,In 2020, Netflix estimates its carbon footprint was 1.13 million metric tons, down slightly from 1.31 million the year prior (mostly due to delayed content productions during the Covid-19 pandemic). — AFP
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LOS ANGELES: Netflix says it has a plan to hit net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2022, with a big part of the streaming giant’s efforts aimed at operating more eco-friendly film and TV productions.
The “Net Zero + Nature” plan was outlined Tuesday in a blog post by Emma Stewart, PhD, who joined Netflix as its first sustainability officer last fall. At Netflix, “we aspire to entertain the world,” she wrote. “But that requires a habitable world to entertain.”
In 2020, Netflix estimates its carbon footprint was 1.13 million metric tons, down slightly from 1.31 million the year prior (mostly due to delayed content productions during the Covid-19 pandemic). Roughly 50% of that was generated by the physical production of Netflix films and series, including third-party projects licensed as Netflix-branded originals. Another 45% came from corporate operations (e.g. office space) and purchased goods (like marketing spend) and 5% was attributed to Internet cloud providers like Amazon Web Services and Netflix's Open Connect content delivery network.
Netflix’s Net Zero + Nature approach encompasses three steps: reducing emissions, aligning with the Paris Agreement's goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C; investing in projects that prevent carbon from entering the atmosphere; and investing in projects that remove carbon. (Netflix says its goal of reaching net zero CO2 emissions is a higher standard than “carbon neutral”, which doesn’t require reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.)
By 2030, Netflix is aiming to reduce direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1 and 2 emissions) by 45%, in line with the guidance from the Science Based Targets Initiative, a partnership among CDP, the U.N. Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
In the near term, Netflix is investing most of its efforts into cutting emissions for film and TV productions through practices that it hopes will influence the larger industry. Some of those strategies include using local crews instead of flying in teams; using electric vehicles instead of gas-powered ones; using more LED lighting; and reducing on-set diesel generators.
Stewart cited two examples of Netflix’s efforts to “decarbonise” through investment: The Lightning Creek Ranch project in Oregon, aiming to preserve North America’s largest bunchgrass prairie, and the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project in Kenya to protect the region’s dryland forest.
Note that excluded from Netflix’s estimate are greenhouse gases generated by the devices that its more than 200 members globally use to access the service as well as the equipment ISPs use to deliver the streaming content. Stewart said that’s because “Internet service providers and device manufacturers have operational control over the design and manufacturing of their equipment, so ideally account for those emissions themselves”.