The search engine that plants trees: what’s Ecosia and how does it work?

JOSHI
WRITTEN BY

Joshi

Joshi is Ecosia's editorial lead. He likes this planet.

Our 15 million users have planted over 120 million trees, for free. Just by searching the web.

Without knowing how Ecosia works, this may sound too good to be true. You might have some questions. Is Ecosia a virus? Are Ecosia’s tree-planting projects legit? Does Ecosia produce renewable energy? Is my private data safe with you? Who is Christian Kroll?

In short: No, yes, yes, yes, our CEO. But let us explain more fully.

What’s Ecosia's business model?

We’ve spent the last decade building a search engine called Ecosia. Like other search engines, we display ads alongside your search results. When you click on them, we get paid. That’s how Ecosia makes money.

But instead of wasting this advertising revenue on building a private airport or finding new ways to avoid taxes, Ecosia uses it to fight climate change and environmental injustice.

We start by covering our costs. This includes things like improving the search results and covering our rent. Everything else, so all of Ecosia's profits, go towards climate action. We invest 20% in renewable energy, regenerative agriculture, and grassroots activism. The remaining 80% goes towards planting and protecting trees around the world.

By using our profits for the planet instead of ourselves, we’ve been able to plant over 120 million trees, and counting. Our search engine now serves millions of people from almost every country in the world, every day.

But our not-for-profit business model is not the only thing that makes Ecosia a somewhat unusual search engine.

Ecosia’s features, privacy policy, and solar panels

To help you make better decisions, we’ve added a little green leaf next to planet-friendly organizations, and a little coal icon next to the world's most destructive companies.

Speaking of good decisions: We’ve built our own solar panels. That way, we're not just producing enough energy to power all of your searches with renewables - we are producing twice as much. Being 200% renewable means that every Ecosia search is crowding out dirty energy from the grid. So no matter what you search for, you are fighting global warming by removing CO2 from the air.

We also know that trust has to be earned. So a few years ago, Ecosia's founder and CEO, Christian Kroll, signed an irreversible contract that requires us to stay true to our purpose. So there’s no way for us to ever sell Ecosia or take money out of the company. And to be completely transparent, we publish monthly financial reports that tell you exactly how much money we made from your searches, and how we spent it.

We might be an open book, but you shouldn’t be. That’s why Ecosia has become one of the most privacy-friendly search engines out there – which means we don't do creepy things like selling your data to advertisers and or creating a personal profile of you. We're in it for the trees, not your data.

Ecosia’s tree-planting projects

Our trees remove thousands of tons of CO2 out of the air every day.

But they don’t just remove carbon: they protect wildlife and support farmers who are dealing with ever warmer and ever drier climates.

But where does Ecosia plant trees? And what does planting millions of trees actually look like?

First, we figured out where trees are most urgently needed. That led us to focus on vulnerable biodiversity hotspots, bird migration routes, and environmental crisis zones. A biodiversity hotspot has a lot of biodiversity while also being at risk for destruction. This makes it a highly impactful conservation area.

Next, our tree-planting experts sought out amazing local partners who do the hard work of growing, nurturing and planting trees in these areas. Once they’re in the ground, we continue to work with these partners, using satellite tech and field visits, to ensure our trees survive.

And finally, to bring you all along on this adventure, we publish updates about our projects almost every day (check out our tree planting updates on youtube, for instance). We tell you about our planting methods, about why we steer clear of monocultures, about why it's so important to work with local communities, about climate justice, activism, and so, so much more.

So that’s us! It’s easy to make the switch. Go get started at ecosia.org to make Ecosia your default search engine.



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