The huge carbon footprint of Netflix

12 June 2023 | digital pollution

The huge carbon footprint of Netflix

 The platform of video on demand Netflix would emit every year as much as a car driving 1.8 billion kms, only with its 10 most viewed programs. The digital carbon footprint has a non-negligible impact that we need to consider to decrease our carbon emissions. 

The environmental impact of Netflix

Streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney +, etc. replace every day a little more the classic television. With its non-negligible advantages: low cost, big choice of movies and series. And at any time of the day. 

However, consuming this kind of platform isn’t environmentally speaking nothing. Indeed, in reason of its weight and the quality of videos, the storage space asked is colossal. We have seen it in an article before treating the unsuspicious impacts of digital pollution, every activity needs the diffusion of a video (film, serie, etc.), and needs electricity to power the data centers and allow wifi transmissions or high debit. 

By this fact, video on demand emits about 300 million tons of CO2 per year in the world. The carbon footprint generated is considerable. 

Besides, according to Greenpeace, the streaming would be the origin of 60% of data flows on the Internet. 

Concerning Netflix, according to ClickClean, this platform is far away from using green energy to work. 

On another hand, according to The Carbon Trust, an hour of streaming on Netflix is the equivalent of 55 grams equivalent CO2, or 300 meters driven by a city car. 

In 2021, the platform of video on demand has recorded a viewing time of 6 billion hours for the 10 best programs on 28 days after their release. Thus, this is similar to 1.8 billion kms of a car driving.

How to limit our carbon emissions on Netflix 

 It’s now obvious that streaming platforms, like Netflix of which we have taken the example above, are energy consuming. 

Even if the viewing needs energy, the construction of equipment, it is also something to take into account in the equation. 

By the way, isn’t it already possible to reduce our emissions even by using these platforms? 

The manufacturing of digital equipment

Frederic Bordage, founder of Think Tank Green It, reminds logically that most carbon emissions linked to the digital sector are generated during the manufacturing of objects: “the digital environmental footprint in France is composed of 80% of the manufacturing of equipment and 20% of the electricity production.”

The ADEME report “The hidden face of objects: towards responsible consumption” published in 2018, shows that the use of our objects represents almost not a fifth of their carbon footprint. 

Indeed, the consumer of videos also has a relative impact on most discharges. Nevertheless, we can still change some of our habits to limit our emissions part. 

Limit his carbon footprint with the video on demand

To limit our environmental impact with the streaming, we have several possibilities: 

  •     Watching a video in high quality requires a lot of bandwidth. Thus, reduce the quality will ask less energy; 
  •     Limit his consumption of content by an hour per day;
  •     Choose equipment of second hand, lengthen the duration of live of our objects;
  •     Focus on the wifi connection rather than in 4G or 5g, that consumes a lot more 


The streaming is an important source and non negligible carbon emission. Without counting the conception of digital objects which also participates in the pollution of air and soils. Nevertheless, we have some responsibilities to reduce, on our scale, this impact.

All these solutions are within our reach. Moreover, another is crucial: the eco-conception of websites and the reduction of carbon footprint of our websites. 

Don’t hesitate to join us so you can start this process in your company, and consult the page “Who are we? to learn more!

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