Christian Kroll is founder of Ecosia, the search engine planting trees while you surf the web.
The organisation promises users that all they have to do to make the world greener is add a plugin to their browser and search the web as normal. It does this by making money selling adverts in searches, and investing just under half of this revenue– or 80% if operating costs are removed — on replanting programmes.
Since 2009, the company claims to have planted 87 million trees, and has 15 million active users. It says that each search takes 1kg of carbon dioxide out of the air, and that 45 searches are enough to plant a new tree.
Kroll is a Business Administration graduate who was disappointed that most people considered profit making “the only valid objective for a business.” The company is actually CO2 negative, as it uses 100% renewable energy for its servers and invests extensively in tree-planting.
“It’s important that there are independent players in the market that don’t just exist for profit. We put our profits into tree planting and we are also focused on privacy, so users can have a positive impact on the environment while having greater control over their personal information,” he told Techcrunch.
Kroll recently won 2020’s German Startup Award as Best Social Entrepreneur. Ecosia — the first German B Corporation, which publishes financial reports every month and doesn’t sell data to advertisers — is set to grow further, given news that Chrome will add it as a default search engine choice in up to 47 markets.
Assessing whether it is worth switching to Ecosia, popular YouTube blogger Our Changing Climate said: “If you’re an average web searcher like me, then most of the time Ecosia feels the same as Google. And when it comes down to it, you’re going to have to use a search engine.”
He went on to describe Ecosia as “an easy way to bring a little bit of green back into this world.”Tags: deforestation, Ecosia, NGO, South America