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Ecosia is an Internet search engine based in Berlin, Germany, that plants trees by donating 80% or more of its profits to nonprofit organizations that focus on Reforestation. Ecosia considers itself a social business, is CO2-negative,[4] claims to support full financial transparency,[5][6] protect the privacy of its users;[7] and is certified by B-Lab as a benefit corporation.[8][9]

Ecosia
Ecosia logo
Ecosia's logo
Type of site
Web search engine
Available inEnglish and 26 others
OwnerChristian Kroll via Ecosia GmbH
Created byChristian Kroll
CEOChristian Kroll
Revenue€9.1M (2019)[1]
Websiteecosia.org
info.ecosia.org
Alexa rankIncrease 462 (September 2019)[2]
CommercialYes
Users8,000,000+[3]
Launched7 December 2009; 9 years ago (2009-12-07)
Current statusActive

The website maintains a running total of the number of trees planted.[10] According to their website, as of 9th September 2019, the search engine had been responsible for the planting of more than 68 million trees.[10]

Search engineEdit

The search engine at launch originally provided a combination of search results from Yahoo! and technologies from Bing and Wikipedia. Ads were delivered by Yahoo! as part of a revenue sharing agreement with Ecosia.[11]

Search results for Ecosia are now provided by Microsoft Bing, enhanced by the company's own algorithms.[7][12] It is currently available as a web browser or mobile app on Android and iOS devices.[13]

In 2018, Ecosia committed to becoming a privacy friendly search engine. Searches are encrypted, not stored permanently, and data is not sold to third party advertisers. The company states in their privacy policy that they do not create personal profiles based on search history, nor do they use external tracking tools like Google Analytics.[14]

Ecosia shows advertisements next to its search results, and is paid by partners every time a user is directed to an advertiser via a sponsored link. A single search on Ecosia raises approximately half a Euro cent (0.005 EUR) on average, according to Ecosia's FAQ,[15] taking 0.22 euro (€)[15] and 0.8 seconds to plant a tree.[3]

Business modelEdit

 
Christian Kroll (2019), founder of Ecosia

Ecosia uses 80% of its profits (47.1% of its income) from advertising revenue to support tree planting projects, the rest is put into backup reserves for unforeseen circumstances – if these reserves are not used they are channeled back into the company's tree planting fund. The company publishes its monthly financial report on its website.[16] In October 2018, founder Christian Kroll announced that he has given part of his shares over to the Purpose Foundation.[17] As a result, Kroll and Ecosia co-owner Tim Schumacher gave up their right to sell Ecosia or take any profits out of the company.[18]

HistoryEdit

 
This graph shows the Ecosia's monthly payments to the WWF and to the TNC.

Ecosia first launched on 7 December 2009 to coincide with UN climate talks in Copenhagen.[19] Over time, Ecosia has supported various tree-planting programs. Until December 2010, Ecosia's funds went to a program by WWF Germany that protected the Juruena National Park in the Amazon basin. To protect this area, the organizers drew up and financed plans with timber companies and the local communities.[citation needed]

By 2011, the search engine had raised over €250,000.[20] In 2013, some 200,000 people were using Ecosia, and 116,000 seedlings had been funded by Ecosia's donations.[citation needed]

Verified amount of money donated to the WWF[21][22]
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
January €5,921.60 €25,297.54 €78,326.34 €20,000.00
February €7,393.96 €18,697.32 €57,728.46 €20,000.00
March €8,911.76 €20,292.95 €58,359.08 €32,235.25
April €9,135.11 €17,430.41 €62,000.34
May €10,979.03 €29,524.77 €58,269.58
June €10,678.19 €20,144.90 €56,091.67
July €12,090.41 €36,439.22 €55,352.56
August €11,523.77 €45,790.29 €54,551.61
September €12,474.72 €36,218.97 €52,727.94
October €13,300.17 €43,651.22 €50,114.48
November €15,354.96 €53,010.93 €20,000.00
December €2,656.34 €16,316.85 €60,960.97 €20,000.00
Total Year €2,656.34 €134,080.53 €407,459.49 €623,522.06 €72,235.25
Total €1,239,953.67

From July 2013 to September 2014, Ecosia donated to the Plant a Billion Trees program[23] run by The Nature Conservancy, a program that aimed to restore the Brazilian Atlantic Forest by planting one million native trees by 2015.

Verified amount of money donated to The Nature Conservancy[24][22]
2013 2014
January €22,044.00
February €44,089.00
March €64,779.00
April €82,283.00
May €73,065.00
June €54,588.00
July €440.00 €69,849.00
August €9,740.90 €58,063.00
September €52,170.90 €48,409.00
October €53,859.14
November €58,059.00
December €62,106.00
Total Year €236,375.94 €521,688.00
Total €758,063.94

In 2015, Ecosia began funding reforestation in Burkina Faso as part of the Great Green Wall project, backed by the African Union and the World Bank, that aims to prevent desertification.

According to B-labs, as of January 2015, "In donating 80 percent of its ad revenue, the search engine has raised over $1.5 million for rainforest protection since its founding in December 2009." According to Ecosia, by 2015, the search engine had almost 2.5 million active users and had planted more than 2 million trees.

