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Our theory of change

Planting mangroves near Kingston, Jamaica

Our theory of change sets out why the work we do matters, and how we’re going to get from where we are to where we need to be. Why is building a social mandate for climate action so important? We’re convinced we cannot tackle climate change without broad-based public engagement. 

Responding to climate change requires accelerated action across society and around the world, by placing people at the heart of tackling this critical issue.

Technological advances as well as regulations, policies and laws are necessary for tackling climate change but these won’t work in the long term without the active engagement and buy-in of citizens. This informed consent for action is what’s known as a social mandate – and we believe it’s how real change happens. 

Download our theory of change

Check out Climate Outreach’s 90 second animated video introducing our theory of change!

A social mandate underpins climate action


Our contribution to building a social mandate

There are three critical elements that combine to generate a social mandate for climate action: cross-societal concern, lack of polarisation and concern turned into action. Our mission is to help achieve these via three complementary approaches:

  • mobilising understanding of how to best engage key audiences with climate change actions and ensuring research drives significant impact.
  • motivating a diverse range of communities through supporting communicators, organisations and trusted messengers to effectively engage key audiences through informed practices.
  • promoting the importance of informed public engagement to decision-makers, and the centrality of people-based approaches in successfully tackling climate change to governments, public bodies, civil society and funders.

How our work fits in the big picture can be summarised in the diagram below.

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The longer read

If you’d like to read more about our approach, we’d also recommend ‘Talking climate: from research to practice in public engagement’. In this book, our former Director of Programmes and Research Dr Adam Corner and our Executive Director Jamie Clarke present our five principles for public engagement that will propel climate change conversation into the mainstream.0

Reports & guides

Reports & guides

Book: Talking climate – from research to practice in public engagement

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