13th September 2020
Plant trees while you search the web
Plant trees while you search the web. Yes, really.
Ever feel frustrated by those giant multinational tech companies not paying their 'fair share' of tax and their tendency to shirk their global responsibilities? A gnarly problem indeed and not about to be solved any time soon, but as usual there is something we can do: we can vote with our clicks.
Google's parent company Alphabet had revenue of $34.34 billion last year and this little tweak won't make a dent in their profits but you can now use the power of your web searching to plant trees. Not Google, but Bing has partnered with Ecosia, sharing its best search engine technology with the 11 year old German company.
Ecosia utilises Microsoft's Bing search engine platform and applies the profit it makes from our searches to tree planting where it is most needed. The company is transparent and its activities are independently audited to ensure it is doing what it claims and it is now a certified B Corporation. More on B Corps an other time...
Founded in 2009 by Christian Kroll, Ecosia makes its money from advertising revenue in the same way as Google, earning every time someone clicks on one of the adverts that appears above or beside the search results.
Ecosia then donates 80% of the profits it makes to tree-planting charities. To date it has funded over 107 million new trees, from Indonesia to Brazil, and Kenya to Haiti.
Since not everyone clicks on the adverts, the company estimates that, on average, it takes 45 searches to raise the 0.22 euro (20p; 26 US cents) cost of planting of one tree.
Today Berlin-based Ecosia says it has 15 million users. This is a tiny drop in the ocean compared with Google's estimated 5.6 billion searches per day, but Christian he has grand ambitions to "scale massively, win more users, and plant billions of trees".
By planting trees and offsetting its energy use with renewables, Ecosia claims each search with Ecosia actually removes 1 kg of CO2 from the air, which makes Ecosia a carbon-negative search engine: here’s their math. This means that if Ecosia were as big as Google (some chance!), it could absorb 15% of all global CO2 emissions, enough to offset vehicle emissions worldwide. But at it's current size
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