Netflix will aim to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2022, as part of the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit global warming at no more than a 1.5℃ increase. If warming continues at its current rate, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) predicts that it will hit 1.5℃ between 2030 and 2052.

Netflix made the announcement last Tuesday (30/03), in a blogpost by their Sustainability Officer, Emma Stewart. Ph.D. Stewart assumed the role in October of last year. Recalling her work studying ecosystems in countries such as Kenya, Brazil and Mexico, she writes: “People recounted their struggle to survive as humanity undermines these systems one-by-one — stories that profoundly impacted my thinking.”

The “Net-Zero and Nature” plan is a three-tiered approach. Netflix aims to first reduce internal emissions, then retain existing carbon storage through investment in conservation, and finally remove carbon from the atmosphere by investing in the restoration of natural ecosystems. Stewart provides examples of steps already taken towards meeting the third goal. The Lightning Creek Ranch project in Oregon is helping to preserve North America’s largest bunchgrass prairie, while the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project in Kenya protects the dryland forest in the region.

This plan initially focuses on cutting direct (Scope 1) and indirect (Scope 2) emissions by 45% by 2030, following guidelines set out by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). This includes all owned Netflix-branded content production, whether Netflix manages the production directly (such as The Midnight Sky), through a third-party production company (such as Our Planet and You vs. Wild), as well as all content that is Netflix-branded (My Octopus Teacher).

Notably, Netflix have not included emissions generated from the devices used by their viewers. They have, however, joined a project called DIMPACT, led by researchers at the University of Bristol, which “aims to develop an online tool that takes the complexity out of calculating the carbon emissions of the downstream value chain of digital media content.” DIMPACT has calculated one hour of streaming on Netflix in 2020 to be equivalent to driving a gas-powered passenger vehicle 400 meters.


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Netflix has stated their pre-existing engagement with the climate crisis and has cited their commitment to telling stories of sustainability and the environment on their platform. According to them, “In 2020, 160 million households around the world chose to watch at least one story on Netflix that helped viewers better understand the issues and highlight hopeful solutions around sustainability, or both.”

Netflix outlines their plans in a YouTube video

Their actual commitment to sustainability will be measured by how far they succeed in meeting these ambitious targets. They do seem to be taking a step in the right direction, however. For Christiana Figueres, co-architect of the UN Paris Agreement and co-founder of Global Optimism, “Netflix’s Sustainability Strategy is music to our ears.”