Marking One Year of Progress Toward Carbon Neutral
A year ago today, Comcast set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2035 in Scope 1 and 2 emissions across our global operations. To achieve this goal, we have been working diligently to invest in renewable electricity, increase network efficiency and resiliency, design sustainable products and packaging, and showcase the possibilities of a sustainable future through storytelling and production.
We have embraced sustainable innovation across the enterprise, with Sky producing the world’s first major net zero carbon football match, Xfinity earning accolades for 100% recyclable packaging, and 46 NBCUniversal film and TV shows being recognized with green seals for their sustainability efforts behind the scenes.
We are proud to share that Comcast has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 19% between 2020 and 2021. Here are some highlights from the past year that made this achievement possible.
With purchased electricity accounting for the majority of our emissions, sourcing clean, renewable electricity is the top priority for meeting our carbon neutral goal. This requires shifting to solar, wind, and other clean energy sources through contracts that bring new renewable capacity to the grid, as well as building onsite renewable capacity, and supplementing with purchases from existing clean energy projects or renewable energy certificates.
In 2021, we signed Comcast’s first large-scale renewable energy agreement to purchase 250 megawatts of solar electricity that will power approximately 12% of our current U.S. operations with clean, renewable energy beginning in 2025. It marks the first of many major investments in renewables that are already underway or on the immediate horizon.
In total, Comcast more than doubled its use of renewable electricity across our global operations from 2020 to 2021, from 254,858 megawatt-hours (MWh) to 662,544 MWh.
Sourcing renewable electricity is essential to delivering a low-carbon network. So is driving network efficiency. We’re shifting to newer, more energy-efficient technologies, facilities, and systems across the thousands of miles of our network.
From 2019 to 2021, Comcast Cable’s energy per consumed terabyte of data decreased nearly 30% due to investments in innovation, software, AI, and other virtual and physical critical infrastructure. These investments are enabling us to grow the capacity and efficiency of our network while also increasing our network’s reliability and resilience, ensuring our customers stay connected at the times they need it the most.
For example, when a record-breaking heat wave scorched the Pacific Northwest in June 2021, Comcast Cable’s West Division responded quickly, ensuring we never lost a headend or hub so our Seattle customers remained connected.
We are excited to be introducing new products and packaging that have a big impact on the world and a low impact on the planet.
In 2021, Sky Glass was introduced as the world’s first TV certified as a CarbonNeutral® product. The smart-streaming TV integrates all hardware, software, and Sky Inside content into a single device, helping customers reduce electricity use compared to running a separate TV, soundbar and Sky Q set top box.
Xfinity launched the Eco Capsule in 2021, an award-winning 100% recyclable packaging solution made from bamboo, paper, sugarcane, and soy ink, with materials that come from responsibility managed forests.
Our commitment to environmental stewardship extends to the set and screen through responsible production practices and compelling storytelling that showcases the possibilities of a sustainable future. That work begins behind the scenes, drawing on sustainable production practices to reduce the environmental impact of our media platforms.
For example, the NBCUniversal Sustainable Production Program empowers production teams to integrate environmental best practices into on-set protocols for NBCUniversal film and TV productions. Over 70 productions across our film and TV portfolio participate each year, including the 2022 Focus Feature film, “Downton Abbey: A New Era.”
Across all of Sky's productions, teams are reducing their carbon footprint as part of Sky’s commitment to be Net Zero by 2030. All U.K.-commissioned Sky productions have been certified carbon neutral since 2019, and all Sky Sports U.K. host outside broadcasts have been carbon neutral since January 2021. Sky Sports News channel has also now become a carbon neutral production.
Comcast was focused on sustainability long before we set our carbon neutral goal, but we are especially proud of the progress we made in the last year.
Looking ahead to 2022 and beyond, we will continue our sustainability efforts in these ways and more. We have the roadmap to carbon neutral, and we’re letting it guide us to a better, more sustainable future.
Sara Cronenwett is Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Environmental Sustainability at Comcast Corporation.