Tell Stories


These resources will help you to build a coherent internal and external narrative that supports your company's commitment to sustainability. They will grow your company's capacity for sharing sustainability stories and anecdotes and for expressing your expectations, commitments, and vision around sustainability, as well as your company's acceptance of these practices.

Share this Practice on:LinkedIn

Shaping Your Organisation’s Narrative Infrastructure cover

Shaping Your Organisation’s Narrative Infrastructure

Stories matter, they have an enormous influence on decision-making in organisations.

How often do you stop to reflect on the collection of stories that get told in your organisation and whether you might need to shift them to better embed sustainability?

This guide builds on our work on Storytelling for Sustainability and is based on four years of research and over 100 interviews in twenty different global companies exploring the impact of organisational narratives and how change agents helped to shift them to better support strategic decision-making aligned with sustainability. As with all of our resources, the ideas and guidance presented here have been piloted with several of our partner companies and we welcome your feedback to keep improving them.

Storytelling for Sustainability cover

Storytelling for Sustainability

When people within organisations communicate, they often do it through stories. Combining research with stories from practitioners working to embed sustainability within their organisations, our “Storytelling for Sustainability” guidebook was developed through the Embedding Project's Community of Practice process to help you:

  • Understand what storytelling looks like in practice, and reflect on this in the context of your organisation

  • Develop a sense of why stories are important for embedding sustainability

  • Learn from other practitioners’ experiences with storytelling to better plan your own efforts

Story Structure: 7 Narrative Structures All Writers Should Know cover

Story Structure: 7 Narrative Structures All Writers Should Know

This resource will help you to quickly understand the fundamentals of narrative structure, and provides a detailed review of seven well-established story-telling structures, such as the Hero's Journey and Dan Harmon's Story Circle.

The FrameWorks Institute cover

The FrameWorks Institute

The FrameWorks Institute uses social science methods to develop techniques that will help you to explain sustainability-related topics more effectively, including racial and economic justice, climate change, and health equity. They provide articles and reports on these topics, as well as toolkits, which include practical framing strategies that communication specialists can immediately put to work. These toolkits offer a nuanced assessment of the issue and clear recommendations on first & next steps.

The Science Behind Storytelling cover

The Science Behind Storytelling

Carl Alviani understands the importance of a good story: "…our instinct for story is a survival skill." Humans think, interact, and remember through stories, and yet businesses often overlook this significance when communicating. This article unpacks a simple, effective, and familiar narrative structure that will help you to connect with your audience and grow your understanding of the innate benefits of immersive storytelling.

Want a Better Pitch? Watch This. cover

Want a Better Pitch? Watch This.

Andy Raskin loves to help leaders craft a better strategic story. Here he outlines five things that you should address in every pitch, and he includes an evocative example of Elon Musk delivering a presentation with this framework to help you follow along.

Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling cover

Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling

Humans are social creatures, and so it should come as no surprise that our brain chemistry plays a strong role in how we tell - and perceive - stories. This brief article from Paul J. Zak discusses the nuanced relationship between narrative and neurology, and how people are particularly compelled by stories that build tension and empathy.

Transforming the stories we tell about climate change: from 'issue' to 'action' cover

Transforming the stories we tell about climate change: from 'issue' to 'action'

This article explores the misconception that climate change dread is a necessary precursor for action and behavioural change. It will help you to take action-oriented approach to storytelling that supports people's agency and leverages their stories as a positive narrative structure.

Future of Storytelling cover

Future of Storytelling

This annual conference brings together thought-leaders and practitioners on the evolution of storytelling. The Youtube channel includes a number of thought-provoking stories and interviews that may generate ideas on how to craft and share your company's story.

Selling Sustainability: Primer for Marketers cover

Selling Sustainability: Primer for Marketers

Consider passing this primer to your marketing department. It offers insight into how they can be more strategic when communicating the functional, emotional, and social sustainability-related values of your products. The primer was published by the Futerra and BSR Sustainable Lifestyle Frontiers Group, a collaboration between Johnson & Johnson, AT&T, Waste Management, Carlsberg, Walmart, L'oreal, McDonald's, eBay, and Disney.

Colloquium on Sustainability Marketing cover

Colloquium on Sustainability Marketing

With the explosion of interest in building sustainable brands with "green" and cause-based marketing, the Colloquium on Sustainability Marketing at Yale addresses the challenges of creating environmentally sustainable products, services, and brands through video talks with executives from leading organisations including Patagonia and Johnson & Johnson.

Winning the Story Wars cover

Winning the Story Wars

Jonah Sachs knows what makes a story go viral. His book offers insights into what he has learned about viral stories, and how the relationship between storytellers and their audience is evolving. Chapters "The Myth Gap" and "Be interesting: Freaks, Cheats, and Familiars" may be particularly useful for practitioners building their organisation's internal sustainability brand.

Telling Your Public Story: Self, Us, Now cover

Telling Your Public Story: Self, Us, Now

Narratives are a series of “choice points" that often follow an arc, or journey. Marshall Ganz, Senior Lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government and prominent community organizer, explains this arc in this worksheet. Although written for students, this is a good introduction to storytelling for practitioners, and contains useful questions that will help you reflect on how our personal stories are connected to those of the groups we affiliate ourselves with, and more broadly to the stories that shape our society.

Storytelling in Organizations: The power and traps of using stories to share knowledge in organizations cover

Storytelling in Organizations: The power and traps of using stories to share knowledge in organizations

You can leverage stories to share knowledge. This brief from the Harvard Learning Innovations Laboratory offers insight into how we learn from one another's stories. For practitioners working to embed sustainability, the most insightful part of the brief may be “The Traps of Knowledge Sharing Stories,” which explains why stories sometimes fall short of their intended objectives.

Advertising Guidance - misleading environmental claims and social responsibility cover

Advertising Guidance - misleading environmental claims and social responsibility

This guide by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) is designed to help organisations comply with sustainability-related advertising regulations. It covers a wide range of environmental and social claims while providing practical examples. Marketing and communications teams who want to advertise responsibly will find it most useful.

Although this resource was created specifically for businesses within England, it provides helpful insights for any organisation that wants to ensure it does not mislead customers.

Advertising Guidance - misleading environmental claims and social responsibility