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Netflix aims for net zero carbon footprint by 2022

Netflix's carbon footprint in 2020 was 1.1 million metric tons, about half of which was generated by physical production of the streamer's TV shows and films

Netflix intends to rework a number of its strategies to help in the fight against climate change, announcing that by the end of 2022 it will achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The plan, dubbed “Net Zero + Nature,” was crafted by Emma Stewart, Ph.D., Netflix’s sustainability officer.

In a blog post announcing the plan, Stewart detailed that Netflix’s carbon footprint in 2020 was 1.1 million metric tons. About half of that was generated by physical production of Netflix’s TV shows and films, including those licensed by Netflix. The remainder comes from Netflix’s corporate operations and purchased goods, as well as using cloud providers like AWS and Open Connect content delivery network to stream the service.

While Netflix does not include the streaming done by its subscribers as part of its footprint, it is part of a research effort, DIMPACT, that has found that one hour of streaming on Netflix in 2020 was under 100gCO2e, or the equivalent of driving a petrol-powered passenger vehicle a quarter of a mile. Netflix says this is consistent with its peers.

Stewart outlined the Net Zero + Nature plan in three steps:

  • Step One: Reduce our Emissions—Netflix will align with the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal to limit global warming to 1.5-degree Celsius by reducing its internal emissions. Netflix also plans to reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 45 per cent by 2030.
  • Step Two: Retain Existing Carbon Storage—Netflix will fully neutralise emissions it can’t avoid internally, including Scope 3 emissions, by the end of 2021. This will be done by investing in projects that prevent carbon from entering the atmosphere, like conserving at-risk natural areas like tropical forests.
  • Step Three: Remove Carbon from the Atmosphere—By year-end 2022, Netflix says it will incorporate investment in the regeneration of critical natural ecosystems to achieve net zero. This will include projects like restoring grasslands, mangroves and healthy soils, capture and store carbon, as well as other benefits.