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Helping businesses, investors, and governments capture opportunities,
transform operations, manage risk, and drive growth
in an orderly transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy

After more than ten thousand years of remarkable stability—the full span of human civilization—the earth’s climate is changing. The impacts of climate change, such as heat, inundation, pollution, and acute weather events threaten the global economy and local communities. The need to drive rapid decarbonization and reduce waste across production systems is sharper than ever.

Climate change requires policy makers and business leaders to embrace risk management while accelerating both adaptation and decarbonization. All key business decisions need to be examined through the lens of a continuously changing climate.

McKinsey works with clients to create Change that Matters, developing and implementing sustainability strategies based on our extensive sustainability expertise, deep industry knowledge, capital markets expertise, front-line operating experience, and a proven ability to drive organizational transformation.

We work in four main ways to deliver extraordinary impact for our clients and the planet: 

Identify and capture opportunities

Finding pathways to decarbonization, and defining concrete plans to achieve it

Growing new sustainable products and businesses in large growth sustainable markets

Restructuring portfolios to increase exposure to high-value sustainable market positions and reducing risk exposure

Reduce risks

Using proprietary tools and methodologies to assess physical and transition risk

Developing adaptation and resiliency responses to physical risks

Decarbonizing to net zero emissions by 2050 across the economy, managing regulatory changes, adopting rapid technology innovation, and adapting to shifting demand for products

Transform operations and supply chains

Driving operational transformations, based on resource intensity, including changes to governance processes, supply chains, and investment priorities

Implementing circular-economy principles to support sustainable growth

Raise and reallocate capital

Developing compelling capital development programs for resiliency and sustainable innovation

Leveraging sustainability strategies to drive value creation

Creating new financial products and strategies focused on sustainable investing

Realigning credit policies and capital allocation practices to capture opportunities and reduce risk



projects in the past 3 years


clients served across ~70 countries


colleagues with deep expertise and diverse backgrounds

Examples of our work

McKinsey has extensive experience in helping businesses, governments, and nongovernmental organizations across sectors define and realize their sustainability goals.

An Eastern European city tackles carbon abatement

We worked with a major city to identify a potential abatement of 2.5 million tons or more of CO2 equivalent per year by 2030 to help it reach ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Our analysis determined the potential impact and cost of a range of abatement measures.

Finding alternatives to plastic packaging

For a multinational food company, we identified up to €200 million in annual savings from the use of more sustainable materials, focusing on the on the sustainability, cost, supply-and-demand dynamics, and recycling potential of alternatives to plastics.

Shifting from fossil fuels to green energy

We helped a European energy company create a profound shift in carbon emissions, with an 82 percent reduction in CO2 emissions as well as a positive impact on operating profit. To do this, we defined a strategy to shift from reliance on fossil fuels to 100 percent reliance on renewables by 2025.

Identifying opportunities related to climate change for a private-equity fund

We worked with a Scandinavian private-equity fund to investigate global sectors, identifying relevant trends, prioritizing investment themes, selecting subsectors—including US residential solar—and developing a list of investment targets.

More from this practice

McKinsey Center for Future Mobility

Brings together cross-functional expertise to deliver leading-edge insight to help shape the future of mobility-related industries and the public sector. We are passionate and curious about the emerging opportunities in mobility.

Featured capabilities

Energy Insights

A source of analytics, market insights, and performance benchmarking to help businesses and investors manage uncertainty and make effective decisions


Data-driven decision making across the agriculture and food value chains

Knowledge partnerships

McKinsey works with leading institutions to develop distinctive thought leadership and convene partnerships that tackle problems that any one institution alone could not. We bring the best of our firm’s knowledge, expertise, and analysis to identify innovative solutions.

Building a circular economy with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

For several years, McKinsey has partnered with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to build a fact base on the economic and environmental benefits of a circular economy. This work has resulted in three recent publications: The circular economy opportunity for urban and industrial innovation in China, “A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future,” and The new plastics economy: Rethinking the future of plastics.

Establishing a framework for fostering effective energy transitions with the World Economic Forum

We have partnered with World Economic Forum (WEF) on scaling sustainability solutions across a number of sectors, including agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and mobility. For example, during a three-year knowledge partnership with WEF, McKinsey analyzed the performance of 114 countries’ energy systems and their readiness for a transition to a lower-carbon future. The work resulted in a new methodology, an open-access tool, and the report Fostering effective energy transition: A fact-based framework to support decision-making. We also partnered with WEF to provide analytical support for a vision for a sustainable battery value chain to unlock the full potential to power sustainable development and climate-change mitigation and are part of the WEF-supported Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment.

Featured Insights

Report - McKinsey Global Institute

Climate risk and response: Physical hazards and socioeconomic impacts

– How could Earth’s changing climate impact socioeconomic systems across the world in the next three decades? A yearlong, cross-disciplinary research effort at McKinsey & Company provides some answers.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Redefining the power industry

– Quick takes on the pressures posed by climate change—and potential responses.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Five ways that ESG creates value

– Getting your environmental, social, and governance (ESG) proposition right links to higher value creation. Here’s why.

Sustainability at a tipping point

– Climate impacts over the next decade are largely locked in, but future impacts depend on decarbonization action over the next... two decades. Tackling the challenge will present new opportunities for growth, innovation, and resilience investment—here are five action areas that can push sustainability in the right direction.

The future of food: Meatless?

– Plant-based “meat” is all the rage. But is it just a fad? In this edition, The Next Normal peers into the... future of meat and protein consumption.

Earth to CEO: Your company is already at risk from climate change

– The next decade is decisive. Acting now to prepare your enterprise for climate change will pay off.

Agriculture plays a critical role in limiting the impact of climate change

– As a major contributor to methane and nitrous oxide emissions, agriculture is key to fighting global warming. But policy makers... are largely ignoring it.
Interactive - McKinsey Quarterly

Five Fifty: Slow burn

– It’s axiomatic that as economies grow, energy demand increases at a similar rate. But renewables may finally break the connection.

Expanding electric-vehicle adoption despite early growing pains

– The latest analysis of our Electric Vehicle Index shows the global electric-light-vehicle industry continues to make solid progress.... To accelerate growth further, several hurdles need to be overcome.

About Us

Change that Matters

At McKinsey we’re driven to create Change that Matters. Learn what it means for you, and meet the people who create it.

Connect with our Sustainability Practice