Green Search Engines, are search engines that help charitable, social or ecological causes. These are becoming really popular due to increased awareness from people about climate change. 2018’s climate catastrophe’s annus horribillis, made it clear how crucial it is to find solutions to tackle once and for all the truth of how our planet is in the verge of climate catastrophe. One of the best ways to do it is by planting trees. That is exactly what Ecosia is doing, one of the best Green search engines out there is.
This social enterprise, which is based in Berlin, is like any other search engine, with one major difference: they use their profits to plant trees. Ecosia first launched on 7 December 2009 to coincide with UN climate talks in Copenhagen. It is based on technology from Yahoo and Bing, which provides the search results and sponsored links for the site.
Over time, Ecosia has supported various tree-planting programs. Until December 2010 Ecosia’s funds went to a program by WWF Germany that protected the Juruena National Park in the Amazon basin.
Ecosia was founded by German Entrepreneur Christian Koll. His aim was to tap into the billion dollar search engine industry in order to benefit the environment. He chose tree-planting after travelling the world and learning about the importance of trees in combating climate change, bringing back water cycles and creating opportunities for local communities. In various interview, Koll tells us how Ecosia grew slowly from a small company of three to 20 employees. He believes that the success of Ecosia is due to a simple fact its “tree meter” letting people know how their search is helping the environment in an immediate and visual way. In October 2018, Christian Kroll announced that he had given part of his shares over to the Purpose Foundation. As a result, Kroll and Ecosia co-owner Tim Schumacher gave up their right to sell Ecosia or take any profits out of the company.
In the following video Christian tells us more about Ecosia’s story.
Ecosia does not pay out any dividends to its owners. All profits stay within the company and will eventually either be invested or used for tree planting. The company also claims to be transparent thus publishing monthly financial reports and tree-planting receipts. These supposedly show exactly how much money they make from searches, and what percentage of the revenue goes towards trees.
Ecosia also runs a youtube video, posting videos and images of their tree planting program.
Other green search is EcoSearch.
Maria Fonseca is the Editor and Infographic Artist for IntelligentHQ. She is also a thought leader writing about social innovation, sharing economy, social business, and the commons. Aside her work for IntelligentHQ, Maria Fonseca is a visual artist and filmmaker that has exhibited widely in international events such as Manifesta 5, Sao Paulo Biennial, Photo Espana, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Joshibi University and many others. She concluded her PhD on essayistic filmmaking , taken at University of Westminster in London and is preparing her post doc that will explore the links between creativity and the sharing economy.