A little something for the environment every time users do an Internet search – that’s the idea behind Ecosia, the world’s first ecological search engine.
The Berlin start-up, which celebrates its tenth birthday in December, devotes all its advertising profits to reforestation projects in places from Ethiopia to Indonesia, Burkina Faso to Brazil. The search engine’s homepage keeps a running tally of the number of trees planted (at time of writing more than 68 million).
Ecosia founder Christian Kroll, 35, says he’s not interested in traditional economic indices of success.
“I want to advance social change,” Kroll explains. “If we want to survive the twenty-first century, we need massive reforestation.”
According to a recent study by the university, ETH Zürich, reforestation is the most economically efficient and effective way of preserving the climate, with a trillion trees needed. Kroll says that if Ecosia were as profitable as Google, it could plant that number of trees on its own.