Our Impact

A Cultural Strategy Initiative

The Climate Story Unit is a cultural strategy initiative that supports transformative storytelling that advances a climate just and safe world. Our approach to cultural strategy is inspired by the following quote that beautifully describes the relationship between stories, narratives and culture.

Stories are like stars.

Individual, shiny and bright, they move and inspire us.

Narratives (and narrative systems) are a collection of stories in the same way that constellations are a collection of stars.

Stories can be connected together into narratives, like stars can be connected together into constellations, making deeper sense and meaning.

A culture, then, is like a galaxy.

Ever expanding and evolving, a culture is comprised, in part, of narratives as the galaxy is comprised, in part, of constellations. The galaxy is where stars and constellations live — it is their home. Likewise, culture is home for story and narrative.

Jeff Chang, Liz Manne,
and Erin Potts.
"Conversation about Cultural Strategy"

The Unit's Goals

We believe creative and compelling narratives strengthen public support for climate priorities and advance the just transition.

The Unit consists of complementary programs working towards the same goals:

  • Expand the pipeline of compelling stories and impact activities that center communities most impacted by the climate emergency
  • Spur new partnerships amongst storytellers, movement leaders, impacted communities and climate experts to mobilize strategic audiences towards action
  • Grow confidence in the power of cultural strategy to address the climate emergency, by advocating to and collaborating with, cultural organizations, the media industry, and philanthropy to prioritize climate storytelling

Our Approach To Understanding Impact

Our Design Principles for Understanding Impact

Over 20 years of helping articulate and develop field practice, Doc Society has evolved methodologies to both make impact and deliver impact evaluations. We've undertaken a transformative journey to refine our approach to impact, blending lessons from our legacy at Doc Society with the needs of the communities we serve.

We strive for our impact tools and processes to be:

  • Holistic, capturing the collective strength of the Unit’s interconnected programs, grantees and activities
  • Dynamic, recognizing cultural change is ever evolving
  • Practical in utility, both for our grantees, team and partners
  • Useful in application, all collected data and insights should have a clear purpose and help our grantees, Doc Society, and the field be more effective and impactful
  • Adaptable, our team must always remain open to evolving our approach, especially if it doesn’t work for our community

Our Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework (MEL)

In 2023, we developed a comprehensive MEL framework designed to understand the Unit’s collective impact. Through a holistic approach, we track how the Unit’s interdependent programs contribute to five key outcomes, with defined activities and key performance indicators (KPIs).

Dive into the details with our comprehensive chart, exploring specific activities and KPIs for each program and activity.

Comprehensive MEL Chart

Tracking Impact Across The Programs

The Climate Story Labs

The Climate Story Labs (CSL) are a series of locally organized gatherings that convene regional networks of practitioners to define and elevate new narratives. They are hosted by local cultural organizations with whom Doc Society supports to design and adapt the convening to local contexts.

These labs are focussed around the same core question - what are the stories we need now in this region to advance the transition, and who do we need to partner with to ensure these stories reach their target audiences? As of December 2023, 17 CSLs have been held around the world, including in the Brazilian Amazon, East Africa, South Asia, MENA, US, UK and Scandinavia.


Each CSL host shares a public report out, an essential tool to help the broader field understand the key insights and dynamics of each region. To support this process, we developed a Shareback Form to help CSL hosts develop their reports and also capture important activities and KPIs for our MEL framework.

Dive into the tapestry of insights and transformative moments from CSLs across the globe:

The Climate Story Fund

The Climate Story Fund is one of a kind in the media ecosystem, supporting storytellers across the globe working on a range of mediums by providing up to $150,000 grant funding for production, distribution and impact activities. We champion our grantees by providing tailored support aligned with their unique project goals, the diverse thematic, geographical, distribution, and the financial contexts they navigate. Each grantee is selected for creative excellence and its impact potential, as judged by the global team at Doc Society and an expert panel including movement leaders, social scientists, and climate communication strategists.

As of December 2023, over $3.3 million has been directly awarded to grantees. You can see the application questions here.

Helping Grantees Understand their Impact

Each Climate Story Fund grantee attends a virtual Impact Lab, providing an opportunity to dive into the fundamentals of how storytelling can reach and activate strategic audiences, and to build connections with fellow storytellers, climate and strategic communication experts, and impact practitioners. In addition, we pair each grantee with an experienced Impact Producer who can help them develop their impact strategy and corresponding deliverables. Over the years we have refined our grantee’s deliverables with the hope that they are additive tools to help them easily understand and articulate their learnings, pivots, and long standing impact.

A Sampling of Impact Resources for Storytellers:

  • The Production and Impact Plan This is a guide for storytellers on their process of production, and their impact implementation pathway.
  • Monitoring, Evaluation and Learnings Guidelines This document helps understand how a project can create intended (and unintended) impact. It provides an evidence-based picture of the impact their project achieved.
  • The Impact Braintrust Planning Guide This guide helps to accelerate the impact planning process for the projects by gathering diverse perspectives and insights from stakeholders.

Mapping the Grantee’s Impact Journey

For the Doc Society team to better understand our portfolio of grantees and their journey to create impact within the realm of the Unit’s goals, we’ve created an internal resource, The Pyramid. Every storytelling project impacts strategic audiences and communities in a specific way, over time. We recognise that success looks different for each project and we cannot use the same ‘ruler’ to measure all grantees. The Pyramid is a dynamic tool that our team notes and updates where grantees are on their impact journey.

Learning Best Practices from Climate Story Fund Grantees

Dive into these video case studies and witness the evidence of the impact projects can achieve.

El Tema (Webseries, Mexico)

The People vs Climate Change (Feature Documentary, United Kingdom)

Radio Savia (Podcast, Colombia and Mexico)

For more video content on climate storytelling and Labs programming visit our Climate Story Unit Vimeo Channel

Climate Story Kitchen

The Climate Story Kitchen is an experimental space to test and iterate new models in climate storytelling.

The following are some of the insights highlights from these initiatives:

Australian Broadcast Corporation
Your Planet Shorts

The Your Planet Shorts collaboration between Doc Society and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) addressed a void of climate storytelling in Australia's media.

In selecting 11 diverse filmmaking teams, including three being completely led by First Nations storytellers, "Your Planet Shorts" prioritized narratives that highlighted solutions from communities on the frontlines of the climate emergency. Each team participated in an Impact Lab to understand how to engage their target viewers effectively, emphasizing climate solutions and feasible actions in topics including safety for wildlife, sustainable energy solutions or marine ecosystems to name a few. These impact strategies accompanied notable premiere and distribution milestones, including debuting at the prestigious Sydney Film Festival and being broadcasted on ABC TV and ABC iView weekly, garnering an impressive average audience of 78,000 viewers per short film. This wide-reaching impact highlights the potential of collaborative short film projects to resonate with diverse audiences and drive meaningful conversations around climate and environmental solutions.

Watch Your Planet Shorts here :

Watch Here

Read the the full report on this initiative here:

Read More

Mothers of Invention Podcast

Mothers of Invention, a humorous podcast launched in June 2018, delves into climate change through a feminist lens. Hosted by Mary Robinson (first female president of Ireland, former head of UN Human Rights Commission and chair of The Elders), comedian - writer Maeve Higgins and producer Thimali Kodikara, this podcast shines a spotlight on diverse women globally — politicians, farmers, scientists, activists — solving climate challenges. Across its three seasons the podcast aimed to combat apathy and despair, center leaders of color, and amplify diverse female voices. With over 1 million downloads, the podcast pioneered a "climate culture" with intersectionality, humor, and respect, steering towards a climate-just and feminist future.

Listen to podcast here