Indicator: Environmental protection goods

A graph shows the value of environmental protection goods produced between 2009 and 2013 as well as the share of these goods in the overall industrial production.Click to enlarge
Production of potential environmental protection goods
Source: Gehrke et al. Figure as PDF

Table of Contents


At a glance

  • Approximately 6 % of goods produced in Germany can be used to protect the environment, e.g. for noise protection or climate mitigation.
  • In 2013, potential environmental protection goods worth nearly 82 billion euros were produced in Germany.
  • The production of environmental protection goods has been declining since 2012. Its share in overall industrial production has also been falling.

Environmental importance

Environmental protection has been established in Germany as an important economic factor. The environmental economy includes waste management and recycling, water conservation and wastewater treatment, air quality control, noise abatement, renewable energy sources, environmentally friendly products, efficient use of energy, climate protection and measurement and control technology.

Global demand is growing for environmental protection and climate change mitigation technologies as well as products that are environmentally friendly and help to save resources. This will enhance the economic importance of environmental protection in the future. German companies have long been established in producing environmental protection goods on the global market, but competitive pressure is growing. The production of potential environmental protection goods is one of the indicators for assessing competitiveness of the German environmental protection sector and the general importance of environmental protection for the economy.


Assessing the development

In 2013, companies produced goods worth nearly 82 billion euros, which can be used for environmental protection purposes. This is 6 % of the overall German industrial production. Climate protection goods make up the major share or 40 % of the entire environmental protection goods production. These also include installations for the generation of renewable energy. Next in line are the areas water conservation and wastewater treatment, waste management, air quality control, measurement and control technology and noise abatement.

After production soared by 25 % between 2009 and 2011, the trend has reversed since then. Production volume fell by 3.9 % between 2011 and 2013. The decline is mainly due to lower production rates in climate protection goods, in particular solar energy installations. Further details can be found in a publication by Gehrke at al. (2016). Strong competition, especially from China, is responsible. Production of air quality control goods also fell according to the latest findings, while other sectors continue to see a slight increase.



The concept of potential environmental protection goods was developed in the 1990s and has been further refined through conventions drawn up by various research institutions in cooperation with Germany’s Federal Statistical Office. The concept is based on a list of goods that (can) help to protect the environment. Because it uses standard international goods classifications, this concept lends itself to international competitiveness comparisons. For further information, see Gehrke et al. (2015).

More detailed information: 'Umweltwirtschaft und grüne Zukunftsmärkte' (in German only).