McKinsey launches sustainability and ESG consulting practice

27 May 2021 2 min. read

Management consulting firm McKinsey & Company has announced the foundation of a new platform aimed at helping clients across industries transform their sustainability function. McKinsey Sustainability aims to help clients get to net zero by 2050, and to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030.

From countries and companies to individuals, tackling climate change has finally come to sit at the top of the world’s agenda. Since the Paris Agreement, nations around the world have been issuing net-zero targets – with net-zero meaning achieving a balance between the greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere and those taken out – by 2050.

In line with this, a raft of professional services firms have set their own net-zero targets within varying time frames. These include the Big Four, and the MBB. However, one thing that has been increasingly made apparent is that while the direct carbon footprint of consulting work is important, it pales in comparison to the amount of emissions firms could cut out of the atmosphere if they worked to help their clients with their own net-zero ambitions.

McKinsey launches sustainability and ESG consulting practice

To that end, McKinsey & Company has launched a new practice specialising in sustainability and ESG work. McKinsey Sustainability will focus four key decarbonisation levers, which include helping clients to drive a ‘brown to green’ transition of the global economy’s installed base; building new green businesses and innovations; retiring and repurposing the highest carbon intensity assets; and scaling nature-based solutions by scaling voluntary and compliance carbon markets.

The news sees McKinsey commit to investing in the platform over the next four years, focusing on client service, knowledge and capability building, alliances, pro-bono investments, and acquisitions. Earlier in 2021, this led to the acquisition of sustainability firm Vivid Economics, adding a team of around 130 consultants and staff to McKinsey in the UK, the Netherlands and the US – along with a number of other capabilities which will now be bundled into the new offering.

According to outgoing Global Managing Partner Kevin Sneader, McKinsey Sustainability’s launch comes as McKinsey aims to be the “largest private sector catalyst for decarbonisation.” More than 1,000 McKinsey colleagues have already joined the platform, and in the long-term the firm is aiming to position McKinsey Sustainability as the leading impact partner and advisor for clients across their businesses, on sustainability, climate, energy transition, and ESG.

Sneader stated, “The transition to a net-zero economy will increase the basis of innovation and competition. Those who act now will be advantaged, and we will help our clients ensure they are among these sustainability leaders… When it comes to fighting climate change the time to engage is now. We are determined to do our part and help others achieve the change that is needed and needed urgently.”