The environmental community

In June 2008 the organization responsible for the Internet’s domain names decided to allow anyone to apply to create new domain endings (e.g. .org, .com,). In response, the environmental community began to organize to put forward an application for .eco. The environmental community has existed at a global level for decades. Most notably since the founding of the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 1948. It is recognized in international law and represented at most levels of government around the world. Businesses, nonprofits and individuals all play a role in working to achieve the community’s goal of environmentally sustainable development.

How we designed .eco

While united around a common goal, many within the community vary in their views as to how to achieve it. Because of this, .eco presented a unique challenge. How could the community account for the need to put boundaries around .eco while still allowing for innovation? To define policies that would govern .eco, the coordinators embarked on an ambitious consultation and negotiation process. From 2009-2012 the community convened regularly to develop its .eco application. A detailed timeline and background documentation – including reports from the meetings where available – follows. From 2012 to the present the Community Organization has remained focussed on supporting the application and ensuring its success.

There’s more to do

Years of work went into creating a quality community .eco application. Now that it is approved the real challenge begins. The policies and proposals designed over years of negotiation will need to be implemented around the world. We expect continued debate about how to best use .eco, so there’s still lots of opportunity to get involved.

1. Outreach

In late 2008, a number of interested organizations began exploring the concept of a .eco domain. Open and transparent engagement of community organizations was initiated in an effort to understand how to manage .eco responsibly.

2. Consultation

Town hall style meetings with environmental groups in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America – all designed to gather information and perspectives to inform policy discussions about how to ensure .eco reflects the community’s values and goals.


3. Negotiation

The creation of an independently mediated multi-stakeholder council of environmental groups to distill that information into possible consensus policies. A nearly two year negotiation, adhering to community best practice in standards setting, to achieve that consensus.


4. Application

The translation of that consensus into the ICANN gTLD application framework and the submission of an application endorsed by all partners and broadly supported by a diverse coalition of environmental organizations, businesses, and individuals.

5. Evaluation

The .eco application is evaluated against an established set of criteria by external expert panels. Financial, technical, and operational components are scored. As of May 2013, the .eco application had passed financial, technical and operational evaluation. The application passed Community Priority Evaluation in October 2014, ensuring community control of .eco.

6. Launch

The .eco domain launched to the public on a first-come-first-served basis on April 25th, 2017. More information is available at