The search engine that plants trees. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Upon further research, it is clear that this Berlin-based green tech company is exactly what it claims to be- and if not better.
Ecosia is a search engine that uses the income generated from its ad revenue to plant trees in different reforestation projects around the world. The exact location where the trees are planted depends on where they are currently needed the most. When planting trees, Ecosia always ensures that the new forest ecosystem can function properly and only plants them in deforested areas where historically there have been trees before.
Ecosia is Germany’s first certified B-Corp and is completely free for users to install. From this research, it is clear that Ecosia is the opposite of a company engaging in greenwashing and has environmental conservation at the core of its values, which is truly reflected in the way that the company operates.
Ecosia is an organization that runs via three main divisions. The first division is the main product, which is the search engine. The search engine can easily be added as the default browser but adding it as an extension in your “preferences” settings. After approximately 4o searches, 1 tree is planted on behalf of the user: simply by the revenue, they have generated by using the search engine to lookup results.
The second division is the tree planting project itself. The tree-planting committee work as closely as possible with local partners and planters as they have crucial knowledge about the respective sectors in which they are planting, which can range from a small village in Burkina Faso to larger regions in Spain.
The third division is the social media and youtube channels. Ecosia’s Youtube channel has gained a very high subscriber count and is used as a communication channel to educate and empower the population about climate-related issues in a clear and concise way, while also giving transparent updates of tree planting projects and financial reports happening worldwide.
The Ecosia interface is run by a team of programmers in Germany. Ecosia has different ‘country managers who are responsible for implementing growth strategies for respective countries around the world. The marketing team is in-house and creates content across various communication channels that are both informative and entertaining. Furthermore, there is a team in charge of the tree planting projects that do regular quality checks on the planting sites to report changes and keeps all stakeholders regularly updated.
For example, in Ecosia’s financial report for May 2021, the search engine generated 2,181,000 euros, of which 1,133,436 euros was spent on planting trees, 282,368 euros on green investments, 179,638 euros on taxes and social security, 139,018 euros on marketing, and 446,560 euros on operational costs.
Ecosia is run by CEO, Christian Kroll, who is so authentic to the organization’s values that he has made it impossible for the company to ever become for-profit, meaning that shareholders will never be a decision-making stakeholder group. Ecosia's savings and cash reserves are stored in one of the world's most sustainable banks, Triodos Banks, as well as with GLS which is one of the first socio-ecological banks in Germany. Furthermore, Ecosia publicly publishes its financial reports every month on its website so that its budget and spendings are visible to the public. These financial reportings are graphically represented in a user-friendly and visually appealing manner.