Corporate Responsibility

Susann Terheggen


What lasts a long time ... becomes a tree

Alexander Ziemer from the Business Customers division has a project close to his heart: anyone searching for something on the Internet should do something good with it. He and Simone Schlief from Green Pioneers have been working on this for five years - and now the time has come: from April 3, "Ecosia" will be Deutsche Telekom's standard search engine.

Alex, you wanted to establish a green search engine in the Group back in 2019. Why did it take so long?

Alex Ziemer: There were concerns in some places whether employees would perceive it as coercion if we were to prescribe the search engine to them. Because when we define the search engine centrally through Telekom IT, it cannot be individually modified. Therefore, a solution had to be found so that it can be switched back if necessary.

Simone Schlief: By the way, other companies such as Bahn, Coop, and Ernest & Young were more pragmatic in this regard. They took "just do it" to heart - which is actually our motto!

What is actually so green about Ecosia?

Alexander Ziemer and Simone Schlief.

Alexander Ziemer, Business Customers and Simone Schlief, Investor Relations. © Deutsche Telekom

Simone: The profits from the search ads are used for something meaningful. In this case, planting trees where they are urgently needed. Ecosia also stands out for its radical transparency. The monthly financial reports show how much the company has earned and how Ecosia has used its revenues. Another advantage: Ecosia is data protection-friendly. This means no user profiles, no sale of personal data, and "made in Germany".

Will the search engine now be available on all DT computers worldwide?

Alex: At least on all computers supported by Telekom IT. In total, we reach 120,000 Chrome users. When I open the browser, the intranet homepage appears as usual - and when you open a new tab, Ecosia opens and the search through the address bar will also be done through Ecosia. Currently, Ecosia is based on Bing, but is in the process of diversifying its search providers.

Critics say that the search results there are worse than those of the competition. Are there any tricks to get more out of it? 

Simone: According to studies, the results are 90 percent the same. I think the skepticism has to do with your own comfort zone - the presentation of the site is a little different, and that's unfamiliar at first. But you can do something for the environment with just a few clicks. And that in turn feels great!

Alex: If necessary, you can also add a "#g" after your search term - then you'll end up with Google's results. But then, of course, Ecosia doesn't earn any money. And it won't grow a tree. 

Where do you count how many trees we plant with Telekom searches?

Simone: In the YAM group "Green Pioneers," we have a monthly overview. Currently, we are at approximately 120,000 trees. Assuming that on average, 45 search queries lead to one tree, this number is likely to increase significantly due to the transition.


Alexander Ziemer started as a dual student at Deutsche Telekom and now works in the Business Customers division. He is one of the Green Pioneers, a group of colleagues who are voluntarily committed to greater climate protection within the Group.

Simone Schlief works in Investor Relations. Although she is also responsible for sustainability there, she volunteered as a Green Pioneer on the topic of "Ecosia" and worked to convince the Bonn committees.

Girl holding flowers to her eyes.

Corporate Responsibility

Information about the ecological and social commitment of Deutsche Telekom.