McKinsey acquires sustainability consultancy Vivid Economics

08 March 2021 3 min. read
More news on

In its fourth acquisition in 2021, McKinsey & Company has closed a double swoop in the UK aimed at beefing up its sustainability and climate change capabilities. 

The acquisition of Vivid Economics adds a team of around 130 consultants and staff to McKinsey in the UK, the Netherlands and the US, the largest majority of which are based in London. Founded in 2006 by Robin Smale and Cameron Hepburn with the aim of filling the gap between traditional economics and management consultancies, Vivid Economics is a consultancy specialised in strategic advisory and economic policy for sustainability topics. 

The consulting firm supports client globally on, among others, market design, economic regulation, sustainable development, net zero transitions, renewable energy, climate resilience, carbon markets and transaction advisory. 

McKinsey acquires sustainability consultancy Vivid Economics

McKinsey has also purchased Planetrics, a subsidiary of Vivid Economics that provides data analytics services and solutions for climate change scenario planning in the financial services industry. London-based Planetrics has a team of around 10 professionals. 

“This acquisition will enable us to help clients across all sectors and geographies transform themselves to successfully navigate the risks and opportunities presented by the economy-wide transition to a more sustainable future,” said Dickon Pinner, a senior partner at McKinsey & Company

According to research from McKinsey, while climate change is impacting businesses and societies around the world, as a result increasingly becoming a top priority for corporates and politicians, successfully transitioning to a more sustainable future is notoriously challenging. “It requires deep expertise and powerful analytics,” said Pinner. 

This is where the joining of forces comes in. McKinsey’s is one of the globe’s top strategic consulting firms, advising CEOs and government leaders on navigating the implications of climate change and the transformation towards net-zero carbon emissions. The consulting firm also has a digital wing, which houses its advanced analytics unit. 

For Jason Eis, CEO of Vivid Economics and Chairman of Planetrics, this was one of the main reasons to join McKinsey. “McKinsey has been a leading voice in sustainability and climate change.” 

Meanwhile, Vivid Economics has over the past fifteen years developed into one of the leading players in the sustainability economics consulting space. “They will bring expertise, analytics, and experience to our firm, and accelerate our existing Sustainability and Risk & Resilience capabilities and talent,” according to McKinsey. 

“Embedding climate risk factors into every sector has now become an imperative. Together we share a common desire to positively impact business and society,” concluded McKinsey senior partner Cindy Levy. 

Deals by McKinsey

The UK deal is McKinsey’s fourth this year, following two acquisitions down under that beefed up its digital practice, and a deal in the US that added a 150-strong cloud consultancy team. The moves signal a departure from McKinsey’s traditional growth strategy, which prefers organic growth to bolt-ons. Between 2015 and 2020 McKinsey acquired less than ten firms.