Million Metric Tons of CO2

avoided by enabling customers to work from home



in total revenue, 2018 - 2020


X Growth

Rapid adoption beyond North America: 3x year-on-year bookings in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and 2.5x year-on-year bookings in Latin America

The Path to Drawdown: Telepresence

From multipurpose-room systems, immersive telepresence, desktop systems, videophones, and cloud-based software systems, telepresence comes in a variety of forms. But what they all have in common is that they can replace flying for business meetings and reduce overall air and land transportation.

Air travel is estimated to account for ~2.5% of global CO2 emissions. That’s more than 700 million tons of CO2 annually. A big chunk of this is from business air travel.

By integrating telepresence systems, companies, schools, hospitals and museums can offer their services and facilitate communication to people without being in the same place. This way they can avoid emissions from commutes and business travel by air. Not only that, telepresence can help cut costs and ease employee schedules by avoiding travel, enhance meeting productivity and faster decision-making, and increase interpersonal connection across geographies.

The global market for telepresence solutions is on the rapid rise, from US$2.2 billion in 2010 to US$3.3 billion in 2014. The novel coronavirus pandemic has further accelerated this adoption. 

Project Drawdown estimates that, if telepresence is used widely enough to replace 16-30% of global air business travel by 2050, it can help avoid 1 gigaton to 3.8 gigatons of CO2 equivalent emissions. This would mean that between 486 - 676 million business-related trips will be replaced, US$1.2-4.4 trillion worth of business travel savings, and between 107 - 143 million fewer unproductive travel hours.


Zoom Video Communications (stock ticker: ZM) is a communications technology company. Headquartered in San Jose, California, it provides a unified digital communications platform -- integrating secure video, phone, chat, and content sharing -- that is used for teleconferencing, telecommuting, distance education, and other social interactions.

ZM's Role in Drawdown

Zoom offers products (p. 7) that make it easy for businesses and individuals to interact virtually. Their core products include 

  • Zoom Meetings: high-definition video, voice, chat and content sharing across mobile devices, desktops, laptops and conference room systems. Zoom’s architecture can support up to 1,000 participants in a single meeting, local recording with transcripts, video breakout rooms, screen sharing with annotation, and integrating with other business applications.
  • Zoom Phone: an enterprise cloud phone system that provides private branch exchange features like secure call routing, call queuing, call detail reports, call recording, call quality monitoring, voicemail, switch to video, and much more. 
  • Zoom Chat enables organizations and teams to communicate and collaborate in groups, channels, or one-on-ones to stay connected by instantly sharing messages, images, audio files, and other content across various devices.

All of these technologies allow people to meet and exchange information, documents and content without having to travel for in-person meetings by land or air. 

Since 2018, Zoom’s revenue has skyrocketed, growing from $330.5 million in 2018 to $2.65 billion by the end of 2020. That’s 100% CAGR. The quarantine and remote work as a result of COVID-19 has accounted for a large part of this growth in 2020-2021.

ZM: What We Like

In July 2021, Zoom announced its agreement to acquire Five9, a leading provider of the intelligent cloud contact center that will enable businesses to connect with their customers more easily. This acquisition is poised to boost Zoom’s presence with business customers and accelerate its long-term growth opportunity.

At the same time, Zoom is evaluating their operational footprint to identify areas for sustainability like enhancing energy conservation and waste reduction.

ZM: What We Want to See Improve

Eliminate the Carbon Footprint of Video Conferencing

Research published in April 2021 found that one hour of video conferencing can emit up to 10% of emissions from a gallon of gasoline burned from a car. While it’s true that Zoom calls have replaced a large portion of business travel, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, emissions from the transfer, storage and processing of internet data is sizable and can’t be ignored. We urge Zoom to switch completely to renewable sources of energy to cut emissions to zero.

Set Concrete Targets for Emissions Reduction

Zoom’s promise to reimagine their real estate needs with an emphasis on sustainability is encouraging, but we’re not quite sure what this means in practice. To put this in concrete terms, we want to see Zoom set precise targets for GHG emissions reduction by a specific date so that investors can hold them accountable for their carbon footprint.

Ensure that Zoom’s Technology is Secure

In the past, Zoom experienced (p. 19) security vulnerability with their Zoom Meeting platform that allowed unauthorized users to gain access to other users’ system and disrupt their calls (“Zoom bombing”). To their credit, Zoom released updates to the software addressing these vulnerabilities. But the threat of cyberattacks, hacking ad other malicious internet-based activity is now ubiquitous, and we urge Zoom to constantly improve their cyber security measures in all of its products.

Other Telepresence Stocks in the Climate Index

Attend Our Next Webinar

Attend Our Next Webinar

Join our next Sustainable Investing 101 webinar, get our favorite DIY options, and walk through how we build our portfolios.

Get Our Newsletter

Get Our Newsletter

Go a level deeper with us and investigate the potential impacts of climate change on investments like your retirement account.

Join Newsletter
Talk To A Human

Talk To A Human

Joining a new investment service can be intimidating. We’re here for you. Click below to email us a question or book a quick call.

Ask a Question