Environment costs of industry

What does the survey comprise?


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

Target population

Enterprises with 10 or more employees in industry (including Mining and quarrying, Manufacturing and Public utilities, but excluding Sheltered workshops and Recycling). Provisional data are based on enterprises with 20 or more employees.

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 StatLine table ‘Environment costs of industry; key figures' (definite data are published after 18 months). In the StatLine table 'Environment costs of industry’ provisional data are published 16 months after the year under review (definite data are published after 18 months).  

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 permits, 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 data on current costs, interest and depreciation of environment investments, and the ‘extra costs of low-sulphur fuel'.


Enterprises with 10 or more employees in industry (including Mining and quarrying, Manufacturing and Public utilities).

Sample size

4,600 enterprises with 10 or more employees.

Checking and correction methods

1. Environmental facilities are coded using a coding list. Data are edited based on a consistency check of the figures reported in the questionnaire and by comparing them with edited data from the year t-1; for over one third of the questionnaires this is done automatically. If necessary, respondents are contacted by phone 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. 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, 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).


Grossing up is done per business group and size class 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 return a questionnaire filled in adequately.

Sequential comparability

The StatLine table ‘Environment costs of enterprises; key figures’ contains comparable data from 1985. In the StatLine table ‘Environment costs of enterprises' comparable data are available from 1997. The definition of ‘environmental investment’ was adjusted in 1999. As a result, from that year on, part of the profitable environmental facilities is also included in the figures.

Quality strategy

After grossing up, approximately twenty standard tables are used for analysis. In this check, data are compared with previous years. Outliers are detected and if necessary corrected or reviewed as plausible. Results are compared with data from other statistics published by Statistics Netherlands (e.g. waste costs are compared with amounts of waste and 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 ‘x’ (confidential data).