It’s time for some uplifting news. A search engine has been setting a new precedent by planting trees with every search you make. With over 15 million active users, you can watch the live tally on their site, where the number of trees that will be planted creeps ever close to 100 million.
The rise in popularity correlates with growing awareness and public conscience about the impact people are having on their environment. Their active users jumped in 2019 from eight million to a whopping 15 million, and they’re still on the up. With Ecosia’s agenda to help reforest our planet, they sound too good to be true.
How Do They Work?
The Berlin-based company has kept its business model relatively simple. As people go about using the search engine as they usually would, income is generated from the advertising profits. They then dedicate a certain proportion of the profits earned to fund reforestation efforts. And having been in operation since 2009, they’ve had the time to plant several million trees.
The targeted areas for planting are actually spread all over the world. So far, they’ve generally been seeding in countries located closer to the equator, such as Peru, Ghana, Morocco, and Indonesia. They’ve interested in biodiversity hotspots, and with 80% of their profits going in to this venture, they’re an attractive model for what could be the future of businesses.
The Face Behind Ecosia
Meet Christopher Kroll, the founder of the search engine and in many ways, the friendly face of the company. “The idea for Ecosia really started when I went travelling after finishing my university studies,” he admits. Their growth as a company that started out with just a handful of people in room has become something with real mainstream potential, and it’s required some sacrifices from Christopher himself.
“Last year I gave up my shares in Ecosia and we turned it into a steward-owned company, meaning it can never be sold or have profits taken out of it,” he explained. As Ecosia is an impact-driven business, it faces a lot of difficulties by existing in a profit-driven market. But Christopher and his team are up for the challenge for better or worse: “It’s important that there are independent players in the market that don’t just exist for profit,” he says proudly.