Social Impact23 September 2021
It’s been six months since we announced our Net Zero + Nature commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2022, and every year afterwards. While achieving net zero is a journey, we are moving quickly to make the changes required, while also laying the groundwork to minimize our long-term impact up to and beyond 2030.
Today, we are sharing key updates on our internal emissions reductions and other aspects of our program. We are:
Reducing electricity consumption by conducting energy efficiency audits, identifying opportunities for energy and cost savings across our offices and facilities in the US - which is where we use the most electricity;
Decarbonizing our electricity supply by enrolling all our offices and facilities in 100% clean energy programs where available;
Piloting new zero-carbon power technology to decarbonize our productions, including green hydrogen fuel cells in the UK (starting with Bridgerton Season 2) and mobile batteries in the UK, Canada, and the US;
Preserving, restoring, and protecting natural ecosystems by vetting and buying high quality carbon credits from critical landscapes; and
Engaging with leading standard-setting bodies and have received third-party validation of our target of 46% reduction by 2030 below 2019 levels.
Our Commitment to Net Zero + Nature
In March of this year, we committed to reducing our emissions to be in line with the latest climate science, ensuring our internal reductions align with a trajectory of no more than 1.5°C of warming. Our main sources of internal emissions from our productions, corporate offices, travel, and streaming can be boiled down to two basic categories: fuel we burn and electricity we consume. This includes electricity generated by fossil fuels, as well as the direct combustion of fossil fuels to heat buildings, on-set power generators, and for transportation. To achieve our internal reductions, we’re focused on solutions most relevant to the entertainment industry using the strategy “Optimize, Electrify, Decarbonize.”
Optimize, Electrify, Decarbonize
First, we optimize by focusing on efficiency, reducing the amount of electricity that we use in both our production work and also in our offices. In the past six months, we kicked off energy efficiency audits across facilities in the US —where our biggest loads are —to identify opportunities for energy and cost savings.
Next, we electrify the equipment that uses the most liquid fuels, like vehicles, buildings and generators. For instance, where we can, we use electric motors because they’re more efficient and electricity is more easily decarbonized.
Then, for emissions sources where optimization and electrification aren’t possible, we decarbonize what’s left. This means matching renewable electricity to any grid-connected power that isn’t carbon-free and shifting to lower-carbon or zero-carbon fuel options when connecting to the grid isn’t possible.
Building a Bridge to Pollution-Free Production
For Bridgerton Season 2, we wanted to reduce the production’s emissions as well as its reliance on diesel generators, which are common in TV and film production. First, we increased the amount of grid power available at the production’s stages and enrolled in a local renewable energy program. Then, at a location where grid power wasn’t available, we piloted a GeoPura emission-free, green hydrogen power unit in place of multiple diesel generators. While the by-products of a diesel generator are carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other types of air pollution, the by-product of a GeoPura power unit is pure water. The hydrogen power unit provided so much reliable power that our production team began switching off additional diesel generators to use the power generated by the GeoPura unit instead. In addition to providing clean energy and drinkable water, the hydrogen unit had the added bonus of being silent, which is helpful for filming. Encouraged by these results, we will expand this pilot to more productions in the UK in 2022.
Minimizing Our Office Carbon Footprint
Because we lease almost all of our facilities, we work with our landlords to optimize, electrify, and decarbonize the spaces we occupy. In 2019, electricity in our offices accounted for approximately 12% of our carbon footprint. While this isn’t a major source of our emissions, we want to minimize its impact over time and deliver healthier and safer workplaces.
One of our newer and LEED Gold-certified offices in Hollywood is the first large commercial building in Los Angeles with building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV). This means the building’s facade can create electricity from solar energy, which is then used to help power the building and the more than 70 onsite EV chargers that are available to our employees and visitors. Additionally, the building incorporates energy efficient features throughout, resulting in a more than 13% energy savings above California’s Title 24 energy code, among the most stringent in the nation.
Strategies like these complement programs Netflix already has in place that give employees lower-carbon ways to commute, such as shuttles, complimentary public transit passes, subsidized vanpools, and free electric vehicle charging whenever it’s available. We also provide bike storage, showers, and lockers onsite.
Decarbonizing Air Travel
Film and TV production will always require some amount of air travel. We take responsibility for air travel emissions from our own employees’ business travel and from cast and crew who travel for any Netflix-branded film or TV production. This means air travel accounts for roughly 15% of our carbon footprint.
In April, we co-founded the Sustainability Aviation Buyers Alliance to expand the availability of sustainable aviation fuel. Also part of the alliance are the Environmental Defense Fund, Rocky Mountain Institute, Boeing, Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, and Salesforce. By accelerating the use and bringing down the costs of sustainable aviation fuel, we’ll be able to reduce aviation emissions at the scale and pace that climate science demands.
Offset, Advocate, and Communicate
While we work to reduce our emissions across the company, we use carbon credits to address the impact of our current operations on the climate. We invest in projects that remove carbon and prevent it from entering the atmosphere via the voluntary carbon markets. These markets provide critical funding to projects that deliver substantial climate change benefits while preserving, restoring and protecting critical ecosystems. These projects also advance biodiversity, support local livelihoods, and build climate resilience. Because not all carbon credit projects meet our quality standards, evaluating them rigorously is important. We’ve outlined our due diligence and vetting process, and the portfolio of nature-based reduction and removal credits we chose for our 2020 footprint here.
In the past six months, we’ve delivered on our March 2021 commitment to America is All In supporting:
an open letter to G20 governments by We Mean Business about strengthening national climate targets; and
Ceres and the Environmental Defense Fund in their efforts to get the US Congress to pass a Clean Electricity Performance Program.
In addition to issuing our public Environmental, Social & Governance Report in March, this July we also responded to the CDP investor questionnaire, joining thousands of other reporting companies. CDP will make our submission available to investors upon request this year, and available publicly next year.
These are our first steps in what we know is a long but worthwhile journey to decarbonize our operations and our industry, and we look forward to sharing more of our progress in the future.
This article was first published 23 September 2021 and updated on 7 March 2023. We have updated our target percentage to be more specific to our science-based target for Scope 1 and 2 emissions and consistency throughout the report.