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Did you know you can plant trees just be searching the internet? Ecosia is a search engine working to do just that — with over 124 million trees planted since the company started in 2009.

The Berlin-based search engine was founded by Christian Kroll after he saw the impact of deforestation during a trip around the world. The funding needed to plant each tree is produced by the profit Ecosia makes from users clicking on search ads. It takes about 45 searches to plant a tree.

By June 2019, Ecosia had planted 60 million trees — and they have only grown since then. They also built a solar energy plant in 2019 to power each search in an eco-friendly way. Now, the company has over 9,000 planting sites spread across the globe and over 15 million active users. 

Ecosia can be used on any browser or by downloading their mobile app. All it takes is 1.3 seconds — a quick click — to plant a tree. Start using Ecosia today, and make an environmental impact with almost no effort required!

I’m always skeptical of charitable organizations (many don’t use donations as effectively and efficiently as possible), so I explored Ecosia’s recent financial statement to see how they stack up. According to the website, the company uses at least 80% of its profit to plant trees each month.

In March 2021, Ecosia made €1,969,440 in total profit. Of this profit, 40% (€789,113) went to planting trees, 10% (€197,464) went to taxes and social security payments, 13% (€247,716) went to paid advertising, 28% (€543,425) went to operational costs (such as personnel, software, and travel) and 10% (€191,722)  went to green investments — which consists of money that set aside for reserves and environmental projects. In March, they paid their partners €1,074,113 to plant trees — most of it was pulled from their monthly profit, with the additional €250,000 coming from their tree fund. 

While it may initially appear as if they are not following through on their promise to donate 80% of profits to planting trees each month, this percentage actually applies to the surplus of profits once expenses (including taxes, advertising, and operational costs) are accounted for. According to this, 80% of their surplus went to planting trees in March 2021.

Based on their finances, Ecosia is following through on their commitment to using  80% of their profits to plant trees.

Natalie Hardt

Pepperdine '21

Hi! My name is Natalie and I'm a senior at Pepperdine studying Integrated Marketing Communications and Art. Some of my favorite activities are painting, board games, beach days, and exploring new places with friends and family!
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