It’s a rare feat for a news story to pop up on your radar that concerns the environment, climate change, or just the planet in general and brings a smile to your face. And yet the pioneering search engine Ecosia has managed just that. Since its inception in 2009, the social enterprise has planted over 10,000,000 trees around the world.
In a massive step towards their ambitious goal of planting 1 billion trees by 2020, Ecosia users have contributed not only to the planting to the 10,000,000 trees, but to the employment of 25,000 farmers, restoration of 20,000 hectares of land and growth of 170 different tree species that this involves.
Ecosia was founded in 2009 by Christian Kroll, a graduate in Business Administration from Nuremberg, with a desire for using his skills to create a business with a meaningful, positive impact. After travelling for a year, and learning more and more about the importance of trees to our planet and sustainability, he created Ecosia, a free web extension that operates as your primary search engine. 80% of all the revenue generated from the search ads on the webpages are directed towards tree-planting programs.
Ecosia’s core values:
#impact – think big and prioritize what will have the greatest impact
#integrity – be honest, authentic, and open
#sustainability – seek long term, sustainable solutions
#leadership – lead the way to a sustainable future
#userfocus – honour the user
#happiness – make it an enjoyable ride
The social enterprise was the first German company to become a B Corporation in April 2014 because of its social business model. In November that year they planted their millionth tree.
Why plant trees? The tree planting projects pioneered by Ecosia help cool the planet, generate biodiversity, protect soil from erosion and create fertile land, produce clean air, provide food and other projects from sustainable sources, and help regulate water cycles. The consequences of such projects can also help provide nutrition, employment, education, medical assistance and political and economic stability. The whole reforestation landscape is monitored by the team at Ecosia to ensure the trees are planted where they can have the biggest positive impact.
The projects are scattered across the globe. They stretch from Nicaragua to Indonesia, Madagascar to Peru. In Madagascar, 90% of forests have already been lost to deforestation. Ecosia has partnered with Eden Reforestation Projects, hiring villagers to replant the forests so wildlife return and prevent further soil erosions.
The transparency Ecosia offers also heartens its more than 5.5 million users. At the time of writing this, exactly 10,809,542 trees have been planted because of Ecosia users and the team behind the business. Over $4,058,746 has been invested.
The extension is available on all app stores. More information about the work Ecosia is completing can be found here and, should you have a tree-planting project you’re passionate about that Ecosia might have missed, you can send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.