Environmental non-profit Delterra spins out of McKinsey.org

29 November 2021 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read
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Social development foundation McKinsey.org has guided the birth of a new independent environmental spin-off, Delterra, which will continue a successful recent recycling initiative.

A new environmental not-for-profit focused on waste management and recycling solutions in emerging economies has spun out of McKinsey & Company’s social development foundation McKinsey.org, which seeks to incubate scalable responses to some of the world’s greatest societal challenges.

After successful programmes conducted in Indonesia and Argentina since 2019, the foundation’s Rethinking Recycling initiative will now continue on through Delterra. “We are particularly proud of all that the Rethinking Recycling team has accomplished,” said Jon Garcia, senior partner and McKinsey.org chair.

Delterra - By the Numbers

“In just three years, they moved from concept to pilot to scaling in two complex geographies – and most recently, developing new approaches in the midst of a global pandemic. As Rethinking Recycling transitions out of McKinsey.org to Delterra, we look forward to supporting them throughout their next chapter of impact and growth.”

First conceived in 2018 to help address the 3.5 million tonnes of waste generated daily across the planet, the Rethinking Recycling programme has over the course of its scale-up provided access to segregated daily waste collection services to almost 250,000 people, most of them for the first time. The aim for the newly launched Delterra is to now extend its flagship programme and those figures to 15 million people living in countries across Asia, Latin America and Africa by 2025.

To achieve this goal, Delterra has assembled a team of more than 60 global and local staff, and will be backed by both the business management and problem-solving nous of founding partner McKinsey & Company as well as its people, with McKinsey consultants given the opportunity to commit to six months to a year as fellows with Delterra.

In addition, McKinsey.org will provide the organisation with $6 million in multi-year funding together with a $3.5 million challenge grant.

Delterra, which will over time introduce further initiatives to its portfolio, is headed by president and CEO Shannon Bouton, a fifteen-year McKinsey veteran and trained conservation biologist who served as the founding COO of McKinsey’s Center for Business & Environment and most recently as CEO and president of McKinsey.org. Other senior Deltarra leaders drawn from McKinsey’s ranks include Director of Knowledge Cynthia Shih and regional director for Asia, Ella Flaye.

“We are a very different organisation today than when we first formed in 2018 as part of McKinsey.org,” said Bouton. “In many ways, adopting a new name and identity of our own is the next logical step in our growth journey. We are thrilled that our programmes will continue to operate in our new home, as the team and I are very excited to create the next phase of impact and to deliver Delterra's mission of redesigning human systems at scale for the good of people and the planet.”


Delterra is the second major entity spin out of McKinsey.org since its establishment in 2014, following the 2017 independent launch of youth employment non-profit Generation. Since its inception, Generation’s skills development programmes have graduated 50,000 young people around the world, with over 80 percent employed within three months.

To date, McKinsey has provided some $100 million worth of in-kind and financial support, and this year committed $30 million more.