Ecosia is a search engine that empowers you to make a difference while you search the web. For every search you make on it, 0.05 cents goes towards planting a tree – it costs about 0.28 cents to plant one tree.
They generate about $75,000 per month from search advertising revenue – 80% of which is donated towards rainforest protection. The site is carbon neutral and all their financials are open on the site. Since its launch in 2009, it has raised more than $3.1 million.
The founder Christian Kroll was inspired to start this after being disillusioned by profit motives of companies. He took a year off to travel and on his trip he realised the importance of trees for the survival of our planet.
The search engine is powered by Bing along with its own algorithm and technology. Even though Bing may not be as good as Google (although I do believe Bing is getting better!), more than 2.5 million people a month are using Ecosia, because every time they click “search” they help plant a tree. Within the search engine it has a Google option to compare search results too (although I don’t think that generates income for them).
So far they have planted more than 4 million trees around the world, most recently in Burkina Faso (Africa) as part of the Great Green Wall project which aims to prevent desertification. Ecosia’s goal is to grow 1 billion trees by 2020.
Headquartered in Berlin with a small team of 11 people, the organisations they have donated to so far include We Forest – in Burkina Faso; The Nature Conservancy – to restore the Brasilian Atlantic Forest, and WWF Germany to restore Juruena-National park in the Amazonas (Brasil).
Just while researching Ecosia for this blog post, the search engine has told me that I have helped plant 8 trees.
I am amazed at how the intention + a little bit of effort can really help you find ways to make an impact.
Use Ecosia and help reforestation. You can add it to Chrome via a really simple extension.