken within the enterprise (e.g. waste management services carried out in-house). For market producers, a mark-up for net operating surplus is added to the value of the EGSS ancillary output.

Gross Value Added: represents the contribution made by these activities towards GDP. It is the difference between the value of the output and intermediate consumption.

Employment: the employment in environmental protection and resource management activities is measured by the full-time equivalent employment engaged in the production of the environmental output as defined above. 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.

Exports: Exports of goods and services consist of sales, barter, or gifts or grants, of goods and services from residents to non-residents.

See also the reference documents available on Eurostat's website on methodology for environmental accounts.

3.5. Statistical unit

Council Regulation (EEC) No 696/93 of 15 March 1993 on the statistical units for the observation and analysis of the production system in the Community describes the different statistical units of the production system.

The recommended statistical unit for the collection and compilation of EGSS statistics (excluding general government) is the establishment. For general government the recommendation is to use institutional units and groupings of units as defined in ESA (European System of Accounts).

3.6. Statistical population

The national economy is as defined in SEEA CF 2012 and National Accounts (ESA), i.e. all economic activities undertaken by resident units.

See also sections 3.2, 3.3 and 3.4 above.

3.7. Reference area

The reference area is the economic territory as defined in SEEA CF 2012 and National Accounts (ESA). A unit is said to be a resident unit of a country when it has a centre of economic interest in the economic territory of that country, that is, when it engages for an extended period (1 year or more) in economic activities in that territory.

Eurostat publishes EGSS data for the EU Member States, EFTA countries and candidate countries. Moreover, Eurostat produces and disseminates a provisional estimate for the EU total.

3.8. Coverage - Time

Provisional estimate for the EU total is compiled by Eurostat for the period 2000-onwards.

Under Regulation 691/2011, the EU Member States are obliged to report the EGSS data for 2014-onwards.

The availability of data for the voluntary reporting period (i.e. before 2014) varies considerably across reporting countries.

3.9. Base period

Not applicable

Instead, for some variables the concepts of chain-linked volumes are applied. After a reference period is chosen as a benchmark, volume indices can be chain-linked and then applied to variables at current prices of the benchmark year. This generates volume estimates for any period of observation. Eurostat currently re-references the chain-linked series to reference years 2010. See also point 18.5.

4. Unit of measure Top

Output, gross value added and exports are measured in million units of national currency, EUR million and in volume as chain linked volumes, reference year 2010 (at 2010 exchange rates). The estimation method is described in the EGSS practical guide.

Employment is measured in full time equivalents (i.e., full time equivalent jobs).

5. Reference Period Top

The reference period used for presenting EGSS data is the calendar year.

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

The EGSS accounts are compiled and reported in accordance with 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). Since 2017, the reporting of data for EGSS has been mandatory. In the first mandatory transmission (at end-2017), Member States included data for 2014 and 2015. In the second transmission (at end-2018) they shall provide data for 2016, 2015 and 2014, in the third transmission (at end-2019) data for 2017, 2016 and 2015, and so forth.

The EEEA follow internationally agreed concepts and definitions set out in the SEEA CF 2012 and present environmental information in a way that is compatible with National Accounts.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

No data sharing arrangements are in place. Eurostat makes available all validated non-confidential data on its dissemination website for all users, including European institutions and international organisations.

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. The European Statistics Code of Practice provides further conditions that have to be respected by statistical offices in regard to statistical confidentiality (Principle 5).

Eurostat applies the confidentiality policy as described in Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics and in Principle 5 of the European Statistics Code of Practice. In case the data of a country is missing but could be derived from the EU total minus the other reporting countries, Eurostat applies secondary confidentiality and ensures the data remain confidential. Confidential data are not disclosed by Eurostat. Access to confidential data for scientific purposes may be granted (after informing and requesting authorisation from respective country) on the basis of Commission Regulation 557/2013 and Regulation 223/2009 of the European Parliament and the Council on European statistics.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Data with a confidentiality flag or an embargo date are not disseminated until the confidentiality flag is removed by a reporting country or the embargo expired. Confidential data appear as not available (":") in Eurobase, with a C flag assigned to the reporting item.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

There is no official release calendar for the EGSS data.

Data are published once the data validation procedure has been completed [in March of year n for the reference period up to (n-3)].

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 (Principle 6 on impartiality and objectivity, Principle 13 on timeliness and punctuality and Principle 15 on accessibility and clarity), EGSS data that meet the quality standards, including relevant metadata, should be made available to users.

Eurostat disseminates European statistics on its website (see section 10.3 - 'Dissemination format') 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.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Data are published at least once a year: when data for a new year are added.

The EGSS figures are disseminated once the data validation procedure has been completed [in March of year n for the reference period up to (n-3)].

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

Not applicable.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

In Eurostat, EGSS data and their analyses are published in Statistics Explained or statistical books.

