Fall in environmental costs for companies comes to a halt

Dutch companies have invested substantially in improving air, water and soil quality in recent years. As a result of environmental subsidies, environment-related costs paid by companies have not risen in the last few years. In 2009 the net costs rose again for the first time.

Investment amounts to 580 million euro

Dutch companies invested 580 million euro in measures to protect the environment in 2009. The energy sector spent most: 335 million euro. Other big spenders were the chemical industry (75 million euro), the metal industry (45 million euro) and the food industry (40 million euro).

Net environmental costs for companies

Net environmental costs for companies

Increase in environmental costs

Net environmental costs for Dutch companies amounted to 1.7 billion euro in 2009. These costs peaked in 2002, at 2.1 billion euro. Between 2002 and 2008, net environmental spending decreased every year. In 2009 they rose again for the first time, by 2 percent.

There are two reasons for the recent decrease in environmental costs. First, part of previous environmental investment was written off. Secondly, companies received substantial environment-related subsidies, especially from 2004 onwards.

In 2009 environmental costs started to rise again. The main reason for this was that companies have spent a large amount on environmental measure since 2006. The high subsidies were no longer able to prevent an increase in net spending on environmental measures.

Energy sector spends most on environment

Dutch companies have invested substantial amounts in environmental measures in the last four years. In the period 2006-2009 they spent more than 2.3 billion euro on environmental provisions. This is over 60 percent more than in  the four preceding years. In the period 2002-2005 companies spent 1.4 billion euro on the environment.

The energy sector spent most on environmental measures in the period 2006-2009: 1.3 billion euro. Other high-spending sectors were the chemical industry (315 million euro) and the petroleum industry (175 million euro).

Environmental investment by companies

Environmental investment by companies

Nearly 700 million euro for wind turbines

A large part of environmental investment in the period 2006-2009 was used for alternative energy sources. Nearly one third (690 million euro) was spent on wind turbines. This investment is very important for the reduction of air pollution. Partly because of this investment, most environment-related spending by far (1.8 billion euro) was spent on improving air quality.

Companies spent 270 million euro on improving water quality, and 75 million euro to reduce pollution by industrial waste. Finally, they invested 132 million euro in the period 2006-2009 on reducing soil pollution and 61 million euro on reducing noise pollution.

Jaap van Riessen