How Cartoon Network is using its brand power to educate kids on climate change

The Formula E racing team and the TV channel hope to educate the next generation on how they can protect the planet.

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A new partnership between the Formula E racing team and the children’s TV channel hopes to educate the next generation on how they can protect the planet.

A 2021 research study commissioned by Warner Bros Discovery of kids aged six to 12 across 13 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa showed that over 90% of kids are concerned about climate change. “We had to act on it,” says Warner Bros’ vice-president of brand, comms and digital content strategy, kids EMEA, Monika Oomen.

Working alongside WWF, which assisted in reviewing the scientific information in Cartoon Network’s guides, challenges, videos and games, Oomen explains the channel’s ambition is to enable kids and get them engaged.

“The entire campaign is carefully built around clear values,” she says, “ensuring that the content is informative and explains climate-related issues while at the same time keeping it positive, fun and inspiring. Incorporating beloved characters from fan-favorite Cartoon Network shows into our campaign helps kids to relate to the climate champions’ message and makes the initiative accessible to all ages.”

Oomen adds that the subject of climate change has the potential to be overwhelming for kids. However, Cartoon Network believes it is best placed to educate and offer kids the opportunity to take small, actionable steps under its ‘Climate Champions’ initiative – which includes daily challenges for kids to undertake.

With the help of characters from some of the network’s most popular shows, including The Amazing World of Gumball and Craig of the Creek, children can complete tasks and create real, tangible change in their lives while contributing to a community driving sustainability globally. And it’s seen great success. Since its launch in June 2021, more than 1.5m challenges have been accepted worldwide and this number continues to grow daily, according to Oomen.

The partnership with Formula E racing team, Envision, is the latest example of the network seeking to educate kids – this time on the prevalence of electronic waste (e-waste) – which is set to hit 75m tonnes by 2030. There are opportunities for participation, including the Recover-E-Waste to Race competition, where kids can learn how to design and build a mini–Formula E race car using e-waste. Oomen says Cartoon Network is not only excited to expose kids to the exciting sport that is Formula E but educate them on e-waste, “which we don’t pay enough attention to.”

Sylvain Filippi, managing director and CTO at Envision Racing says that “Envision Racing exists to engage fans and the public on the urgency of the climate crisis with the Race Against Climate Change at the center of our activity. As well as testing new battery technology for cars, we are on a mission to tackle e-waste and to help build a circular economy for electric vehicles.”

Currently, FIA Formula E World Championship is the only sport to be certified net zero carbon since its inception. It has been independently ranked and recognized as the most sustainable sport in the world by the Global Sustainability Benchmark in Sports.

But Oomen adds that Formula E is particularly well-placed to educate kids on climate as it appeals to all genders. “Interestingly, the demographic split for Formula E is 54:46 male-to-female, which makes it the most gender-balanced fanbase among major worldwide sports.”

“Beyond this initiative, Envision Racing – and the Formula E movement overall – do a lot of work to encourage young girls to get into motorsport (and engineering more broadly) through programs like the FIA and Motorsport UK’s ‘Girls on Track’.

“We want anyone to be inspired to participate and put their creativity to the test – tackling climate change needs the ideas and involvement of everyone,” she concludes.

This article was originally published by The Drum. The author is Ellen Ormesher.

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