For further reference:

Statistics Explained: Environmental Economy – employment and growth

Statistics Explained: Environmental Goods and Services Sector

Statistical book: Energy, transport and environment indicators — 2017 edition

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Eurostat's public online database is available free of charge on the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/data/database

Data on EGSS can be found under "Environment and energy/Environment/Environmental goods and service sector".

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable (Eurostat collects the data from the Member States at an aggregated level).

10.5. Dissemination format - other

In addition to SE articles and other publications (see section 10.2), information on EGSS may be posted using social media.

Eurostat makes use of Facebook and Twitter.

Eurostat's Facebook messages can be accessed here: EurostatStatistics

Eurostat's Twitter messages can be accessed here: @EU_Eurostat

10.6. Documentation on methodology

The following manuals provide guidance for compilation and reporting of EGSS data:

1. Environmental goods and services sector accounts — Handbook 2016 edition


2. Environmental goods and services sector accounts — Practical guide — 2016 edition


Concepts and recording rules in place for the EGSS accounts follow internationally agreed definitions set out in the SEEA CF 2012 and present environmental information in a way that is compatible with National Accounts.


Further information (including the questionnaires for the data collection) is available on Eurostat's website: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/environment/methodology.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

In the past data transmissions, Eurostat requested that metadata, including information about the scope, coverage and sources, should be submitted along with the data questionnaire for each data collection exercise. This information is examined and stored internally.

From 2017 onwards, Regulation 691/2011 obliges Member States  to provide EGSS quality reports, which describe several dimensions of the quality of countries' EGSS data reported to Eurostat.

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

The EGSS data are compiled by the Member States, EFTA and candidate countries. The quality assurance and documentation of the quality is a joint responsibility of Eurostat and the reporting countries.

Methodological guidance and operational rules for the data compilation, including the indicative compendium of environmental economic activities and environmental products seek to ensure comparability of the EGSS data across countries.

In view to verifying quality of data sources and compilation methods, Eurostat requests that EGSS quality reports, including information about the perimeter of the EGSS sector, exhaustiveness and coverage, are submitted along with the data questionnaire for each data collection exercise.

Apart from that, Eurostat has put in place an extensive validation procedure of the data received. The validation tools examine the following aspects:

- consistency of the reported data and its coherence with related statistics, mainly National Accounts, agricultural and energy statistics, other modules of monetary environmental accounts (EPEA),

- adherence to accounting rules and plausibility (breakdown by environmental domain and NACE, ratios between various EGSS variables and compiled based on EGSS and National Accounts data),

- consistency over time,

- invalid symbols,

- invalid footnotes.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

EGSS is a relatively recent data collection. First pilot studies were conducted in 2009, the module received legal cover in 2014 (Regulation 691/2011), data collection has been mandatory since 2017. As a result, improvements in the coming years are expected and vital.

At this stage, validation procedure is in place to ensure data quality (see point 11.1). Following a data reporting round, a progress report is compiled and presented to the Working Group on Monetary Environmental Statistics and Accounts (MESA WG), encompassing representatives of all Member States, and other reporting countries, Eurostat and other stakeholders. Specific quality issues, changes to the data reporting templates and methodological guidance are discussed by MESA WG, and agreed improvement measures are implemented for the subsequent reporting rounds.

Progress is again assessed once the data validation procedure has been completed by Eurostat, and discussed during the following MESA WG meeting.

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

EGSS data are used for the monitoring of gross value added and employment in the green economy by Commission services, European Environmental Agency, OECD, national governments, scientific institutes and universities, businesses, citizens.

EGSS accounts provide also data used to measure sustainable growth and to compile indicators for the monitoring of EU Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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

Completeness of the EGSS datasets varies across countries. Some data are missing because data sources and compilation methods are still being developed. Missing data are not gap-filled.

If the value of output of certain environmental activities is assumed to be negligible but precise data are not available yet, countries are encouraged to report '0' as the best estimate.

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

See point 11.1 above.

Eurostat assesses the accuracy of national data by systematically applying validation checks to all EGSS data reported by countries.

EU EGSS aggregates are estimated following the methods described in the EGSS practical guide.

13.2. Sampling error

Not applicable.

Data on EGSS constitute secondary statistics. The underlying statistical sources utilised by the Member States may involve sampling which could contain errors; however, it is the responsibility of the Member States to ensure the quality of the survey.

13.3. Non-sampling error

Not applicable.

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

Deadline for reporting EGSS data is December 31st. Eurostat disseminates the data with a delay of 3-4 months, after their validation.

14.2. Punctuality

See above.

Overall, punctuality depends on countries' data being reported within the deadline and on their quality.

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

The geographical comparability of EGSS accounts compiled by the EU Member States is ensured by the common conceptual framework and indicative compendium of environmental economic activities and environmental products, determining the perimeter of the EGSS sector. Hence, theoretically, EGSS data are consistent compilations of the environmental activities in national economies.

