NOWU: public media paving the way for a ‘greener web’

A new mobile-first initiative launched by French and German public media organisations aims to engage with younger audiences on climate change issues, and inspire greater sustainability within the media industry.

24 May 2022

NOWU, a new youth-focused offer by France Télévisions and German public broadcaster WDR, to raise awareness of climate change issues. Credit: France Télévisions

France Télévisions and German public broadcaster WDR have launched NOWU, a joint youth service aimed at both engaging younger audiences about climate change and sustainability issues, and public media.

Working closely with young journalists and influencers, the French and German websites and their accompanying Instagram and TikTok accounts provide dedicated content that informs 15-25 year olds about climate change and sustainability issues, while also inspiring and encouraging them to take action.

As climate change issues can often be disheartening and demoralising, Léa Nogier, NOWU’s Project Manager, explained that the brand’s key strategy is to be “as optimistic as possible.” Speaking to PMA, she said that the project’s attitude is that: “Okay, there is a problem, but there is also a solution. And if you are young, you can act on this…” Audiences are therefore informed about key sustainability issues and equipped with tips and solutions to be part of the fight against global warming. NOWU also has a committee, which consists of people from all over France who meet monthly to discuss content and priorities.

But NOWU not only raises awareness about climate change issues. Launched in September 2021, its other joint aim is to encourage media organisations to use digital resources in a more efficient, responsible, and ethical way to reduce power consumption, their carbon footprint and minimise their environmental impact.


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According to France Télévisions, digital technologies and the evolution of digital consumption now represents 4% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide – and it’s growing. For France, the digital industry accounts for 2.5% of greenhouse gas emissions and consumes about 10% of the country’s electricity. This trend has been largely reinforced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the digital transformation of all industries.

As an “eco-responsible brand”, NOWU focuses on the value of ‘digital sobriety’ – that is, making its website “as light as possible” by compressing code and images, collecting no data from users, and excluding video or third-party embeds such as tweets or YouTube videos to heavily reduce its weight and power consumption. Its data metrics have been measured via a tool called GreenFrame, created by digital solution start-up consultancy company Marmelab.

Since launching the new offer, NOWU France has recorded an average of 3000-4000 daily visits to the website, and amassed 18000 Instagram and 7000 TikTok followers.

The multi-pronged approach to tackling global warming – by raising awareness of and acting on it – is what makes NOWU a highly innovative and proactive content offer. As a public media organisation, France Télévisions emphasises that it must “set an example by adopting a commitment to reduce the ecological impact of its offerings.” France Télévisions- like many other public media organisations – is currently improving efforts to “integrate digital sobriety and eco-responsibility” across its wider organisation and products.

“Okay, there is a problem, but there is also a solution. And if you are young, you can act on this…” – Léa Nogier, NOWU Project Manager

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