Emission intensity of manufacturing industries in Europe (WREI 003) - Assessment published Feb 2014
Water (Primary topic)
Typology: Efficiency indicator (Type C - Are we improving?)
- WREI 003
Key policy question: Is emission to water of nutrients and heavy metals from manufacturing decoupling from economic growth?
Absolute decoupling of manufacturing industries ´nutrient emissions from the GVA is observed in 9 countries (Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Hungary, Netherland, Spain and Portugal). Decrease in emission coupled with decrease in GVA occurred in United Kingdom, France, Italy and Sweden. However in all cases the rate of emission decrease was greater than the one of GVA. Increase of nutrient emission despite drop in gross value added was observed in Belgium.
The developments arise from different absolute levels of emission intensities and depend on no major changes in the data coverage during the period within the countries, such as including more facilities in the latest year reporting despite already existing in earliest year. It should be noted that as some industrial emissions may vary considerable from year to year, the comparison of two selected years, only, may be subject to variations not being representative for a consistent trend.
Absolute decoupling of manufacturing industries ´heavy metals emissions from the GVA is observed again in 10 countries (Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Netherland, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Portugal). Decrease in emission coupled with decrease in GVA occurred in United Kingdom, France, Italy, Belgium and Sweden. In all cases the rate of emission decrease was greater than the one of GVA. Increase of emission despite drop in GVA was observed in Finland.
Given the multiple factors that affect both sectoral GVA and the pollution pressure originating from manufacturing, it is complicated to draw direct relationships between these two variables. Some key descriptors which could aid in explaining the behaviour of these are the structure of the sector (e.g., facility size distribution, production technology, relative proportion reported as E-PRTR releases) , the socioeconomic characteristics (e.g. salary levels) of the area and the policy measures in place (e.g., treatment requirements). However, it must be noted that the specific context of each country could result in varying combinations of the mentioned factors and their aggregate effects.
Range of the values of emission intensity of heavy metals and nutrients vary considerably across Europe. This can reflect different profiles to which degree the reported releases to water in E-PRTR dominate the GVA in the country from same industries, either due to company size (specific macroeconomic factors) or to transfers via urban wastewater treatment plants (not included). Therefore, it is not advisable to draw strong conclusions from the EU wide comparison of the absolute emission intensity values, but rather focus on the assessment of national trends in emission intensity.
The lowest value (2010) of nutrient emission intensity is 0,1 kg nutrients equivalent /million EURO GVA, while the highest value is 66 kg nutrients eq./mio € GVA. (Average 2010nutrient emission intensity being about 10 kg nutrients equivalent/million EURO GVA). Belgium, Bulgaria and Norway appear with values > 20 kg nutrients eq./mio € GVA, whereas very low values < 5 kg nutrients eq./mio € GVAappear for Austria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Ireland and Italy.
Similarly 2010-values of emission intensity of heavy metals range between 0,4 and 782 kg heavy metals eq./million EURO GVA. (Average 2010-heavy metals emission intensity being 135 kg heavy metals eq./mio € GVA). The highest values ( > 100 kg heavy metals eq./mio € GVA) were recorded for Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and Slovakia whereas Denmark Greece, Germany and Switzerland appear with values lower than 20 kg heavy metals eq./mio € GVA. Decrease in emission intensity of nutrients occurred in 16 out of 22 countries assessed over the period 2004-2010. Heavy metals emission intensity decreased in 16 out of 24 countries assessed over the same period. Wide variety of the emission intensity across Europe could be explained by different levels of implementation and enforcement of the EU policy regarding emissions to water (reflected in the number of facilities reported over the period 2004-2009/2010) and also by country differences as for the main manufacturing sectors contributing to the country´s economy.
Specific policy question: Is emission to water of organic matter from chemical industry in water decoupling from economic growth?
Values of the total organic carbon emission intensity of chemical industries in Europe range from 15 to 4000 kg of TOC /mio € GVA. The average 2009 value is 435 kg of TOC /mio € GVA. Rather high emission intensity of Slovakia is probably caused by much lower value of GVA generated by chemical industry in 2009, as compared to other European states. Absolute decoupling of TOC emissions from the GVA was observed in 7 countries (Czech republic, Denmark, Spain, Greece, Finland, France, Norway).
Specific policy question: Is emission to water of heavy metals from metal processing industry in water decoupling from economic growth?
Values of the heavy metals emission intensity of metal processing industries in Europe range from 70 to 5650 kg of heavy metals eq. /mio € GVA. The average 2009 value is 766 kg of heavy metals eq. /mio € GVA. Absolute decoupling of heavy metals equivalents emissions from the GVA was observed in Netherland, Greece, Spain, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia. Relatively high value of emission intensity of Belgium (5652 kg eq. /mio € GVA) needs to be reviewed in terms of quality of data reported under EPRTR.
Specific policy question: Is emission to water of nutrients from food industry in water decoupling from economic growth?
Values of the total nutrient emission intensity of food industries in Europe range from 1,3 to 12,8 kg of nutrient eq. /mio € GVA.. The average 2009 value is 4,68 kg of nutrient eq. /mio € GVA. Absolute decoupling of nutrients emissions from the GVA was observed in Italy and Netherlands.
The European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR), Member States reporting under Article 7 of Regulation (EC) No 166/2006
provided by Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV)
National Accounts by 38 branches - aggregates at current prices
provided by Eurostat - Statistical Office of the European Union (ESTAT)
More information about this indicator
See this indicator specification for more details.
Contacts and ownership
EEA Contact InfoBo Jacobsen
EEA Management Plan2012 1.4.2 (note: EEA internal system)
Frequency of updates
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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