In May 2015, Ecosia was shortlisted for The Europas, the European Tech Startups Awards, under the category Best European Startup Aimed At Improving Society.[25]

As of April 2016, Ecosia ranks in the top 2 start-up for Germany in the StartupRanking.[26] In July 2017 it had 5.5 million active users and 10 million planted trees. As of October 2018, it has reached 7 million active monthly users, with Alexa ranking Ecosia as the 127th biggest website in Germany.[27]

As of 13 February 2019, Ecosia had funded the planting of over 50 million trees.[28]

Amounts donated by Ecosia to various associations[29]
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
January €62,500 €72,350 €130,000 €421,370 €438,846
February €67,000 €65,500 €145,000 €411,269 €482,967
March €72,000 €83,750 €270,551 €302,501 €448,038
April €50,000 €68,000 €330,198 €341,582 €590,275
May €50,150 €65,000 €441,197 €300,902 €696,204
June €32,220 €54,000 €446,075 €264,005 €713,579
July €44,750 €74,000 €449,815 €319,127 €815,378
August €47,250 €65,000 €388,018 €293,421
September €56,500 €84,991 €299,621 €301,903
October €56,000 €63,700 €102,900 €303,949 €215,012
November €36,000 €47,450 €140,800 €377,013 €440,925
December €40,000 €62,450 €137,000 €470,215 €533,080
Total Year €132,000 €655,970 €1,013,291 €4,051,652 €4,145,097 €4,185,287
Total €14,183,297
Number of trees funded each month[29]
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
January 33,764 223,214 258,393 989,146 1,873,037 2,047,139
February 54,866 239,286 232,143 690,561 3,706,716 1,594,807
March 80,058 257,143 299,107 993,514 2,083,682 490,137
April 101,071 178,571 178,571 2,670,917 1,757,131 3,474,205
May 81,582 179,107 232,142 1,874,712 2,332,407 5,699,974
June 60,952 115,071 192,857 929,618 4,850,375 1,936,613
July 77,992 159,821 214,285 1,765,067 2,201,241 408,056
August 64,832 168,750 232,142 1,375,591 1,065,225
September 55,030 201,786 355,281 2,450,511 2,501,497
October 221,429 227,500 762,814 2,062,807 1,226,638
November 142,857 169,464 372,849 2,508,805 1,111,426
December 142,857 223,036 341,379 1,871,542 2,247,357
Total Year 1,117,290 2,342,749 3,671,963 20,182,791 26,956,732 15,650,931
Total 69,922,456

ImpactEdit

Ecosia works with multiple organizations, such as the Eden Reforestation Projects, Hommes et Terre, and various local partners, to plant trees in 16 countries throughout the world. Ecosia says that they focus on planting trees where they are most needed: "biodiversity hotspots" which are areas with large numbers of unique species, and regions with poor communities that cannot handle large scale tree-planting on their own. There are multiple environmental benefits of trees: they absorb carbon dioxide and thus slow global warming; they prevent desertification and keep soil fertile; and they provide safe habitats for forest-dwelling animals. Additionally, Ecosia claims that they support local communities by creating steady income for the planting and care of trees, providing food and income from harvesting the trees, improving agriculture from soil replenished by trees, and finally leading to economic and political stability by lifting locals out of poverty.[29][30][31]

Ecosia currently has one or more projects in the following countries: Peru, Nicaragua, Colombia, Haiti, Brazil, Morocco, Spain, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Madagascar, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Indonesia.[30]

In October 2018, Ecosia launched a regenerative agriculture competition in cooperation with Richard Perkins.[32]

On 9 October 2018, Ecosia offered €1 million to buy the Hambach Forest from German energy company RWE AG to save it from being cut down for lignite mining.[33] Ecosia previously urged users to switch to renewable energy providers.[34]

On 15 March 2019, Ecosia supported the school strike for climate movement led by Greta Thunberg, by planting a tree for every person who joined the Berlin strike. In May 2019 the company announced that 25,000 trees were now planted in Madagascar.[35] Ecosia's CEO, Christian Kroll has joined the Entrepreneurs for Future group.[36]

Early in 2019, Ecosia had planted more than 50 million trees throughout the world.[37]

Browser integrationEdit

Ecosia is available on Google Chrome as a default search engine by downloading the extension from the Chrome web store.[38]

As of 21 July 2017, the web browser Brave has featured Ecosia as a default search option.[39] With the release of version 26 (on 26 January 2016), the Pale Moon web browser added Ecosia as a default, as did version 8 of the Polarity web browser on 15 February 2016.[40] Ecosia is the default search engine of the Waterfox web browser since version 44.0.2.[41] Since version 1.9, Vivaldi has included Ecosia as a default search engine option.[42] In March 2018, Firefox 59.0 added Ecosia as a search engine option for the German version.[43][44]

