Dutch economy greener, but not in all aspects

13/11/2013 15:00
  • Lower greenhouse gas emissions, less waste
  • Green employment rising
  • Manufacturing and energy sectors pay relatively little environmental tax
  • Netherlands is average within Europe

Statistics Netherlands’ Green growth in the Netherlands 2012  is published today. This report presents an overview of the state of green growth in the Netherlands in terms of 33 indicators. In the period 2000-2012, 18 of these indicators developed positively, and 7 unfavourably. In a European perspective, the Netherlands is average in terms of green growth. The first copy of the publication was presented to the State Secretary for Infrastructure and the environment, Ms Mansveld.

Economic activity in the Netherlands is harming the environment less and less. Emissions of greenhouse gases into the air, heavy metals into water, and the total volume of generated waste have all decreased since 2000. This is partly the result of the economic climate in the Netherlands. The fall in manufacturing production in recent years in particular has resulted in less waste, emissions and pollution. Compared with other countries in the EU and OECD, the Netherlands has an average position in terms of environmental efficiency. 

The indicator scores for quality of the environment and natural resources are relatively low for the Netherlands. The  quality of Dutch surface water is the worst in the EU, populations of  various waders are declining, and every year natural areas are given over to cultivation. The reduction in urban exposure to particulates is a bright spot, however. 

Economic opportunities arising from green growth have increased in recent years, Employment at companies making ‘green’ products and providing ‘green’ services, has risen since 2000. Investment in the environment has also increased, just as the number of patent applications by ‘green’ companies. Applications by ‘green’ companies account for an increasing share of the total number of patent applications in the Netherlands.

Compared with other countries, the Netherlands spends a relatively large amount on environmental protection and has relatively high energy tax rates, among other things in the shape of excise on energy and gas. Revenues from environmental taxes have accounted  for less and less of total tax revenues in recent years. Manufacturing and energy companies pay on average 12 percent of energy taxes, while they account for more than 50 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. More than half of energy taxes are paid by households.