Environmental Protection as an Economic Factor: Analysis of the Economic Significance of Environmental Protection by Up-dating Important Indicators

The economic importance of environmental protection has significantly increased in recent years. Reliable and up-to-date information about the economic significance of environmental protection is of great importance for the political enforceability and design of environmental policy measures. Such analyses are presently being carried out in parallel, based on two different demarcations. On the one hand, the “classical“ environmental industries (waste management/recycling, waste treatment, air pollution, noise control, environmental monitoring) and selected climate-protection technologies are considered. On the other hand, under the heading “green future markets“ more broadly defined climate-protection technologies and also the “green“ transformation of classical branches of industry are investigated. Important information on the economic impacts of environmental policy are, in both concepts, besides empirical results on the effects of environmental protection on employment, also indicators to judge the competitiveness and innovation capability of the German environmental and climate protection industry.

The aim of the research project is on the one hand the presentation and discussion of the differences in the demarcation concepts for various environmental technology fields. The question is how the approaches related to “Environmental Protection as an Economic Factor” differ from those used under the heading "green future markets" with regard to their technical and economic characteristics and what the resulting consequences will be, for instance with regard to the interpretation of the results. Indicators are derived for the international competitiveness of the "classical" environmental industries and the area of climate protection. As in the preceding project, NIW analyzes Germany's production potential and foreign trade position. Fraunhofer ISI examines the patent applications. The patent dynamic over time, patent shares and specialization patterns are considered in this context. The surveys are planned for this autumn (2012) and the middle of 2014.


Running period

October 2011 - November 2014


  • NIW / UBA


  • Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (DIW Berlin)

  • Niedersächsisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung e. V. NIW