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Ecosia logo
Type of site
Web search engine
Available inEnglish and 26 other languages
CEOChristian Kroll
Revenue19.1M€ (2019)[1]
Alexa rankIncrease 391 (January 2020)[2]
Launched7 December 2009; 10 years ago (2009-12-07)
Current statusActive

Ecosia is a search engine based in Berlin, Germany, that donates 80% or more of its profits to nonprofit organizations that focus on reforestation. It considers itself a social business, is CO2-negative[4] and claims to support full financial transparency[5][6] and protect the privacy of its users.[7] Ecosia is also B Lab-certified.[8]

Search engine[edit]

At launch, the search engine originally provided a combination of search results from Yahoo! and technologies from Bing and Wikipedia. Ads were delivered by Yahoo! as part of a revenue sharing agreement with the company.[9]

Ecosia's search results are now provided by Bing and enhanced by the company's own algorithms.[7][10] It is currently available as a web browser or mobile app on Android and iOS devices, as well as on PCs and Macs.[11]

In 2018, Ecosia committed to becoming a privacy-friendly search engine. Searches are encrypted, not stored permanently, and data is not sold to third-party advertisers. The company states in its privacy policy that it does not create personal profiles based on search history, nor does it use external tracking tools like Google Analytics.[12]

Ecosia shows advertisements next to its search results and is paid by partners every time a user is directed to an advertiser via a sponsored link. A single search on Ecosia raises approximately half a Euro cent (0.005 EUR) on average, according to Ecosia's FAQ,[13] taking 0.22 euro (€)[13] and 0.8 seconds to plant a tree.[3]

Business model[edit]

Christian Kroll
Christian Kroll (2019), founder of Ecosia

Ecosia uses 80% of its profits (47.1% of its income) from advertising revenue to support tree planting projects, the rest is put into backup reserves for unforeseen circumstances – if these reserves are not used they are channeled back into the company's tree planting fund. The company publishes monthly financial reports on its website.[14] In October 2018, founder Christian Kroll announced that he has given part of his shares over to the Purpose Foundation.[15] 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.[16]


Ecosia was launched on 7 December 2009 to coincide with UN climate talks in Copenhagen.[17] 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. To protect this area, the organizers drew up and financed plans with timber companies and the local communities.[citation needed]

In 2011, the search engine had raised over 250,000€.[18]

From July 2013 to September 2014, Ecosia donated to the Plant a Billion Trees program[19] run by The Nature Conservancy, a program that aimed to restore the Brazilian Atlantic Forest by planting one million native trees by 2015.

In 2015, Ecosia began funding reforestation in Burkina Faso as part of the Great Green Wall project, backed by the African Union and the World Bank, that aims to prevent desertification.

According to B-labs, as of January 2015, "In donating 80 percent of its ad revenue, the search engine has raised over $1.5 million for rainforest protection since its founding in December 2009." According to Ecosia, by 2015, the search engine had almost 2.5 million active users and had planted more than 2 million trees.

In May 2015, Ecosia was shortlisted for The Europas, the European Tech Startups Awards, under the category Best European Startup Aimed At Improving Society.[20]

On the 23rd of January 2020, Ecosia donated all of its profits from that day to ReForest Now, a local NGO that not only plans to restore the forests, but also "make the area more resilient against future fires". They claimed that the profits were used to plant 26,446 trees.[21][22]


The company works with multiple organizations, such as the Eden Reforestation Projects, Hommes et Terre, and various local partners, to plant trees in 16 countries throughout the world.[23][24] Ecosia currently has one or more projects in the following countries: Peru, Nicaragua, Colombia, Haiti, Brazil, Morocco, Spain, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Madagascar, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Indonesia.[23]

On 9 October 2018, Ecosia offered €1 million to buy the Hambach Forest from German energy company RWE AG to save it from being cut down for lignite mining.[25]

Browser integration[edit]

Ecosia is available on Google Chrome and Firefox as a default search engine by downloading the extension from the Chrome web store or Mozilla's Addon site respectively.[26][27]

As of 21 July 2017, the web browser Brave has featured Ecosia as a default search option.[28] With the release of version 26 (on 26 January 2016), the Pale Moon web browser added Ecosia as a default, as did version 8 of the Polarity web browser on 15 February 2016.[29] Ecosia is the default search engine of the Waterfox web browser since version 44.0.2.[30] Since version 1.9, Vivaldi has included Ecosia as a default search engine option.[31] In March 2018, Firefox 59.0 added Ecosia as a search engine option for the German version.[32][33]

