Skip links

Social Impact Documentaries to Watch in 2023

In an era when business success is no longer solely measured by financial gain, corporations are more aware than ever of their role within society. To keep up, we need to be aware of the issues that people care about.

A powerful way to engage with the societal and environmental challenges we face is through the lens of documentary films. This videos brings us face-to-face with realities that can be both humbling and transformative, offering a window into the pressing issues that corporations have the power to address.

These films will not only educate but also inspire meaningful action. So sit back, press play, and prepare to be moved. These are the social impact documentaries of 2023 that every business needs to see.

1. A Plastic Ocean

As you may have guessed from the title, this film focuses on the mass amounts of plastic littering our oceans. While it first came out in 2016, the sad reality is that it remains relevant today, seven years later. 

Watch this documentary to learn more about how scientists first uncovered the crisis.

2. The True Cost

A documentary on fast fashion. The True Cost is an eye-opening film that delves deep into the heart of the question: What’s wrong with the fashion industry? It implores the audience to look past the quick and cheap buys to see the matter at hand. 

Along with this, the film offers expert opinions and insights from the people who create clothes themselves.

3. The New Breed

This documentary follows three young people on a mission to start their own businesses. It involves a lot of interviews that reveal how the three hope to tackle poverty, homelessness, and pollution through entrepreneurship.

The film is titled following a new type of business person emerging today: the social entrepreneur. This concept is further broken down in the show itself, so give it a watch if you’re curious.

4. Real Value

A documentary partly on economics, mostly on what it means to have an enterprising mind. It features interviews with several entrepreneurs and business owners from around the world.

One message highlighted in the film is that businesses can and should contribute more to the world than products; the highest goal of any venture should be to make a meaningful impact outside of profit.

5. Wasted: The Story of Food Waste

At the time this documentary was made in 2017, data showed that about 1.2 billion tonnes of perfectly edible food are being thrown out every single year. Unfortunately, the planet’s food waste problem has only gotten worse since then, making this film still very relevant today.

The film also explores concrete solutions that viewers can start trying independently. It’s a must-watch for anyone in the food and beverage industry.

6. Living on One Dollar

This documentary follows the story of four friends who travel to Guatemala to try living on one dollar for eight weeks. It sounds impossible because it is. They end up having to fight hunger, parasites, and illnesses as they put themselves through the dehumanization of living in poverty. 

It’s an eye-opening film, that will remind viewers of their privilege in the world.

7. Miss Representation

This 2011 documentary looks into sexism and the objectification of women in positions of power in America. With more than a decade since its release, it’s worth watching to see how times have changed, and whether the issues it tackles still persist today.

8. Codegirl

A documentary that was a breakthrough for its time, Codegirl, followed the stories of different high school girls who pursued a passion for technology to help improve their communities. This came out when the gender gap in tech and science-based jobs was wider than ever, thereby making it a must-watch for anyone hoping to make a change in the industry.

Times have changed, but the film is still worth watching to see how much we have progressed since then—and how far we still have to go.

9. Chasing Coral

Another must-watch that remains relevant today, Chasing Coral unveils the unprecedented rate at which coral reefs around the world are disappearing.

The narrative revolves around divers, photographers, and scientists who set out on a mission to uncover what’s happening to the reefs in hopes of saving them.

10. Thank You for the Rain

This documentary follows the story of a Kenyan farmer over the course of five years. The farmer documents the hardships he and his family have endured and just how much climate change has impacted his entire community.

Staying informed can be a heavy job, especially today where tragic news can be delivered to us in an instant. Still, these difficult realities offer depth and insight that can teach us to be compassionate, understanding, and driven to make a difference for the people who face such challenges around the world.

Watching social impact documentaries can be the first step. After all, awareness is the start of making a change.

M2.0 Communications is a PR company in the Philippines that helps brands tell compelling and meaningful stories. M2.0 provides public relations services including PR advisory, reputation management, influencer management, and video production. Learn more about the brands we’ve worked with by visiting our Clients page.

Share this post on: