UWE Bristol turns internet searches into trees by using Ecosia

Issue date: 15 March 2022


Campus trees

The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has switched its default search engine on campus computers to Ecosia, contributing to the planting of thousands of trees around the world.

The move by the university and The Students’ Union (SU) is another step towards planet friendly working at UWE Bristol.       

Ecosia is an alternative to other search engines and commits 100% of its profits to climate action, with at least 80% financing tree-planting projects. It uses the income earned from searches, through advertising, to work with local partners to plant native trees in areas of the world where they are most needed. For every 45 searches carried out on the search engine, one tree is planted.

Paul Roberts, UWE Bristol’s head of environment and sustainability, said: “We are proud to be offering Ecosia as the default search engine for staff and students. By doing so, we are enhancing the university’s actions in response to the ecological emergency. If, at the click of a button, we are enabling the planting of trees worldwide, then we are benefiting both wildlife and people.”

This green shift was initiated by the SU and supported by students and staff at the university. Evan Botwood, president of the SU, said: “The idea was raised by our student sustainability committee who, on the back of successful campaigns at universities across the globe, were wanting positive and quick action. We are delighted that the university is supporting Ecosia - a ground-breaking social company, which puts people and planet before profit.”

By setting up Ecosia as the default search tool, UWE Bristol joins 26 universities globally that have done the same. So far, searches have contributed to the planting of 143 million trees across 35 reforestation sites worldwide, including Brazil, Indonesia and Madagascar. The number of searches is listed beneath the search box every time it’s used, so it is easy to keep track of how many trees have been planted.

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