Canadian businesses spent $11.8 billion on environmental protection in 2014, up nine per cent from 2012.
Two categories of expenditures—pollution abatement and control processes, and waste management and sewerage services—accounted for almost two-thirds of the total.
Among the 16 industry groups surveyed, the oil and gas extraction industry had the largest share of expenditures, spending $6.5 billion or 55 per cent of total business environmental protection expenditures. The mining and quarrying industry followed, spending $1.1 billion or nine per cent of total expenditures. The electric power generation, transmission and distribution industry spent $775 million (seven per cent of total), while the primary metals industry spent $766 million (six per cent) in 2014.
Provincially, businesses in Alberta reported the highest spending on environmental protection at $6.6 billion. This was largely due to the high concentration of the oil and gas extraction industry in the province.
Of the $11.8 billion in total environmental protection spending, operating expenses accounted for just over half the total at $6.2 billion, up nine per cent from 2012. Capital expenses also rose nine per cent from 2012 to $5.6 billion.
Capital spending on environmental protection projects in the oil and gas extraction industry totalled $3.8 billion in 2014, up 48 per cent from 2012. This amounted to slightly more than two-thirds of the total capital expenditures.
Investment in pollution abatement and control accounted for 56 per cent of total capital investment, followed by pollution prevention (15 per cent). These two activities have received the largest share of investments in each survey cycle since 2006.
As in previous years, the largest share of operating expenses was for waste management and sewerage services. In 2014, businesses spent $1.8 billion on these services, or about 30 per cent of total operating expenditures on environmental protection.
The oil and gas extraction industry reported the highest environmental protection operating expenditures at $2.7 billion or 44 per cent of the total.
Pollution prevention methods
In 2014, 47 per cent of businesses in Canada reported that they used at least one pollution prevention method, compared with 53 per cent in 2012. The top three most commonly used methods were: prevention of leaks and spills; recirculation, on-site recycling or reuse or recovery of materials or substances; and good operating practices or pollution prevention training. Environmental protection expenditures on pollution prevention declined from $1.7 billion in 2012 to $1.5 billion in 2014.
Environmental management practices
Environmental management practices are protocols that businesses adopt to reduce their impact on the environment.
In 2014, 47 per cent of businesses used at least one environmental management practice. The use of an environmental management system was the most commonly reported practice, followed by the implementation of a pollution prevention plan, and the performance of an energy audit.
Note to readers
This release presents data from the 2014 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.
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.