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Environmental Technologies, 2008

U.S. Market Overview

The U.S. environmental technologies (ET) industry includes companies that provide goods and services associated with environmental protection and assessment, compliance with environmental regulations, pollution control and prevention, waste management, remediation of contaminated property, design and operation of environmental infrastructure, and the delivery of environmental resources.

According to Environmental Business International, approximately 118,000 enterprises comprise the industry. In 2006, they produced $282 billion of revenues; 48 percent of that number was attributed to services, 23 percent to equipment, and 29 percent to resources. Key products and services provided by these companies include: air, water, and soil pollution control; solid and toxic waste management; pollution prevention and resource recovery; site remediation; environmental monitoring and recycling; and water treatment for industrial and municipal water use.

Small and medium-sized enterprises account for the majority of companies in the U.S. ET industry and generate approximately 22 percent of the industry’s total U.S. revenue. Large companies account for around 47 percent. Public-sector municipalities and similar entities account for the remaining 31 percent of revenue and dominate water utilities, wastewater treatment works, and solid waste management.

The U.S. ET industry has been growing moderately and during the past five to eight years has undergone significant restructuring and consolidation. This trend reflects the increasing maturity of the U.S. ET market, a general slowdown in economic and infrastructure development activity in recent years, and a somewhat weakened U.S. environmental regulatory framework.

Consolidation has taken place mostly through mergers and acquisitions and has been primarily concentrated in the water sector. Several European companies (e.g., Veolia, Suez, RWE, and Siemens) have purchased many U.S.-based water sector assets and now hold a competitive position in the United States. The U.S. waste management industry is also currently undergoing a period of consolidation, and some industry participants expect that this consolidation will also include acquisitions of U.S. companies by foreign firms.