Ecosia is using search to change the world. Its ‘carbon-neutral search engine’ donates at least 80% of the profits from ad revenue to a tree planting program in Burkina Faso. Since starting in 2009, so far its users have planted over 3 million trees and it says it is adding a new tree every 12 seconds. Founder Christian Kroll explains the mission.
So I travelled the world for a while to find inspiration for a business idea, taught myself a little programming, and read a lot about environmental issues. In Nepal I started working on a search engine that would fund local NGO projects with its profits. However, a lack of decent internet connection made me quit the project and I carried on travelling. In South America I learned a lot about tropical reforestation and how trees can help mitigate climate change.
This is where the idea for Ecosia was born and we launched the search engine in Berlin back in 2009.
The idea is pretty simple. Search engines make a lot of money from online advertising. Ecosia’s tool – powered by Bing – empowers users to do good by capitalising on a daily habit without any additional cost or effort. If by using Ecosia you could search the web and reforest the planet at the same time, why would you use any other search engine? Essentially, Ecosia is an eco-friendly alternative to Google.
We use our profits from our search ad revenue to help both the environment and society. So far we’ve been able to donate more than $3 million, with which we’ve planted more than 3 million trees. We have more than 2.5m users every month.
Our goal for the future is to grow our user base and come up with more ideas for clever tools that allow everyone do good on a daily basis.
There are all kinds of problems in our modern world that need fixing. At Ecosia, we want to do our share to find and support innovative solutions to as many of these problems as we can.
2015 was Ecosias’s most impactful year yet since we started six years ago. Our users helped us to achieve that 3 million trees milestone, and on the back of this we grew our team. Most impressive is that our searches had a huge positive impact on impoverished communities in Burkina Faso.
Our work in Burkina Faso has brought water, plants and animals back to drought-ridden areas. The revived land means more jobs, healthier livestock and more independent people. A stronger local economy allows both women and men to earn their own income, meaning more children can go to school.
Our forests are part of the international effort to build a “Great Green Wall” across Africa for increased environmental, social and economic prosperity.
We are now on an ambitious journey to a billion trees by 2020.
Photo by WeForest/www.beeldkas.be