Co-op becomes the first major UK retailer to launch initiative with Ecosia: the search engine that plants trees

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Co-op colleagues with internet access and Windows 10 might realise that they’re beginning to type with green fingers. As part of a new system upgrade, the Co-op Technology team – which supports the group – has made Ecosia the group’s default search engine.

Ecosia’s ethical search engine uses revenues from advertising to plant trees in biodiversity hotspots and areas affected by deforestation. This new move makes Co-op the largest UK partner and supporter of the initiative, which has already planted over 114 million trees worldwide, with more than 15 million active users.

The move, which coincides with The Tree Council’s National Tree Week (28 November to 6 December), is expected to raise finances that will contribute towards the planting of up to 23,000 trees in the next three months. This is in addition to the millions Ecosia has already planted and their widespread efforts to offset carbon emissions across the world.

Bob Marchant, Head of Strategic Partnerships within Co-op Technology said: “It was actually one of our Co-op members who made us aware of the great work Ecosia does. As a co-operative we’re run by our members, who continue to be focused on climate change and sustainability. “

“Each search with Ecosia removes roughly 1kg of CO₂ from the air, thanks to its planting scheme, and each individual colleague can each track how many trees they’ve paid for and the small but valuable contribution they’ve made just by searching the internet. “

“What we love is, just as we focus on supporting our communities, so do Ecosia, who plant the trees where they’ll make a real difference.”

The Co-op has an ongoing commitment to deeply reduce its Greenhouse Gas emissions to prevent the most damaging effects of climate change. The group has set itself stretching short-term reduction targets – approved by the Science Based Targets initiative and a coalition of leading environmental NGOs – and has even published its full end-to-end carbon footprint.

It’s new partner, Ecosia, prioritises areas where planting trees will improve biodiversity and enrich the soil for farmers, and is currently planting across 25 countries including Brazil, Australia and Indonesia. Earlier this year, the team launched its first tree-planting project in the UK, to recognise and support the mental health and wellbeing of frontline workers in the pandemic. More than 2,000 trees will be planted around NHS hospitals, which started with Hillingdon Hospital last month.

On the new relationship, Sophie Dembinski, UK Country Manager at Ecosia said: “We’re really excited to work with a conscientious group like the Co-op, that echoes our own values so closely, and in a year that has seen considerable UK growth including the launch of Ecosia’s first UK tree planting project. At Ecosia we see the immense positive impact that collective action can have for people and the planet, which is what the Co-op is also all about.

“We’d like to thank all Co-op colleagues for getting involved and helping us continue to make a real difference to global communities and the environment we all share.”

National Tree Week is an initiative of The Tree Council and takes place between 28th November – 6th December 2020. For more information about The Tree Council or National Tree Week, please visit: www.treecouncil.org.uk