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The environmental sector includes enterprises and institutions producing goods and services in the areas of environmental protection and resource management. Employment has surged in energy saving activities and renewable energy production. In 2015, the environmental sector was associated with 140 thousand full-time jobs.
Investments up as well
Environmental investments provide a significant stimulus to green growth, i.e. economic growth in which pressure on the environment and the use of natural resources are minimised. The share of environmental investments in total investments rose from 2.1 percent in 2000 to 3.7 percent in 2015. Although environmental investments decreased after 2008, they picked up again as from 2014.
The majority of environmental investments in 2015 were related to wastewater treatment and sewerage (34 percent). One-quarter of investments took place in nature and landscape management. Relatively substantial amounts were also invested in waste management (19 percent) and improvement of air quality (15 percent). Investments in renewable energy sources (e.g. wind turbines and solar panels) and energy saving activities rose sharply between 2008 and 2015: by 30 and 87 percent respectively. In comparison with other OECD countries, the Netherlands receives a relatively high score on environmental investments.
Dutch environmental sector an international mid-tier
Aside from employment, the value added in the environmental sector has increased as well. The contribution of value added to GDP rose from 1.9 percent in 2001 to 2.5 percent in 2015. On an international level, the Dutch environmental sector takes up mid-tier position in terms of its contribution to GDP.