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Getting a Handle on the Environmental Goods and Services Industry

In January 2012 the Business Council published an Environment and Energy Bulletin piece entitled, How Big (And What Is) the Green Economy? The Challenge of Counting “Green Jobs” in BC.  The overall conclusion was that somewhere in the vicinity of 4% of all jobs in BC might be classified as “green,” with the actual quantum likely closer to 3% given various definitional and measurement challenges. The paper did not seek to estimate the percentage of total economic activity attributable to the production of environmental goods and services. In a later Business Council paper, Should We “Green” Gross Domestic Product?, we discussed the current system for tracking economic performance (i.e., the System of National Accounts, the SNA) and its evolution over time to capture activities related to sustainability. Both papers were concerned with the criteria and tools that can shed light on how green jobs and other environment-related activities contribute to the economy. This paper is another piece in the exploration of that topic. Here, we adopt a somewhat narrower focus by looking at “the environmental goods and services producing sector” of the economy.