By turning necessity into a virtue, German companies have long discovered that climate protection can be big business. Fresh data has revealed that the sector has posted huge revenues of late - and more is sure to come.
Germany's National Statistics Office, Destatis, reported Wednesday that revenues generated from business activities related to climate protection had seen a significant jump of late.
The Wiesbaden-based agency for the first time released relevant figures for 2011, saying domestic turnover in the sector amounted to 45.5 billion euros ($62.6 billion).
It thus by far exceeded results from the country's traditionally strong pharmaceutical industry, with only 39.8 billion euros in turnover, Destatis noted.
Solar outshines the rest
By definition, the climate protection sector embraces all business activities that go towards avoiding or reducing harmful greenhouse emissions.
According to the statistics made available on the basis of a poll among 9,000 German firms, the domestic solar industry accounted for the lion's share in the logged revenues, not least due to generous state subsidies.
Businesses focusing on higher energy efficiency, including the production and installation of heat insulation in buildings, came in second, followed by wind energy firms.
The Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) said the climate protection economy was of pivotal importance for future growth in a nation relying so much on high-tech exports. Spokesman Hermann Hüwels told EPD news agency even more business opportunities would open up once an internationally binding climate protection treaty was in place.
hg/tj (dpa, AFP, epd)