The green search

Tuesday 9 May 2017, by Arnau Ros Ribas, Daniel Prieto

2 inspired


The increasing dissemination and utilization of Information Technology (IT) into all areas of life lead to rising energy consumption and growing environmental problems.
The market leader Google for example operates approximately 450,000 servers, consuming about 800 Giga Watt hours (GWh) of electricity per year. By this Google is indirectly responsible for enormous amounts of CO2 emissions, because electricity is most often generated by coal or gas combustion. Thus, regardless of the financial success, Google has come under criticism in environmental issues.

A. The main facts about the activities of the company.

In contrast with Goggle, Ecosia is also an internet search tool with an IT-based green business model which distinguishes itself from the main search engines in the market. Ecosia is not aiming for profit maximization. Instead it follows the emerging concept of Social Business in whose context it tries to make a positive environmental contribution to the society based on the idea that each time someone searches using that webpage, a tree is planted. They use all their advertisement benefits for their cause. To achieve its objectives Ecosia cooperates with nonprofit organizations (NGOs) and established search engine providers such as Bing and Yahoo.

A.I Why they do it?

For them, and also for us (Dani /Arnau) trees are the superheroes of the planet. The positive effects they can have on their environment and the people living in it are as versatile as the different shapes they come in. We all know that they can turn the CO2 into O2, but also help mitigate climate change, restart water cycles, keep deserts from spreading and turn barren grounds back into fertile woods and farmland

B. The Ethical challenges this company is addressing.

Ecosia wants to combine technology with nature by using the searches in its website. Each search someone does in the webpage contributes to the plantation of trees around the world.
The primary Ethical challenge this company tries to take care about is deforestation.

As they say on their website in one sentence: "Tree planting provides value to people if it they get a better life with trees than without trees - also long term - and they understand that and want the trees."

B.I What have they done until now?

Between December 2009 and August 2013, Ecosia donated to the Plant a Billion Trees program run by the Nature Conservancy, which the program aimed to restore the Brazilian Atlantic Forest by planting one billion native trees by 2015. By 2011, the search engine had raised over €250,000. In 2013, about 200,000 people were using Ecosia, and 116,000 seedlings had been funded by Ecosia’s donations.
Ecosia is now funding reforestation in Burkina Faso, as part of the Great Green Wall project backed by the African Union and the World Bank, which project aims to prevent desertification.

C. What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it?

We think is an inspiring example of a business because they combine values and money in a perfect manner. It helps people to find what they are searching for, like Google does and thus it reports monthly all its revenues in a full transparency manner. For the more skeptical ones, they publish a donation statement report of all the donations available for everyone. <>

Moreover, as we have mentioned before, there are currently funding de reforestation in Burkina Faso and here are the prove of it, as well as the impact that creates in the community

D.The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve.

The aim for Ecosia is to explore different approaches, combine their beneficial impact and become the world’s leading tree planting experts. With a growing user-base and years of experience, they now finally have the resources to support and monitor a carefully selected number of planting programs. Right now, the main goal in the short run is to plant 1 billion trees, which is a minimum amount to make an little impact to solve climate change.

So, what are you waiting for? The more people joining to Ecosia and the more start using it as a search-engine, the better impact on the climate change. You will have a really great impact on the world, with only a small change, just a click!

Books: R. Glass, “Google Emissions Study Borders on the Absurd,”
Information Systems Management, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 302-303, 2009

Location: Berlin (Germany)

Sector: Agriculture, forestry and fishing

Official website:

Key figures:

Annual revenue: 1,7M€ (2016)
Alexa Rank: 703 (rank that provides commercial web traffic data and analytics)
Best German Startup (by StartupRanking)
Nº of employees: 20

Nbr. visits: 2110

Nbr. inspires: 2