In 2018, Christian Kroll, Ecosia’s founder, gave a proportion of the company’s shares to the Purpose Foundation. This legally binding framework means that Christian cannot sell his shares because the foundation holds veto rights over the entire company’s shares.
This means that
- Company shares can’t be sold at a profit or owned by people outside of the company.
- No profits can be taken out of the company.
Part of the legal agreement between Ecosia and the Purpose Foundation is that profits must always be invested into climate action. By structuring its business model in this way, Ecosia does not have external pressure from shareholders to increase value, and instead profits must always be invested in the company’s purpose, which is to plant and protect trees.
This arrangement makes Ecosia a so-called “steward-owned company,” meaning that it belongs to its purpose, rather than a person.
You can listen to our podcast episode on this topic here.