Online browser extension TreeClicks plants trees for users who shop on its affiliated e-commerce sites, including big names like Amazon, Ebay and ASOS. While shopping itself is not the best decision for the planet- reducing overall consumption would be the most eco-conscious choice- the extension would enable those who are online shoppers to alleviate some of the negative environmental impacts of their purchases. As a response to changing consumer preferences for sustainable products and services, more digital solutions have sprung up in recent months to provide ways to mitigate the environmental ills of our consumerist culture.
Founded in August 2019 in the Netherlands by Jelle Bekirovic, TreeClicks is an extension for browsers such as Chrome and Firefox, and helps users who shop online with the plug-in turned on plant trees to mitigate some of the environmental footprint of their purchase. By essentially tracking users’ sales and clicks through the browser, affiliated companies will recognise that TreeClicks brought customers to their website. Using the advertising fees received from these partnered companies for bringing customers to their e-commerce websites, TreeClicks diverts a portion of the revenue to tree planting projects. This means that with no additional cost to users, online shoppers can support reforestation efforts in India.
To date, the startup has already connected with over 50,000 shops all over the world, including major online retail names like Amazon, AliExpress, Linkedin, Booking.com, Airbnb, Expedia, Ikea, and Adidas. According to the company, if all online shoppers in the United States used TreeClicks, they would be able to fund a tree planting project for an area the size of Ireland. To make this resonate even more to the Asia-Pacific region, if every Asian online consumer used the plugin, then TreeClicks could plant enough trees to fill up the entire Norway.
Speaking exclusively to Green Queen, TreeClicks founder Jelle Bekirovic explained that even a fractional uptake could have huge impacts: “The size of the e-commerce industry in Asia is more than 900 billion dollars. If only a tiny percentage of it goes to tree planting, we can plant about 5 billion trees.”
Indeed, in the midst of our climate crisis, any support for tree planting projects would be significant to help counteract the ever-rising carbon emissions we are releasing into the atmosphere. As stated in an IPCC report, we must allow our forests to regenerate because trees importantly absorb carbon dioxide to slow down rising temperatures, and they also play a crucial role in regulating soil quality, water cycles and the health of the wider ecosystem.
Of course, the planetary ideal would be for us all to buy less – especially when it comes to online shopping. However, in some cases, if you do need to purchase something, this plug-in does offer a solution that is as easy as a simple switch, which does not disrupt our daily habits, but could produce change for the planet (and mitigate some of the eco-guilt you might feel).
Amid growing consumer awareness about the destruction we are causing our planet, reflected in the fact that shoppers are looking for products and services that check the box of sustainability when they spend their dollars, more digital platforms are stepping up to use their tech for good.
Ecosia, for instance, is an online search engine that plants trees for each click, all without creating personal profiles based on tracked search history. Now boasting over 7 million active users each month, the platform has managed to plant over 60 million trees across 15 different countries.
While individuals can participate through the green search engine, Hong Kong-based EcoMatcher allows businesses to make an even bigger impact by purchasing entire forests to be planted, which can be viewed virtually on their website as they grow. Like TreeClicks, The Vegan Filter is also a browser extension, but developed to help users find only plant-based groceries, vegan fashion and cosmetics faster.
Lead image courtesy of Big Startups.