As of 21 August 2019, Ecosia announced that it will not participate in the "search-choice" auction to appear on Android devices led by Google.[7] This means that in 2020 European Android phone users will not have the option to set Ecosia as a default search engine. Christian Kroll explained the boycott decision saying: "We're deeply disappointed that Google has decided to exploit its dominant market position in this way. Instead of giving wide and fair access, Google have chosen to give discrimination a different form and make everyone else but themselves pay, which isn't something we can accept." Applications to participate in the "search-choice" auction are due in mid-September.[7]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Ecosia business reports/Financial Reports & Tree Planting Receipts". Dropmark. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Ecosia Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  3. ^ a b "What is Ecosia?". info.ecosia.org.
  4. ^ "How does Ecosia neutralize a search's CO2 emissions?". Zendesk. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Financial Reports, Ecosia". Ecosia. Archived from the original on 11 October 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  6. ^ "Search Engines Won't Support Google's Auction". PYMNTS.com. What's Next Media and Analytics. 12 August 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d Oates, John (12 August 2019). "Green search engine Ecosia thinks Google's Android auction stinks, gives bid a hard pass". The Register. Situation Publishing. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  8. ^ Anderson, Mae (28 August 2019). "Eco Search Engine Sees Surge in Downloads as Amazon Burns". Phys.org. New York: Science X Network. AP. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  9. ^ "Ecosia GmbH, B Corporation". B-labs. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Ecosia - the search engine that plants trees". www.ecosia.org. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  11. ^ jlo (12 September 2014). "Ecosia: Eine Suchmaschine möchte den Regenwald retten". Sueddeutsche.de (in German).
  12. ^ "Where do Ecosia's search results come from?". Ecosia Knowledge Base. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  13. ^ "Ecosia is the search engine that plants trees". info.ecosia.org.
  14. ^ "We protect your privacy". info.ecosia.org.
  15. ^ a b "How does Ecosia make money?". Ecosia's FAQ.
  16. ^ "In December, we spent €533,080 on trees". The Ecosia Blog. 18 February 2019.
  17. ^ Tönnesmann, Jens (24 October 2018). "Good bye, Frau Merkel". Zeit.de (in German). Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  18. ^ Köhn-Haskins, Josefine; Thomas, Jan (9 October 2018). "Ecosia-Gründer Christian Kroll ist ein Überzeugungstäter". Berlin Valley (in German). Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  19. ^ Donoghue, Andrew (4 December 2009). "Microsoft-Backed Green Search Engine Attacks Google". Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  20. ^ Carrington, Damian (3 June 2011). "Green search engine means you click and save the rainforest". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  21. ^ "Donations - Documents - The Best Way to Share & Discover Documents". DocGo.Net. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  22. ^ a b "Reports 2009 until end of 2014". documents.ecosia.org. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  23. ^ "Plant a Billion Trees". Plant a Billion Trees. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  24. ^ "Donation Statements". Google Docs. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  25. ^ Butcher, Mike (18 May 2015). "The Shortlist Is Out – Vote Now In The Europas Awards For European Tech Startups". Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  26. ^ "Germany Top Startups – Adblock Plus, Ecosia, Dawanda | Startup Ranking". StartupRanking. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  27. ^ "Ecosia.org Traffic, Demographics and Competitors – Alexa". Alexa. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  28. ^ Ecosia (13 February 2019). "How 50 million trees have changed the world" (video). YouTube. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  29. ^ a b c "Ecosia's financial reports and tree-planting receipts". The Ecosia Blog. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  30. ^ a b "Where does Ecosia plant trees?". Ecosia's FAQ. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  31. ^ "Why does Ecosia plant trees?". Ecosia's FAQ. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  32. ^ "START REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE ENTRY DEADLINE IS 15TH DECEMBER 2018". Start Regenerative Agriculture. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  33. ^ Connolly, Kate (9 October 2018). "Berlin startup offers €1m to save ancient Hambach forest from coal mining". the Guardian. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  34. ^ "#CiaoRWE – Take a stand for Hambach Forest!". The Ecosia Blog. 7 September 2018. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  35. ^ "25,000 trees for Fridays for Future!". The Ecosia Blog. 23 February 2019. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  36. ^ Böcking, David (21 March 2019). "Das Wichtigste ist, dass die jungen Leute weiter nerven". Spiegel Online (in German). Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  37. ^ "50! Million! Trees!". The Ecosia Blog. 13 February 2019. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  38. ^ De Andrado, Mahesh (12 May 2019). "Search online and plant a tree with Ecosia". The Sunday Times Sri Lanka. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  39. ^ "brave/browser-laptop". Brave Browser Github page. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  40. ^ "Windows – Polarity". Polarity Weebly. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  41. ^ "Help Support Waterfox". Waterfox. Archived from the original on 13 April 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  42. ^ Nestor, Marius (27 April 2017). "Vivaldi 1.9 Browser Is Out with Ecosia Search Engine to Help Reforest the Planet". Softpedia. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  43. ^ "Release Notes for Firefox 59". Mozilla Foundation. Mozilla Corporation. 31 March 2019. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  44. ^ "Mozilla makes Ecosia a Firefox search option in Germany". Ecosia. March 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2018.

External linksEdit