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

It is very important to have reliable and up-to-date information concerning the economic importance of environmental protection and innovation activities in order to design environmental policy measures in an innovation-friendly way and ease their implementation. Indicators on employment effects, production, foreign trade, environmental research and patents are regularly compiled within the project family "Environmental protection as an economic factor".

The objective of the project family and the currently ongoing project is to regularly update important key indicators measuring the international competitiveness of the environmental sector in Germany. Fraunhofer ISI primarily examines the environmental innovation processes and the related technological performance using patent applications. At regular intervals, patent dynamics over time as well as patent shares and patterns of specialization in different countries are analyzed in an international comparison. The analysis distinguishes different environmental areas: waste management, recycling, wastewater treatment, air pollution control, noise abatement, environmental measurement technology, and climate protection (subdivided into renewable energies, efficient energy conversion and efficient energy use). The environmental areas considered and their associated relevant technologies are regularly modified to take account of current developments in technology, politics and statistics. Most recently, numerous extensions have been made (to include water management, environmentally-friendly goods, among others) and a more detailed breakdown of different recycling areas was introduced.


Running period

Dezember 2019 - Januar 2023
September 2015 - Oktober 2018
Oktober 2011 - November 2014



  • DIW / German Envirnoment Agency (UBA)



  • Center for Economic Policy Studies (CWS), Institute of Economic Policy, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universitaet Hannover
  • German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)