Save the trees or I’ll break your knees: beware of greenwashing
With the rise of climate change and its enormous impacts on the environment, many companies have turned to the practice of greenwashing, or mistakenly marketing products as environmentally friendly in the hope of making a greater profit.
For this reason, research into the sustainability of some companies needs to be done more than ever. With the popularity of the Ecosia search engine, which touts itself as “the search engine that plants trees”, it is important to delve deeper into the inner workings of the business to determine how well the business is staying true to its ethics. .
According to Ecosia website, the Berlin-based search engine launched in 2009 as a nonprofit that donates all of its income to climate action with at least 80% of the proceeds going to tree planting projects, reporting Financial details and frequent updates on their projects in an effort to achieve full transparency.
The organization plants trees in more than 30 countries, working with local organizations in areas facing widespread threats to biodiversity, and has planted more 500 native plant species in these countries, allowing the diversification necessary to revive and support an ecosystem.
However, as a branch of Microsoft Bing, it is also important to consider the overall environmental impact of Microsoft, which appears to maintain its ethics as it is committed to making all of its operations carbon neutral, according to Atlas of the Future.
That being said, the company has also been accused greenwashing, sponsoring an oil and gas conference the very week they announced their new commitment to the planet. The company has also been named as a defendant in a lawsuit against tech companies over the death and serious injury of children working in Microsoft’s cobalt mines. In the end, Ecosia’s ethics hold true, but it is important to keep in mind the very questionable past of its parent company.
In Comparison at Google and Bing, Ecosia is proving to be the most sustainable and ethical search engine simply because it is a non-profit organization whose funds go directly to the fight against climate change. It looks particularly good against Google contracts with oil and gas companies and frequent tax evasion practices, using offshore subsidiaries. Ecosia, on the other hand, received a very positive note on tax transparency.
Ultimately, it shouldn’t be left to the search engine companies to solve the climate catastrophe. The existence of an organization like Ecosia suggests the immense failure of the government to do its job to the point that private companies must step in to do it for them. Beyond that, however, Ecosia’s reliance on Microsoft still makes the engine flawed, but its mere presence and mission still makes it the most ethical option, as it’s still the only search engine that helps. directly to the planet.
Meg Diehl is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the Columnists do not reflect those of The post office. What are your thoughts? Tell Meg by tweeting her at @irlbug.