It takes a certain kind of entrepreneur and a certain kind of start-up to take on a business sector as monopolized and dominated as the search engine industry. Christian Kroll, Founder and CEO of Ecosia, wasn’t afraid to enter an already saturated market, with a better way of doing business.
I had the pleasure to speak with Jacey Bingler, Head of Public Relations at Ecosia, about the company, their story and the impact they’re making as a B Corporation.
It all started back when Christian was finishing up his MBA. He was finding himself frustrated by the way students and faculty were laser-focusing their attention on the bottom-line. He knew that there was a better way of doing business. So once he completed his studies, Christian packed his bags and went on the adventure of a life-time, travelling the world for his inspiration.
While abroad, Christian discovered the interconnectedness of forests and the impact they have, not only on climate change, but also on local livelihoods. With a desire to accelerate the tree planting process worldwide, he launched a search engine that could combat deforestation.
That’s when the idea was born: turn an everyday practice into a platform for change.
Ecosia uses 80% of its search ad revenue to plant trees, reviving forests as part of the international effort to build a Great Green Wall across Africa.
With transparency and fairness at the root of their business (pun intended), Ecosia understands that telling people that they are planting trees simply isn’t good enough. That’s why it didn’t take long for Ecosia to become Germany’s first B Corporation. Certification provides 3rd party verification of their business practices, enabling potential search users to feel confident and empowered.
Like many other B Corps, Ecosia doesn’t take their social commitments lightly. In fact, they’ve already hit an impressive milestone, planting 4 million trees. They’re hoping to reach the 1 billion mark by 2020, which surprisingly, isn’t as impossible as it sounds. Jacey points out that Ecosia would only need about 2% of the global search market to meet their goal.
Jacey: “It’s a bit scary how much of the market is controlled by Google. We all need to remember that there are alternatives and that we all have an option.”
Though Ecosia provides an alternative search option, their overarching purpose is to provide a meaningful impact. Not only is Ecosia planting a lot of trees—but they’re also targeting their efforts strategically, planting in Burkina Faso, a country that lacks the necessary resources to build its own reforestation programs.
Alongside benefiting the environment, Ecosia’s tree planting initiatives also support local communities by restarting the water cycle, providing a sustainable food alternative and creating a positive ripple effect on health, education and even politics.
It’s safe to say that the B Corporation community does more than just provide an extended purpose to society: it also breaks down preconceived notions of our world as we know it, disrupting the status quo for good.
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Categories: Accountability, Sustainability, The B Series
Excellent article Mellisa!