Environment costs of industry

What does the survey comprise?


To obtain data on environmental investment and environmental costs (costs of own environmental activities, payments and levies, and net environmental burden) for industry.

Target population

Enterprises with 10 or more employees in Industry (NACE 06-36, including Mining and quarrying NACE 06-09, Manufacturing NACE 10-33 but excluding Sheltered workshops NACE 32.99.1, and Public utilities NACE 35-36). For codification see NACE 2008 Rev.2 (Statistical classification of economic activities in the European Community).

Statistical unit


Date/year survey started

1979. The current time series start from 1985.



Publication strategy

Provisional data are published 6 months after the year under review in the publication ‘Environment costs industry; key figures' (definite data are published after 18 months). In the StatLine table 'Milieukosten en -investeringen van bedrijven’ (containing much more topics than in the publication with key figures, but only available in Dutch) definite data are published 18 months after the year under review.

How is the survey conducted?

Survey type

Source data are collected using a written survey. In business groups with relatively high environment costs all enterprises are surveyed, other business groups are sampled. Regulations (EC, Euratom) 58/1997 and 2056/2002 of the European Union require enterprises to report on their environmental facilities (environmental investments) and any other environmental costs to prevent and combat environment pollution.

Survey method

The questionnaire comprises questions on the costs incurred by enterprises in the environment domains waste, wastewater, environmental damage, soil decontamination, environmental research, environmental coordination, investments in new environment equipment installed (end-of-pipe and integrated facilities), and plans for environmental provisions coming into operation in the two years following the survey. Furthermore, not only data obtained directly from the respondents are used; some data are calculated, such as interest and depreciation of environment investments.


Enterprises with 10 or more employees in Mining and quarrying, Manufacturing (excluding Sheltered workshops), and Public utilities.

Sample size

About 4,100 enterprises with 10 or more employees.

Checking and correction methods

1.Completed data from enterprises is judged on plausibility, integrality and consistency. Untimely or non-response data is estimated.
Environmental investments and environmental costs are treated differently. The completed environmental investments are all checked on plausibility and magnitude, and coded by environmental domain, using a coding list.
The completed environmental cost items however, are, for the most part (for more than 95 percent of the enterprises) automatically edited. This happens on the basis of a consistency check of the figures reported in the questionnaire and by comparing them with edited data from the past few years; for only a small number of enterprises it is necessary to contact the respondents by phone or email to obtain the necessary information for coding and/or editing the data.
2. The database is checked for an adequate filling of each combination of business group and size class group. If necessary, the filling is improved by adding available information from previous years. The adaptations result in a definite edited database.
3. For enterprises not sampled and for non-response, an estimation is made for every business group and size class group, using an estimator. For a limited number of enterprises it is not statistically justified to use this procedure. In these cases, individual estimates are made using all available information (including data from previous years and information from the internet).
Weighting Grossing up is done per business group and size class group with an estimator: total figure = {(total number of employees in the business group) / (total number of employees in the responding enterprises)} x (total figure of the responding enterprises).

What is the quality of the data?


Over 85 percent of the enterprises yearly return a questionnaire filled in adequately. Based on the response rate, and on the basis of the results of periodical sample surveys into the reliability margins of the environmental investment of the different NACE-classes, a responsible degree of publication detail is determined.

Sequential comparability

The methods used in the statistical processing of the sample data are aimed to guarantee comparability in time of the results.
There are two StatLine publications on this subject in English: ‘Environment costs industry; key figures’, which shows data from the statistical year 2012 until the most recent year available. The other StatLine publication in English, ‘Environment costs industry 1985-2012’, shows data from 1985-2012.
From 2012 the number of topics has increased, the next changes are implemented:
- From 2012 more enterprises are included in the data, namely enterprises with 10 or more employees (instead of '20 or more employees');
- From 2012 data are divided in 9 environmental domains (they were 6 before);
- From 2012 the topic 'current costs' is no longer observed. Therefore the content of the 'net environmental costs' is changed (figures will be lower) because the current costs do not longer take part of it. Comparison with previous years until 2011 is possible by deducting the current costs (published until 2011) from the net environmental costs in previous years. Data are available in the table (only available in Dutch) 'Milieukosten en -investeringen; bedrijven met >10 werknemers, 2008-2011'. See paragraph 3.
Current costs of environmental investments are calculated until 2011 and consisted of the expenditure for operating and maintaining environmental equipment such as labour costs, energy costs and use of raw materials with deduction of saving activities.
From 2012 'current costs' is no longer observed because Statistics Netherlands has no adequate method to produce reliable data anymore.

Quality strategy

In the statistical process, checking and correction methods and accuracy studies are applied, and the response is maximised.
Results are compared with previous years and with data from other statistics published by Statistics Netherlands (e.g. environmental investment is compared with total investment by enterprises).
The number of employees and the resulting grossing up factors are checked.
Statistics Netherlands is bound by confidentiality rules in the publication of survey results. Publications may not show data from which data of individual enterprises can be derived. As a result, outcomes of different groups of enterprises are sometimes combined, or results are withheld; these cells contain an ‘.’ (confidential data).