As of 21 August 2019, Ecosia announced that it will not participate in the "search-choice" auction to appear on Android devices led by Google.[7] This means that in 2020 European Android phone users will not have the option to set Ecosia as a default search engine. Christian Kroll explained the boycott decision saying: "We're deeply disappointed that Google has decided to exploit its dominant market position in this way. Instead of giving wide and fair access, Google have chosen to give discrimination a different form and make everyone else but themselves pay, which isn't something we can accept." Applications to participate in the "search-choice" auction were due in mid-September.[7]

As of 12 March 2020, Ecosia will be a default search engine choice for Google Chrome in 47 markets. This addition represents the first time a not-for-profit search engine will appear as a choice to users.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ecosia business reports/Financial Reports & Tree Planting Receipts". Dropmark. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Ecosia Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  3. ^ a b "What is Ecosia?".
  4. ^ "How does Ecosia neutralize a search's CO2 emissions?". Zendesk. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Financial Reports, Ecosia". Ecosia. Archived from the original on 22 October 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  6. ^ "Search Engines Won't Support Google's Auction". What's Next Media and Analytics. 12 August 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d Oates, John (12 August 2019). "Green search engine Ecosia thinks Google's Android auction stinks, gives bid a hard pass". The Register. Situation Publishing. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  8. ^
  9. ^ jlo (12 September 2014). "Ecosia: Eine Suchmaschine möchte den Regenwald retten". (in German).
  10. ^ "Where do Ecosia's search results come from?". Ecosia Knowledge Base. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Ecosia is the search engine that plants trees".
  12. ^ "We protect your privacy".
  13. ^ a b "How does Ecosia make money?". Ecosia's FAQ.
  14. ^ "In December, we spent €533,080 on trees". The Ecosia Blog. 18 February 2019.
  15. ^ Tönnesmann, Jens (24 October 2018). "Good bye, Frau Merkel". (in German). Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  16. ^ Köhn-Haskins, Josefine; Thomas, Jan (9 October 2018). "Ecosia-Gründer Christian Kroll ist ein Überzeugungstäter". Berlin Valley (in German). Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  17. ^ Donoghue, Andrew (4 December 2009). "Microsoft-Backed Green Search Engine Attacks Google". Archived from the original on 23 July 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  18. ^ Carrington, Damian (3 June 2011). "Green search engine means you click and save the rainforest". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  19. ^ "Plant a Billion Trees". Plant a Billion Trees. Archived from the original on 7 April 2019. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  20. ^ Butcher, Mike (18 May 2015). "The Shortlist Is Out – Vote Now In The Europas Awards For European Tech Startups". Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  21. ^ Joshi (20 January 2020). "On Thursday, all searches will plant trees in Australia". Ecosia Blog. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  22. ^ Joshi (24 January 2020). "Ecosia searches will plant 26,446 trees in Australia!". Ecosia Blog. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  23. ^ a b "Where does Ecosia plant trees?". Ecosia's FAQ. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  24. ^ "Why does Ecosia plant trees?". Ecosia's FAQ. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  25. ^ Connolly, Kate (9 October 2018). "Berlin startup offers €1m to save ancient Hambach forest from coal mining". the Guardian. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  26. ^ De Andrado, Mahesh (12 May 2019). "Search online and plant a tree with Ecosia". The Sunday Times Sri Lanka. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  27. ^ "Ecosia — The search engine that plants trees 🌱 – Get this Extension for 🦊 Firefox (en-US)". Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  28. ^ "brave/browser-laptop". Brave Browser Github page. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  29. ^ "Windows – Polarity". Polarity Weebly. Archived from the original on 18 May 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  30. ^ "Help Support Waterfox". Waterfox. Archived from the original on 13 April 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  31. ^ Nestor, Marius (27 April 2017). "Vivaldi 1.9 Browser Is Out with Ecosia Search Engine to Help Reforest the Planet". Softpedia. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  32. ^ "Release Notes for Firefox 59". Mozilla Foundation. Mozilla Corporation. 31 March 2019. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  33. ^ "Mozilla makes Ecosia a Firefox search option in Germany". Ecosia. March 2018. Archived from the original on 11 August 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  34. ^ "Tree planting search engine Ecosia is getting a visibility boost in Chrome". TechCrunch. Retrieved 17 April 2020.

External links[edit]