Ecosia’s tree planting mission is entirely supported by the advertising revenue generated from searches conducted by its 15M users globally – including around 1.5M across the UK. As knowledge of the climate crisis has risen in recent years, Ecosia’s popularity has also climbed – usership of the search engine in the UK increased by over 140% in 2019.
It comes as no surprise that a green search engine would be seeing rapid growth among a younger audience. According to a recent straw poll they carried out, more than 80% of those respondents were under the age of 29. And on top of their eco-credentials, acentral pillar of Ecosia’s ethos is that privacy should never be compromised. Searches are never stored permanently, no personal profiles are created based on search history, and all searches are securely encrypted and anonymised within days. Ecosia also never uses external tracking tools and never sells data to advertisers which further cements their position as the search engine of choice for the purpose driven and mindful generations.
On July 9th, just two years after the company hit the 30 million trees planted milestone, Ecosia planted the 100 millionth tree. Collectively, these trees will remove up to 30M tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere when fully grown, and Ecosia’s 100M trees sequester 1771 tonnes of CO2 each day. The mission-driven company has restored approximately 35 thousand hectares of woodland and helped to protect biodiversity and natural beauty across all 6 inhabited continents.
However, the collapse of online advertising revenues due to the COVID-19 health crisis is hampering Ecosia’s ability to plant trees. Ecosia’s revenues in May were over 1M euros lower than in February, at the start of the crisis. Despite that, Ecosia has continued to grow its global user-base, with 25% more users in June 2020 compared to June 2019. The search engine even saw record search volumes in the last week of April, at the height of the lockdown, up by 73% year-on-year.
As Ecosia grows, the ethical search engine is aiming to become a vehicle for systemic change, by addressing ecological disasters as they arise, and by becoming a source of protest against injustices in all forms. Ecosia planted 3M trees in Brazil following last years’ Amazon forest fires, and ran tree-planting campaigns in Australia following this winter’s devastating bushfires.
Christian Kroll, CEO of Ecosia, commented: “The climate crisis is the biggest existential threat that humanity has ever faced and we have very little time left to prevent a global catastrophe. Our efforts to protect biodiversity have never been more critical, and this milestone of 100M trees is an important step in the right direction. Most importantly, our trees are not only good for the climate but have also helped tens of thousands of people to build a better future for themselves and their communities. I am really proud of what we have achieved so far, thanks to our passionate users. But we can’t stop here! I hope more people will now make the switch to Ecosia and help us plant billions more trees.”
Ecosia’s commitment to planting trees is motivated by the fact that trees provide a home for about 80% of life on earth, while also serving as a barrier against erosion, landslides and avalanches. Ecosia’s business model is unique in that it allows users to play an active part in securing their planet’s future whenever they search for anything online. Revenue generated by searches is not only used to plant trees, but also to support local economies through these initiatives, by providing employment, income and resources.
Pieter Van Midwoud, Chief Tree Planting Officer at Ecosia, commented: “Tree planting is not just about solving the climate emergency, it’s also a critical tool for conservationists to protect biodiversity hotspots and to improve the livelihoods of the poorest people on earth. Using Ecosia is a way to fight back against ecological collapse and to bring about social justice, but we’re very aware that there is still a lot of work to be done – especially when it comes to putting up a fight against deforestation – or replacement of natural forests by exotic monoculture plantations.”
Sophie Dembinski, Head of UK at Ecosia, commented: “We must find innovative ways to address the impending ecological crisis which is ongoing despite COVID-19. Using Ecosia is an easy way for internet users to have a big, positive impact on the planet. At Ecosia, we also want to help businesses and major employers help us plant this change, and are calling on major organisations to switch over to our eco-friendly search engine. This change could make a major difference in the fight to restore critically endangered, biodiversity hotspots. The simple task of making searches online for work could in fact help us plant millions of trees across the world.”