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Ecosia. The search engine that plants trees

Ecosia is the search engine that plants trees with its ad revenue. With close to 15 million users have helped plant over 100 million trees all over the world.

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Ecosia is the search engine that plants trees with its ad revenue. With close to 15 million users have helped plant over 100 million trees all over the world. Those trees help restore landscapes, nourish communities, protect wildlife and neutralise CO2.


They have quickly become the world's biggest tree-planting movement!

Be honest, how many times have you used your search engine today? And what if every time you did, it made the world a better place? For Christian Kroll, founder of Ecosia, this was not such an outlandish idea.


German-born, Kroll initially had ambitions of becoming a stockbroker but after travelling to India and learning about the devastating deforestation in South America, he shook off his money-making mindset and started looking for ways to give back and make a difference. The more he learned about trees and their importance in the world, the more he knew that’s where he wanted his focus to be.


His first attempt was in 2007 in Nepal with the launch of a search engine intended to generate funds for local NGO projects. Limited electricity made it difficult to get it off the ground, but the idea stayed with him.


You can’t talk about search engines without mentioning Google; so powerful it has become a verb. Kroll too, while setting up a website at university that compared online brokers, was surprised by how much of his revenue he spent buying Google ads to direct traffic to the site. The idea was simple, in theory. Search engines make money when users click on ads – the market itself makes a staggering $70bn a year - what if there was a way that that revenue could be used for good?

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In 2009, he launched Ecosia, a search engine that dedicates most of its profits to planting trees all over the world. A partnership with Google fell through in the final hour, but Ecosia found its home with Bing.


In Kroll’s opinion, ‘carbon neutral’ is no longer good enough; if the internet were a country, it would have the third biggest electricity consumption in the world.


Through Ecosia, users are actively removing CO2 from the air because, with each search, a tree is planted. In 2018 they started building their own solar plants, and today all Ecosia searches are powered by 100% renewable energy. The plan is to produce twice as much solar power than they need to power searches.


Their website details, well, everything; Ecosia is fully financially transparent. Each month they share how much money they have made from users’ searches and exactly where it all goes – from taxes, to charities, from employees to advertising – ever


y penny is accounted for. In an untraditional move, Kroll has ensured that he can never sell his shares or take profit out of the company. The goal, he says, was never to get rich.


The commitment is to making a difference instead of a profit. To date, Ecosia has an estimated 15 million users and has planted almost 125 million trees where they are needed most. In 2019, their revenue was £17.2million and its founder has big plans to win more users and plant billions of trees.


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Article Details

  Feature with:           Ecosia

Founder, Christian Kroll

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