Zum goes carbon neutral, leads student transportation toward an electric future

Zūm, the leader in modern student transportation today announced it is offsetting 100% of the emissions for its entire fleet in 2021, leading the industry toward an electric future. On the road to transitioning its fleet to electric vehicles (EV) by 2025, Zum is enabling school districts to start meeting their sustainability goals right away. As schools around the country are gearing up for students, faculty and staff to return to the classroom, Zum’s investment takes aim at the 8.4 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) — the equivalent to over 1 million homes’ annual energy use — that diesel school buses emit annually.

This investment is the company’s latest step in the Zum Net Zero initiative, a program rooted in creating a safer, healthier, more sustainable planet. Zum also recently announced a partnership with AutoGrid to deploy 10,000 electric school buses to create a gigawatt of flexible capacity for the electric grid. The company’s technology and business model also contribute to reducing its carbon footprint by optimizing routes, reducing the total number of assets on the road and overall miles driven, and better utilizing its fleet instead of having assets sit idle. Zum is accelerating its commitment by getting to carbon neutral right away, as part of its movement toward zero-emission student transportation.

“We plan for Zum’s entire fleet to be 100% EV by 2025, but we can’t wait for technology to catch up to our ambitions to drive sustainable change,” said Ritu Narayan, CEO and founder of Zum. “Transportation is the largest source of carbon emissions in the United States, and we have an opportunity to make an immediate positive impact on society and provide students with carbon neutral rides. We invite other transportation companies to join us, so we can increase this impact industry-wide as quickly as possible.”

More than 90% of the country’s 500,000 school buses run on diesel engines today, which have harmful environmental and health consequences. They emit pollution that disproportionately impacts children whose lungs are not yet fully developed and poorer communities, leading to increased school absenteeism. A new UN report shows we’re in a critical moment now, as scientists say we’ll cross a crucial temperature threshold as early as 2030 — a decade sooner than previously thought — unless deep reductions in greenhouse gases happen right away. The Biden Administration’s infrastructure bill and support for a clean future further accelerates this change, putting a spotlight on the potential for a better system.

“We’re thrilled to be working with a partner like Zum that is not only providing a modern student transportation service for our district, but is also committed to making the world a healthier place for San Francisco Unified students, drivers, families and community,” said Faauuga Moliga, Vice President of San Francisco Unified School District School Board. “Zum, by making all rides carbon neutral, is making a real difference starting now, while continuing to work on the zero emission future as the EV technology advances — and that’s the type of commitment our planet and communities need from student transportation providers.”

As part of this investment, Zum is working with 3Degrees, a firm that helps organizations achieve renewable energy and decarbonization goals, to support verified emissions reductions projects.  Those projects include the Winston Creek Forest Project — a 10,000 acre forest in Washington State that serves as a bridge for owls traveling from nesting locations — and the Meridian SF6 Reduction Project — which, in the auto parts manufacturing process, replaces a powerful greenhouse gas that has a global warming impact 22,800 times greater than CO2.

“As organizations work to decarbonize their operations as aggressively and as quickly as possible, supporting emissions reduction projects through the purchase of verified carbon credits is a critical near-term solution to address their direct and indirect emissions,” said Stephanie Harris, Director, Carbon Markets at 3Degrees. “We’re excited to see Zum take immediate action to address its carbon footprint as it continues to make progress on transitioning to a completely electrified fleet.”