Ecosia is a web search engine based in Berlin, Germany, which donates 80% of its surplus income to the common good, with a current focus on tree planting. As a “social business”, Ecosia is a CO2-neutral company that supports full financial transparency, and is certified by B-labs as a B-corporation. The company is also supported by the World Wildlife Fund.Ecosia’s searches are a combination of search results from Yahoo!, technologies from Bing and Wikipedia, and its own algorithms. Its ads are delivered by Yahoo!, which shares a portion of the revenue with Ecosia. Ecosia also generates Google searches, which searches however do not generate revenue for Ecosia. Ecosia has released a freeware web browser, called EcoBrowser, a modified version of Chromium.
I can only see this as a good thing – I mean: In September, 2009, Ecosia received US$21,500 in seed capital and the search engine launched on 7 December, 2009, to coincide with UN climate talks in Copenhagen. Between December 2009 and August 2013, Ecosia donated to the Plant a Billion Trees program run by the Nature Conservancy, which program aimed to restore the Brazilian Atlantic Forest by planting one billion native trees by 2015. By 2011, the search engine had raised over €250,000. In 2013, about 200,000 people were using Ecosia, and 116,000 seedlings had been funded by Ecosia’s donations.
Ecosia are now funding forestation in Burkina Faso, as part of the Great Green Wall project backed by the African Union and the World Bank, which project 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 searches through it had resulted in more than 2 million trees being planted.
In May, 2015, Ecosia was shortlisted for The Europas, the European Tech Startups Awards, under the category Best European Startup Aimed At Improving Society.
I mean it – this is awesome news. If people thought that trees gave us WiFi they would be planting them like crazy – but, no, they are only the climax of succession.
Acacia can be reached here – www.ecosia.org – I recommend you set it as your browser home page and try and conduct as many searches through it as possible.