Environmental investment

In 2015 the share of Dutch investment in environmental protection in total investment, was 73 percent higher than in 2000: it increased from 2.1 percent to 3.7 percent of total investment. Environmental investment increased significantly in 2014 and 2015 in particular.

Environmental investment (gross fixed capital) is investment in capital goods intended to protect, restore or improve the environment. It includes investment by specialist producers (environmental services industry), industry (NACE 10-36) and government. It does not include investment in renewable energy and energy saving.

The issue

Environmental investment is a key factor in realising a greener growth path. Cleaner technologies make production processes less harmful for the environment. In addition, production of environmental technologies by specialised producers can contribute to economic growth.


In 2015 total environmental investment amounted to 3.5 billion euros by government and 1.4 billion euros by industry. This is much higher than in 2000 when, in current prices, government invested 1.4 billion euros and industry 0.8 billion euros.. In 2015 most investment was related to waste water treatment and sewerage (34 percent), followed by nature and landscape preservation (25 percent), waste management (19 percent) and air quality improvement (15 percent). Environmental investment increased by 56 percent between 2013 and 2015. Investment in nature and landscape preservation was particularly high in 2015 as the government purchased land for nature conservation. Companies have also invested significantly more in the past three years to improve air quality.

International comparison

The Netherlands has a relatively high position with regard to the percentage of environmental investment in total investment. This position has not changed much since 2000. In some east European countries percentages are higher, as they are still trying to catch up in terms of environmental efficiency in their manufacturing and environmental services industries.. The Netherlands ranks above neighbouring countries Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom.