What is Ecosia?
We all use the internet to make search queries on a daily basis, but many of us are unaware that our search results can be converted into proceeds that help the environment. Ecosia donates 80% of its profits to non-profit organisations focusing on reforestation. Unlike Google or Bing, Ecosia is on a mission to convert profits into trees that help reforest parts of the world, especially in developing countries.
Ecosia is a fully certified B Corp that fulfills all the ethical, social, and environmental requirements that a for-profit company must have to demonstrate their dedication towards environmental sustainability. Only a limited number of companies have this accreditation, as it ensures that all companies are safe, transparent, and audited periodically.
Despite tax and privacy concerns set out by other search engines, Ecosia’s search engine aims to do the following:
- Help and improve the environment.
- Pay its fair share of taxes, without avoiding them.
- Not abuse its algorithm against you to create more profits.
- Retain user data and ensure privacy.
- Influence others with the same initiatives.
Considering all the benefits of Ecosia over other search engines, it only takes you 45 searches to plant a tree from the comfort of your home. 
How does Ecosia make money?
Like all search engines, Ecosia makes its money via ads that are paid by advertisers, so you don’t have to pay a penny. Even if you do not click on the ads, you still contribute to the movement by increasing the number of users on the platform, which helps attract advertisers. Google follows similar practices by using its own algorithm to show you the most relevant ads at the top of your search results, but without planting trees in the process.
Ecosia is actively investing in other ways to generate funds, and as such, they recently announced their very own debit card, TreeCard. TreeCard is entirely made from cherry wood instead of plastic, and for every £45 spent using the card, a tree is planted. They claim that this card will have the same benefits as any ordinary card, but with an environmental twist.
How do I get started?
The first thing you should do is head over to ecosia.org, install their search engine and make your first search! It is normal to be a little shy at first, but you will get used to their interface over time and hopefully plant many trees on the way.
If you are passionate about Ecosia’s practices or actively use their browser, then we strongly suggest you support us by petitioning to the University of Buckingham to let students have Ecosia installed as an alternative to Google Chrome on IT Desktops across campus.
SU Environmental Officer