Ecosia, the world’s largest nonprofit search engine, has launched a new platform called Ecosia Travel that plants trees for every booking that is made. Jenny Southan reports
Ecosia Travel is designed to help travellers reduce their carbon footprint. For each hotel that users book, the ethical search engine will use 100 per cent of the commission profits to plant an average of 26 trees.
How does Ecosia Travel work? Firstly, add the free browser extension to Firefox, for example, and then conduct all web searches through this portal instead of Google. For hotel searches, you can also go direct to hotels.ecosia.org.
Users can either search for “hotel” through Ecosia or directly access Ecosia Travel through the “more” link on the search results page. Hotel deals can be compared by price, star rating or guest rating.
Ecosia’s hotel search engine is powered by HotelsCombined to “provide a rich hotel search experience integrated into Ecosia’s search engine”. Ecosia will partner with additional travel search platforms in the future to expand its offering.
What are Ecosia Travel’s plans for making travel more sustainable?
After launching in beta in Germany, Ecosia Travel is now avialable in the US, New Zealand, Australia and across Europe. Over the coming months, it will be working to provide access to users globally.
Ecosia says it wants to leverage Ecosia Travel to promote more sustainable forms of travel, including eco-friendly hotels, as well as allowing users to compare their carbon footprint across different transport options. This will make it easier for users to travel sustainably and encourage accommodation providers to become more eco-friendly.
Christian Kroll, founder and CEO of Ecosia, said: “Travel is an essential part of our lives, but it comes with a carbon footprint. We want to give Ecosia users the opportunity to make an environmentally friendly choice when planning their next trip.
“It’s time for the industry to step up and do better and we’re proud to be part of a movement towards a fairer and more sustainable form of travelling.”
What has Ecosia already been doing to save the planet?
Since its founding in in 2009, Ecosia has planted 60 million trees over 2,000 hectares. It says it takes approximately 45 searches to finance the planting of one tree. What’s more, it also offsets the carbon emmitted from the search engines serves by using its own solar plant.
Ecosia’s reforestation projects provide paid work for people all over the world, in countries such as Burkina Faso, Peru, Senegal, Madagascar, Indonesia, Tanzania and Uganda.
For example, in northern Ghana, villagers rely on the Daka River for drinking, washing, cooking and farming but deforestation has meant the river dries out for months at a time. Planting trees along its banks helps restore the water level.
Ecosia says: “The 900,000 trees your searches are helping us plant in Ghana also provide villagers with fruit and nuts – and this can change lives. [People] will no longer have to walk long distances to harvest shea nuts [to sell] on the market.”
How does Ecosia make money?
Its website states: “Like any other search engine, Ecosia earns money from clicks on the advertisements that appear above and beside the search results.
“The advertisements on Ecosia are clearly labeled as Ads and are text links to websites that pay for each click by users. The ads are delivered to you by our partner Bing, who pays Ecosia a share of the revenue generated via these ads.
“Ecosia earns a few cents for every click on an ad from Bing – or a portion of the purchase price made through an affiliate link. Ecosia then gives the profits from this ad revenue to planting projects.”