Enviro Fact Sheet

Capital expenditures on environmental protection, 2012

Capital expenditures on environmental protection, 2012

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Businesses in Canada increased their investment in environmental protection, reporting $5.3 billion in capital expenditures for environmental protection in 2012, an increase of 19% from 2010 (Chart 1), continuing an upward trend that started in 2008 (Chart 2).  The largest share of environmental protection capital investments were for pollution abatement and control (45%) followed by pollution prevention (20%).  These two activities have received the largest share of investments in each survey cycle since 2006.

By category of capital expenditure, pollution abatement and control processes (end-of-pipe) showed the largest change in capital investment at a 38% increase from 2010 to 2012 (from $1.7 billion to $2.4 billion), while investment in pollution prevention activities decreased by 3% over the same period (from $1.1 billion to $1.0 billion).

Increased capital investment can also be seen in the waste management and sewerage category.  Investment in all other environmental protection expenditure categories (with the exception of those investments classified in the “environmental assessments and audits” and “other” categories) decreased from 2010 to 2012.

Capital spending by industry

Capital investments in environmental protection by the oil and gas extraction industry totalled $2.6 billion in 2012, an increase of 13% from 2010. This industry was responsible for the highest amount of capital expenditure from 2006 to 2012. Businesses in the oil and gas extraction industry increased their investments in pollution abatement and control processes, pollution prevention processes, waste management and sewerage, and other activities from 2010 to 2012.

The mining and quarrying industry also reported increased investments in environmental protection activities for 2012 compared to 2010.  This industry directed most of its investments to pollution abatement and control processes (end-of-pipe) (60%).  This was largely due to sizeable exploration activities in 2012.

Chart 1 Business capital expenditures on environmental protection, 2010-2012

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Chart 2 Total business capital expenditures on environmental protection, 2006-2012

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Note to readers

Waste management and sewerage services

Waste is a material that is unwanted by its producer. The unwanted materials may be by-products of a production process - fly ash from a furnace, for example. Alternatively they might be products, the inherent value of which has been consumed from the perspective of the current holder - for example, a newspaper that has been read, a package that has been opened and emptied of its contents or an apple eaten to the core are all similar insofar as they have lost their original inherent value from the consumer’s perspective.

Pollution abatement and control (end-of-pipe) processes

Pollution abatement and control (end-of-pipe processes) can be described as equipment and processes that treat pollution and wastes after they have been created. Examples of these types of equipment or processes include scrubbers at the end of emission stacks, biological and chemical systems for treating water (such as a water treatment plant), filtration systems, cyclones or other barrier systems.

Pollution prevention

Pollution prevention is the use of technologies, equipment, or processes that reduce or eliminate pollution and/or waste at the source - i.e., before the pollution or waste is created - as opposed to an end-of-pipe process. Examples include the installation of more efficient processes that consume less energy or inputs, the redesign or reformulation of the production process to reduce pollution or emissions, reuse, recirculation or recycling of materials on-site (does not include materials sent off-site for recycling).

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About the Survey of Environmental Protection Expenditures

This release presents data from the 2012 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 releases estimates of both capital and operating expenditures made by Canadian businesses to protect the environment.

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.

The survey underwent a redesign for the 2006 reference year. For this reason, comparisons with survey estimates for years prior to 2006 are not recommended.

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