Greenpeace Says Netflix Binge-Watching May Not Be Good For The Environment

The streaming giant accounts for a huge amount of internet traffic.
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Our video streaming addiction might be affecting the world outside our living rooms more than we thought.

Greenpeace released a report on Monday rating video streaming companies by carbon footprint, and a couple big ones, including Netflix and Hulu, didn’t fare too well.

That’s because all those “Stranger Things” and “Gilmore Girls” episodes are delivered to our phones, laptops and TVs via massive servers that use up a lot of energy, which can come from renewable sources or nonrenewable ones, like coal.

Although the company has made bold claims about its energy efficiency in the past ― stating that watching Netflix is greener than breathing ― it received an overall D grade. Hulu fared even worse with an F, while Amazon Prime received a C. Out of streaming companies included, YouTube (owned by Google, whose energy use the organization praises) earned the best grade ― an A. Greenpeace evaluated companies on factors including energy mix, commitments to renewable energy, transparency on energy sources and advocacy for clean energy.


Netflix declined to offer any comment on the report.

The company’s poor score is due in large part to its reliance on Amazon Web Services, which Greenpeace criticized for its “almost complete” lack of transparency about its energy footprint, and for operating in states such as Virginia that rely heavily on nonrenewable power.

Accounting for one-third of North American internet traffic, the streaming giant is a leader in the video sector that is poised to comprise 80 percent of internet traffic by 2020, according to Greenpeace. In a statement, the group called on major internet companies worldwide to become a force for increasing renewable energy resources, naming Netflix in particular.

“Netflix must embrace the responsibility to make sure its growth is powered by renewables, not fossil fuels and it must show its leadership here,” the report states.

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