A search engine that uses its profits to plant trees has now planted 40 million, with the aim of reaching 50 million by 2019.
Ecosia.org shows ads next to the search results, both of which are powered by Bing, and uses at least 80% of the profits it generates through ad revenue to support reforestation projects.
Ecosia can be used on most devices and has browser extensions for all major browsers, such as Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. However it can also be manually added to smaller browsers, and there is also an iOS app, an Android app, and a Windows phone app for mobile devices. A counter in the corner of the search engine shows how users are contributing to the planting of a new tree through their searches.
Headquartered in Berlin, Germany, Ecosia says it is the world’s largest not-for-profit search engine. A certified B Corporation, it has planted 40 million trees across 19 planting sites worldwide, including Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Indonesia and Peru. It is also what is known as a steward-owned company, which means shares cannot be sold at a profit or owned by people outside of the company, and no profits can be taken out of the company.
In October, Ecosia also made an unsolicited one million euro offer to save the last remaining stretch of the 12,000-year-old Hambach Forest in Germany. A regional court has temporarily halted German energy company RWE’s plans to demolish the Forest for the expansion of the country’s largest coal surface mine, but RWE has formally rejected the offer, refusing so far to enter into any further negotiations.
Ecosia’s CEO and Co-founder, Christian Kroll, said users had been vocal on the topic of finding a way to permanently save the Hambach Forest.
“We are offering one million euros to RWE to take the fate of this 12,000 year old forest out of limbo land. With their ability to mine for lignite under the remaining stretch of the forest in question, we ask RWE to consider this offer.”
The offer was to remain open until the end of this month, with Ecosia also considering making a second offer.
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