Environmental protection expenditures by businesses, 2010

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Canadian businesses reported that they spent $9.5 billion on environmental protection in 2010, a 9% increase from 2008.

The two dominant categories (pollution abatement and control processes, and waste management and sewerage services) accounted for just over half the total.

Among 16 industry groups surveyed, the oil and gas extraction industry reported the highest spending to protect the environment, $4.0 billion or 42% of the total. The electric power generation, transmission and distribution industry followed, spending just under $1.2 billion, or 12% of these expenditures.

Provincially, businesses in Alberta reported the highest spending on environmental protection, just under $4.2 billion. This was largely a result of the high concentration of the oil and gas extraction industry in the province.

Of the $9.5 billion in total spending, capital expenses accounted for $4.2 billion, up 10% from 2008, while operating expenses accounted for $5.3 billion, up 8%.

Investment in pollution abatement and control accounted for 35% of total capital investment, followed by pollution prevention, which represented 26%. These two activities also received the largest share of investments in 2006 and 2008.

Capital investment for environmental protection was highest for the oil and gas extraction industry at $2.0 billion in 2010, up 23% from 2008. This accounted for 48% of the total.

As in previous years, the largest share of operating expenses was for waste management and sewerage services. In 2010, businesses spent $1.6 billion on these services, representing 29% of total operating expenditures for environmental protection.

The oil and gas extraction industry reported the highest operating expenditures for environmental protection, nearly $2 billion, or 37% of the total.

In 2010, the survey asked businesses for the first time to report their capital investments in renewable energy technologies. Businesses reported that these investments amounted to $455 million. Investment was highest in biomass energy technologies, which accounted for over three-quarters of the total.

In addition, businesses were asked for the first time if they had conducted a greenhouse gas emissions inventory. About 10% of businesses surveyed reported that they had.

Note to readers

This release presents data from the 2010 Survey of Environmental Protection Expenditures, which is a biennial survey of just over 3 500 establishments in selected primary industries and in the manufacturing sector.

The survey underwent a thorough redesign for the 2006 reference year to improve the overall methodology and data quality for smaller businesses. The redesign also facilitated the production of data quality indicators. Because of the redesign, comparisons with survey estimates for years prior to 2006 are not recommended.

Measures of industrial spending on environmental protection are restricted to spending made in response to current or anticipated regulations, conventions or voluntary agreements. Measures of spending on renewable energy technologies include all such expenditures, regardless of whether they were made in response to regulations or for another reason.

Available without charge in CANSIM: tables CANSIM table153-0052 to 153-0056.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number survey number1903.

The publication Environmental Protection Expenditures in the Business Sector, 2010 (Catalogue number16F0006X) is now available. From the Key resource module of our website under Publications, choose All subjects, then Environment.

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; infostats@statcan.gc.ca).

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Sheri Vermette (613-951-0301; sheri.vermette@statcan.gc.ca), Environment Accounts and Statistics Division.