Ecosia: Plant Trees while browsing the Web

What if it was possible to create a social impact with every search online? A new and exciting platform allows users to do just that. 

Ecosia are a Berlin-based search engine, which plants a tree while their users search the web; being green certainly doesn’t get much easier than that.

The company uses profit that they make from searches to plant trees where they are needed the most (namely in areas which have been affected by deforestation or over-industrialisation).

Christian Kroll founded Ecosia in December, 2009 as a social business. After living in Nepal, and travelling around the world, Kroll wanted to create something that would have a genuinely positive impact.

“What Ecosia focuses on is quite unique within the search and the entire tech industry: transparently turning profits into trees, measuring success in social and environmental impact instead of financial value.” – Christian Kroll

Ecosia is a fully transparent operation, and it is possible to easily find their monthly financial reports and tree planting receipts online. Ecosia’s business model was tailored to generate as much financial support for tree planting as possible, and this is the core essence of the company.

It has paid off too. At the moment Ecosia has planted over 40 million trees and, by 2020, it aims to plant a billion. It also donates 80% of advertising revenues toward environmental protection.

Ecosia’s project in Burkina Faso halts desertification and provides local people with new economic opportunities, and their Indonesian project is empowering local communities to fight back against palm oil monocultures.

Furthermore, in 2014 Ecosia was the first German company to become a B Corporation thanks to its social business model. Earlier this year, Ecosia built its own solar energy plant to power every single search online. At the moment Ecosia has planted more than 40 million trees, and by 2020 it aims to plant one billion trees. Kroll said:

“Deforestation causes many of the global issues society and the environment are suffering from. Poverty, famines, political and economic instabilities, droughts, pollution and mass extinction are just a few of them. Everyone working at Ecosia believes that a smart tool that empowers users to capitalize on a daily habit can have a huge impact.”

It’s as simple as that, a web search is completed with Ecosia, search ads generate income, and the company uses this income to plant trees.

Ecosia is available on pretty much any device. There are browser extensions available for all major browsers, such as Firefox, Safari, and Chrome, and it’s possible to manually add Ecosia to smaller browsers. For smartphones, an iOS and an android app, as well as a windows phone app are all easily available at the respective app stores.

So go ahead, add Ecosia as a primary search engine and see how many trees can be planted in a day, a month or a year.

Baiba Šustere

Baiba Šustere is a writer whose work focuses on mindfulness, health and wellbeing.