Planting Trees with Search Results

A non-profit based in Berlin just celebrated planting one million trees. Ecosia works just like Google or Bing, except 80-100% of their ad revenue is reinvested in tree planting projects around the world.

Business for Social Good

Founder Christian Kroll came up with the idea of Ecosia while backpacking through the Atlantic Rainforest in Argentina. Globalization aggravated climate change, he learned, and planting new trees was one of the most effective ways to neutralize CO2 emissions. Ecosia was born in 2009.

For every 43 searches using its engine, Ecosia plants a tree. The company earns money for each ad that appears in its results and when users click those ads. Ecosia partners with NGOs and farmers to enact their forestation projects.

Plugging into Communities

“We actually go to planting sites, and we try to find partners with expertise in the area,” said Ruby Au, head of North America for Ecosia, in an interview with WAXC TV. “Whoever it is that has that expertise in the region and knows how to plant and who the stakeholders are, how to involve the community.”

Besides rejuvenating the environment, their projects create jobs. Burkina Faso houses one of Ecosia’s biggest tree planting operations, as do fourteen other countries including Peru, Brazil and Haiti.

Ecosia’s search results are provided by Bing and enhanced by the company’s own algorithms. Their search engine consists of a search bar and little else.

Securing User Data

Besides planting trees, Ecosia distinguishes itself from other search engines through their data privacy. Search queries are automatically deleted after a week. Advertisers receive no personal data. All searches are encrypted and not tracked using external tools.

“We want to make sure our users are protected and that our users are able to engage in the web in a way that’s ethical and fair to them,” Au explained.

Visit to try it. You can download a Chrome extension to make it your default search engine. Ecosia apps exist for both Android and Apple devices.