How bad is Netflix streaming on the planet to distribute its video content, the platform is using data centers that operate 24 hours a day all over the world. Electricity consumption that increases every year as the platform attracts new subscribers. Energy-dense and polluting, the carbon footprint of players in the digital economy like Netflix or Amazon is regularly cited as a brake on the imperative to reduce pollutant emissions.
Netflix is always wary of its environmental goals, and for the first time it revealed the carbon footprint of one hour of viewing by its users. Using a tool called Dimpact, developed by researchers at the University of Bristol, Netlfix claims that one hour of broadcasting on its platform in 2020 produced less than 100gCO2e. Equivalent to using a 75W fan for 6 hours in Europe, or a 1000W air conditioner running for 40 minutes.
With nearly 40 million new subscribers in 2020, streaming on Netflix is proving its existence in the daily life of nearly 200 million users worldwide. On top of a truly digital continent, reducing carbon emissions has become for Netflix an environmental and marketing issue, an issue that players in the digital economy no longer hesitate to reach out to showcase their ambitions to reduce their environmental impact. With this study published, the platform, which has never presented emissions reduction targets, is thus trying to catch up with many of the major digital players.
In January 2020, the giant Microsoft promised to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Apple, for its part, recently detailed its plan to become carbon neutral at the same time. The social network Facebook has also pledged that there will be no net emissions from all suppliers and users and Google has pledged to work exclusively on renewable energy.
For its part, Netflix announced the publication of a large white paper in the spring presenting for the first time its quantitative targets for reducing carbon emissions.
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