Ecosia, the search engine that turns searches into planted trees, announced it will plant its 100 millionth tree this week.
Christian Kroll, CEO of Ecosia, states: “We are not interested in your data; we are interested in trees.” The non-profit, powered by Bing, take 80% of its advertising revenue to fund projects in areas of, particularly vulnerable deforestation.
The search engine funds a new tree every 0.8 seconds, making the cost of each tree just over 0.22 euros. Every search contributes to the 100 million trees that help remove over 1771 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, Ecosia says.
In 2018, Ecosia used a portion of profits to build its first solar plant. In 2019 it declined to participate in Google’s search-choice Android auction. Recently, The Rising sat down with Ecosia’s Susy Peddie to discuss its latest milestone and potential future goals moving forward.
Ecosia on success: “a planted tree is only successful if it survives for over three years”
Especially with the Trump-headed “Trillion Tree Initiative,” tree-planting organizations have come under scrutiny. Blindly planting trees, without accounting for the ecosystems the region, might hurt the environment more than it helps. More importantly, however, mass planting cannot guarantee that the trees will survive long enough to make a significant impact.
Ecosia attempts to address these issues by working with local organizations in the countries they are in. According to Ecosia, the tree species planted needs to generate future products and income for the region, and the communities there need to have the resources to care for them in the long term. By planting diverse, and more importantly, local species, they avoid introducing foreign tree monocultures that have damaged regions in the past.
“Ecosia only considers a planted tree ‘successful’ if it stands in the ground for at least three years. At that point, the sapling is usually robust enough to survive,” Peddie tells me. “By committing to this principle, Ecosia ensures that results are long-lasting.”
Plans after planting the 100 millionth tree
The 100 millionth tree will be anywhere from Madagascar, Burkina Faso, and Brazil. In terms of future goals, Ecosia plans to continue expanding its market on solar energy and to further optimize informing search engine users on their environmental impact.
Ecosia also wants to further emergency aid. Previously Ecosia planted 3 million trees in response to the Amazon fires, as well as reforested an area affected by the Australian bush fires. The company launched its first project in May with UK healthcare, planting trees around hospitals to provide green spaces for staff working during the pandemic.
“100 million trees is a huge milestone for Ecosia, but in some ways, it feels like we’re only just rolling up our sleeves and getting started,” Peddie explains.
Update: Ecosia confirms that the 100 millionth tree will be planted in Brazil.
Jessica is a writer based in NYC, with bylines at Vox and EGMNOW. You can pitch her stories at jessica [at] therising.co