Monday, December 11, 2006

Netflix is a "green company"

WorldChanging: Tools, Models and Ideas for Building a Bright Green Future: What Netflix Tells Us About a Bright Green Future
"Netflix is a product-service system for DVDs. By signing up for the service, you are able to rent movies you want to see, without having to own them. So far, so good, and much like a traditional video store. However, Netflix goes one better on sustainability terms, by letting users order movies online and delivering the DVDs via the regular postal mail. Now I'm sure they made the decision to do this based entirely on cost savings, but as it turns out, there are real sustainability savings involved as well: by not having a store to which I drive to get the videos, the planet is spared the impacts of a retail outlet, as well as all those trips back and forth, each of which uses (though I haven't run the numbers, I'm sure this is true) far more fuel and generates far more pollution than do the daily rounds of the local mail carrier (who is, after all, making the trip anyway)."


  1. Early this year, I calculated it as 2.3M tons of CO2 for 2006.


  2. By the way, that's 800,000 gallons, or nearly 20,000 barrels of gasoline saved.

    Assumptions: 4 mile round trip x 2 per movie. 15mpg. [Wikipedia ( lists 2004 overall average fuel economy as 20.8. Earlier I guessed 15, and justify a relatively lower mpg because at least the movie-return trip is often a cold start. My experiments show that a cold start costs about 1/8 to 1/2 a gallon of gasoline just to warm up the engine, plus your normal long-distance mileage. If you get 20mpg on a long trip, a cold start and 4 mile trip uses perhaps 1/4 gal + 4/20 gal = .45 gals, for 9 mpg.]

  3. Ladies and Gentlemen, Neil Hunt, Chief Product Officer for Netflix. Very cool of you to visit and comment on my blog!

    Thank you very much for those interesting figures.