The Business of Environmental Protection

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In order for the United States and other nations to meet their environmental goals, an environmental protection industry has emerged. Its major activities include pollution control, waste management, cleanup of contaminated sites, pollution prevention, and recycling.

Environmental Business International Inc. (EBI) is a private organization that offers business and market information to the environmental industry. According to EBI the U.S. environmental market was largely driven by major legislation during the 1970s and 1980s. (See Figure 1.4.) During the 1990s overall economic growth and adaptation of ISO standards were important factors driving the market. ISO standards are voluntary standards developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). They were adopted by many industries during the 1990s as a means of showing compliance with certain levels of environmental conduct. The environmental industry is in a transition phase. In the past this industry focused on remedial cleanup; in the future it will be focused more on prevention.

As shown in Figure 1.4 the environmental industry market underwent tremendous growth between 1970 and 2000. The U.S. market for pollution-control technologies and other environmental services topped $200 billion in 2000. Growth is expected to slow a little between 2000 and 2010. Table 1.2 details projected growth rates by

U.S. environmental industry market, 1970-2010

1970 1980 1990 2000 2010

projected

Notes: ISO = International Organization for Standards; NEPA=National Environmental Policy Act; CAA=Clean Air Act.

1970 1980 1990 2000 2010

projected

Notes: ISO = International Organization for Standards; NEPA=National Environmental Policy Act; CAA=Clean Air Act.

source: Andrew Paterson, "U.S. Environmental Market 1970-2010," in Environmental Market Outlook to 2010, Briefing for EPA-NACEPT, Environmental Business International, San Diego, CA, June 11, 2002

sectors within the environmental industry. Wastewater treatment works and solid waste management are the only service sectors expected to increase their market shares. Remediation, hazardous waste management, and related consulting services are expected to continue to decline.

According to EBI, developed nations represent about 90% of the global pollution-control industry; the United States alone accounts for approximately 40% of the industry. Pollution-control markets are, however, growing rapidly in other countries. Expansion in Asian markets will greatly depend on the region's economic status. If the economy worsens, it may lead governments to give the environment less priority. Also, some governments, including many in eastern Europe and Russia, have a legacy of abusive environmental practices that increases their environmental needs but a lack of funding that limits an otherwise huge market for cleanup and new technology.

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