Lifting the lid on greenwashing – Ecosia launches climate pledge rating to evaluate major companies’ climate action commitments

16 November, 22
Ecosia, the green search engine which uses 100% of its profits to reforest the planet and tackle the climate crisis, has launched a new climate pledge rating feature to help users understand the climate action commitments of major organisations.

Ecosia, the green search engine which uses 100% of its profits to reforest the planet and tackle the climate crisis, has launched a new climate pledge rating feature to help users understand the climate action commitments of major organisations.

The Climate Pledge Rating now appears in the search results of the most-searched companies on Ecosia, including Amazon, Meta and Spotify. The rating analyses the open climate commitments of each company compared to the 1.5°C goal set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The aim is to help users understand the role of individual companies in the climate crisis and help highlight any greenwashing statements.

From highlighting greenwashing to planet-friendly businesses

Ecosia worked with Technische Universität (TU) Berlin to develop the Climate Pledge Rating, as part of the Green Consumption Assistant, which uses machine learning to analyse ecological and social sustainability. It takes into account the open climate commitments of each company, such as pledges to reduce or offset emissions, or sustainability reports. The evaluation doesn’t include business models, instead focusing on the public commitments to reduce direct and indirect emissions.

Ratings are based on a company’s progress, with A the highest rating for the companies that can demonstrate year-on-year reductions in their overall emissions alongside a best-in-class climate pledge. The lowest rating, F, is for businesses that aren’t making progress towards their climate targets, do not have any publicly available information or are actively misleading the public. The rating tool will re-evaluate the climate pledges regularly so the ratings are expected to change as businesses adapt their practices.

This is an expansion of Ecosia’s green leaf icon, launched in 2019, that appears next to planet-friendly websites which now include over 6,500 organisations. Unlike other search engines, which only highlight paid results, the purpose of the Climate Pledge Rating and the green leaf icon is to enable Ecosia’s over 20 million users to detect greenwashing and better understand how each company contributes to the fight against the climate crisis.

The future of green search

With Ecosia now serving half a billion searches each month, the tech company is pioneering green search features to allow its growing user base to be climate active every day. Guided by Ecosia’s dedicated Green Team, the company is focusing its product roadmap on the features that drive real value for its users and the planet and help to open up broad conversations about the climate crisis.

The new feature update will also see the launch of Dark Mode, the most-requested feature from Ecosia’s users. Dark Mode can reduce eye strain and improve battery life, whilst some studies suggest it can also improve productivity.

In addition, Ecosia is adding a new Mental Health Widget to support users during difficult times. If a user searches on Ecosia using specific search terms, shared with us by our partner hotlines, then the Mental Health widget will appear as an information box at the top of the page featuring a phone number and link to one of our partner organisations to help point them in the right direction for help. In the UK this is the Samaritans whilst in Germany, it is Telefonseelsorge Deutschland.

Every search made on Ecosia contributes to the company’s tree-planting efforts. Ecosia has now planted over 160 million trees in biodiversity hotspots across the world and its portfolio consists of over 900 different species. The company is transitioning to 20-year contracts to ensure its trees are monitored and are supported to last, to future-proof the planet for coming generations.

Michael Metcalf, Ecosia’s Chief Product Officer, said: “Global companies know they must publish regular sustainability reports and updates, but so often the reality of their impact is wrapped up in jargon, or hidden entirely. The Climate Pledge Rating brings greater transparency to millions of our users, showing them how effectively these global businesses are fighting the climate crisis. The rating is part of our commitment to green search and providing tools that enable our users to be climate active every day. We want Ecosia to be a platform that supports our users which is why we’re also rolling out Dark Mode for the first time and our new Mental Health Widget to provide trustworthy information to our users when they need it.”

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