At present, however, EGSS accounts only for some countries comprehensively cover all types of activities, all product categories and all CEPA and CReMA domains. For many countries data on ancillary activities are missing. Also data for some resource management activities are often not available while adapted goods included in the compilation vary across countries.

The standardised approach for estimating the EU total aggregates compensates for coverage differences of EGSS data transmitted to Eurostat by Member States. The EU totals for output, gross valued added and employment cover market, non-market and ancillary activities. Due to the differences in the coverage of the EGSS data transmitted to Eurostat and the use of standardised approach for estimating the EU total aggregates, the data published for Member States are not fully comparable with the EU total estimates.

15.2. Comparability - over time

Comparability over time at country level is still limited for years prior to 2014 (the reference period not covered under Regulation 691/2011). In the recent years, many EU Member States have developed the data sources and/or methods for compilation of the EGSS data, extending the coverage of environmental activities and/or products, to ensure compliance with reporting requirements under Regulation 691/2011.

The Eurostat estimates for the EU total are comparable over the period 2000-2015 since they are obtained for all years using the same set of source data and compilation methods (see also 18.5). There are no breaks in these time series.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

The EGSS accounts have the same system boundaries as the European System of Accounts (ESA).

The Eurostat estimates for the EU total are based on a data integration approach using data collections from other Eurostat statistical domains (for details, see EGSS practical guide). This ensures a high level of coherence with these other domains, in particular with national accounts.

15.4. Coherence - internal

The data reported in the EGSS questionnaire are internally coherent (totals are equal to the sum of the breakdowns). In case the totals are not equal to the sum of the breakdowns it is because of non-availability of data at the very detailed level (only available as totals).

16. Cost and Burden Top

Not available.

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

Revision policy is set at the level of national authorities. The complete time-series can be revised due to changes in the methodology or methods of data compilation or major and benchmark revisions.

17.2. Data revision - practice

The published data should be regarded as final, unless otherwise stated. However, data revisions may occur at any time.

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

Economic environmental accounts compilation in many countries builds upon statistics that are primarily collected for other purposes (primary statistics).

Datasets 'env_ac_egss1' and 'env_ac_egss2' contain data compiled and reported by the Member States. The Member States are free to decide on the data collection methods to compile the EGSS accounts. The general options are: surveys, administrative sources, statistical estimations, and use of already existing sources or some combination of methods.

In addition to the EGSS figures reported by countries, Eurostat produces corresponding volume estimates, i.e., discounting changes in prices. The method used is described under point 18.5.

EU aggregates in datasets 'env_ac_egss1' to 'env_ac_egss3' consist of Eurostat's estimates, using methods documented in the Eurostat EGSS practical guide and publicly available data sources.

18.2. Frequency of data collection

EGSS data are reported to Eurostat on an annual basis.

The frequency and timing of the compilation of EGSS accounts are not necessary aligned with the frequency and timing of (all) primary statistics data collections that might significantly vary across the reporting countries. See also point 18.3.

18.3. Data collection

For Eurostat’s EGSS questionnaire, see http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/environment/methodology.

The Member States use a variety of data sources to compile EGSS data. Hence, the data collection is very country specific and also varies according to the nature of the data source, e.g. administrative data, statistical estimations, surveys, accounting statements.  In some cases, customised EGSS surveys have been put in place.

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

Data sources, methods and compilation techniques are country specific, but should be employed in a way compliant with the definitions and accounting rules described in the EGSS handbook.

Eurostat also produces its own estimates of EGSS data for the EU total (covering all Member States of the European Union) for the period 2000-onwards. This estimate is compiled using a standardised data integration approach that combines existing data at Member State level from various Eurostat data collections and other international and national sources (e.g. data published by the International Energy Agency) as well as the country replies to the data collections on EGSS. The method used is documented in the Eurostat EGSS practical guide.

In addition, Eurostat produces volume estimates of output and gross value added, i.e. discounting price changes, published as chain linked volumes, reference year 2010 (at 2010 exchange rates). Those estimates are based on deflators from national accounts. For each country, for each variable (gross value added, output), for each industry (NACE*64 breakdown), deflators are calculated as the ratio between the variable as chain linked volume and at current prices as available in national accounts (online dataset nama_10_a64). Those deflators from national accounts are then applied to the corresponding EGSS country, variable and NACE, at current prices. The total for each country is calculated as sum of the industries. The EU total is calculated summing countries. The deflators for gross value added are also applied to gross value added of market producers, and the deflators for output are also applied to market output. The methods to calculate chain linked volumes in national accounts are documented in the Eurostat Handbook on price and volume measures in national accounts.

18.6. Adjustment

Data are not adjusted.

19. Comment Top

Further information can be found on Eurostat's dedicated section on Environmental statistics and accounts:


Data on "Environmental Goods and Services Sector"


Select "Environment and Energy" and "Environment"

Related metadata Top

Annexes Top
Methodology (including SEEA CF 2012)