Environmental sector worth £26.3 billion to economy

17th April 2015

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Business & Industry ,
  • Waste


Andrew Mahon

Environmental products and services contributed £26.3 billion to the UK economy in 2012, equivalent to 1.6% of GDP, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

ONS has published initial estimates of the output, employment and value added of the environmental goods and services sector (EGSS) between 2010 and 2012.

It found that the sector grew by 1.5% in terms of gross value added (GVA) over that period. At the same time, overall GDP grew by 6.2%, which indicates that the growth of the EGSS was lower compared with the whole economy.

More than 357,000 people were employed full-time in the EGSS in 2012, an increase of 5.3% from 2010. The wastewater and waste management services sector was the biggest employer, with 120,600 workers, representing 33.8% of EGSS jobs. At £9.4 billion, this sector also contributed the largest amount in terms of GVA.

Water management employed the second largest number of people (28,800), followed by recycling (25,800), environmental consultancy and engineering services (25,600), and energy saving and sustainable energy systems (23,100).

ONS looked at the sector in terms of both resource management and environmental protection. Output from both activities has grown since 2010, with resource management activities (12.5%), which includes technologies, goods and services involved in managing or conserving the natural environment, growing much faster than the environmental protection sector (5.6%), which includes activities aimed at reducing, preventing or treating environmental damage.

ONS cites the increase in renewable energy, energy efficiency products, and water saving and reuse devices as the main reason for this difference.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

IEMA discusses climate and energy policy with Labour party

The Labour party’s climate policy team took part in a panel discussion with IEMA representatives at Westminster this morning, outlining what they plan to do should they win the next general election.

29th November 2023

Read more

The UK government will introduce a new bill requiring the North Sea Transition Authority to run oil and gas licensing rounds every year, the King’s Speech confirmed today.

7th November 2023

Read more

A vastly different energy system is set to emerge by the end of this decade, with almost 10 times as many electric cars on roads, and solar panels generating more electricity than the entire US power system does today.

24th October 2023

Read more

IEMA CEO Sarah Mukherjee MBE talks to Rachel Kyte about diplomacy, women’s leadership, diversity and transforming energy systems

28th September 2023

Read more

Rick Gould looks at the options for decarbonising cement

28th September 2023

Read more

The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has this week granted permission for drilling at the controversial Rosebank oil and gas field located 80 miles north-west of Shetland.

28th September 2023

Read more

Alec Tang considers how breaking down siloed thinking and embracing cross-cutting systems thinking is essential in meeting our challenges.

26th September 2023

Read more

What is PAS 2080 (aka PAS 2080:2023), and why is it so important for the environment, environmental professionals and businesses as a whole? Conor McCone CEnv, carbon manager at Skanska UK, Lara Young CEnv, global head of ESG at Cromwell Property Group, and Chris Landsburgh CEnv, technical director for decarbonisation at AECOM, explain.

8th September 2023

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close