Reforestation in the time of COVID-19

The coronavirus is changing everything, including reforestation. Here’s what the pandemic means for our tree-planting projects across the world.

Are Ecosia’s tree-planting projects affected by the coronavirus?

Some of our tree-planting projects are more affected than others. In Morocco, for example, the number of cases is on the rise, and our reforestation experts stay home. Some of our planting sites are very remote, while others are closer to big cities. In some countries, we’ve already completed our planting for the year. In other parts of the world, however, the trees were going to be planted in 3-6 months.

Since the circumstances are now changing on a daily basis, we are preparing for the possibility that some of our planting projects will be put on pause. We obviously prefer to postpone our tree-planting plans than put anyone at the slightest risk of contracting COVID-19.

Why our tree-planting partners need us more than ever

Many companies use a small portion of their profits for good causes, such as tree planting. But in the times of COVID-19 – and in the critical economic situation that is likely to follow – these “corporate social responsibility” budgets are the first to be cut. This means that our reforestation partners who rely on multiple sources of funding might suddenly be faced with the possibility of having to drastically reduce their operations.

We will do everything in our power to prevent this. For Ecosia, tree planting is not an afterthought or a greenwashing strategy. It’s the reason we exist. We will stand with our partners throughout this crisis.

What are we doing to protect the tree planters’ health?

Our reforestation partners and nursery workers are family to us. We would never push them to continue planting against local recommendations. Instead, we encourage them to postpone planting, create new contracts with us, or adjust existing contracts. This will help them stay afloat during the coronavirus crisis without having to put anyone’s health at risk.

Will Ecosia plant fewer trees?

Ecosia has no secrets. Our upcoming financial reports will reveal that our revenue is dropping due to COVID-19.

But our financial reports also show that we have sizable reserves. Our tree fund allows us to pay all our reforestation partners in 2020, just as we had planned. That’s a huge relief.

Ecosia is, in other words, both environmentally and financially sustainable. But even for us, some uncertainty remains. We might have to slow down our tree counter for a little while. We might have to temporarily shift the proportion of funds we dedicate to tree planting. We might have to hire fewer people in order to honor all our contracts.

What you can do to help our reforestation projects

If people like you keep using Ecosia, we will continue planting millions of trees in the long term. The trees we can’t plant now will be planted later, when the coronavirus crisis is over. Planting trees to tackle the climate crisis, improve soil quality and create livelihoods is still a matter of great urgency.

While our tree fund allows us to support our reforestation partners throughout this difficult time, the incoming recession means that fewer businesses will support them in the future. More than ever, our partners need you to use Ecosia, and to spread the word about the tree-planting search engine, especially in the next few years. We know that you will, and for that we are grateful. We’ll get through this together.

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