Why McKinsey Aims to be World’s Top Decarbonisation Catalyst

McKinsey's 2023 ESG Report cover
McKinsey’s 2023 ESG Report reveals 1,720 sustainability engagements with clients and a target to become the largest private-sector decarbonisation catalyst

McKinsey & Co, which has 45,100 employees in 68 countries and a US$16bn annual revenue, is setting its sights on becoming the globe’s top private-sector kick-starter for decarbonisation.

The global management consultancy’s 2023 ESG Report, ‘Accelerating Sustainable and Inclusive Growth for All’, paints a picture of a successful year.

But it is also a statement of intent, with a clear message that McKinsey wants its ESG efforts to grow exponentially.

Bob Sternfels, Global Managing Partner, says: “We aspire to be the largest private-sector catalyst for decarbonisation.”

Bob Sternfels, Global Managing Partner, McKinsey & Co

The 2023 ESG highlights

McKinsey’s report picks out milestones including:

  • 4,600 employees worked on 1,720 sustainability engagements with 761 clients in 67 countries
  • US$156m+ allocated by Frontier buyers, including McKinsey, over four offtake agreements to support carbon removal companies
  • 100% of McKinsey’s air travel emissions are covered by a US$50/ton internal carbon fee to finance carbon-related procurement
  • Served as an impact partner for COP28, driving action that included helping to establish the Oil and Gas Decarbonization Charter. Its 50 members—representing 40 percent of global production—have committed to near-zero methane by 2030.

Daniel Pacthod, Senior Partner, Global Coleader of McKinsey Sustainability, says: “The net-zero transition must be clean, secure and affordable. We are working to make this vision a reality every day.”

Working with clients is the key way that McKinsey can enable this vision. The report picks out some projects from 2023.

Lufthansa Group

Lufthansa and SAP

German airline Lufthansa partnered with SAP to develop a clear view of its data and to integrate multiple sources from across its global business network.

McKinsey’s Spendscape then provided Lufthansa with a full understanding of procurement spend and insights into Scope 3 emissions.

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Unlocking carbon credits with TPG

In another project, McKinsey helped the private equity firm and global alternative asset manager TPG to design a more sophisticated approach to accessing carbon markets.

According to McKinsey’s ESG Report, leaders at TPG Rise Climate ‘saw an opportunity to leverage the tools of more mature markets – diversification, active management, and risk management—to address barriers to scaling efficient voluntary carbon markets’.

They partnered with McKinsey to build the Rubicon Platform to fill critical gaps in the market.

It has the potential to unlock US$50bn of carbon credits in the next decade.

Rubicon Carbon CEO Thomas Montag says: “It’s clear that companies must reduce emissions within their value chain, but to balance remaining emissions that can't be eliminated right now, we also need to scale high-quality carbon credits.

"Rubicon Carbon helps direct corporate funds toward meaningful climate projects in need of capital and moves us closer to reaching the ambitious net zero goals our planet needs."

Starbucks worked with McKinsey on accessible stores

Making Starbucks open to all

The report says: ‘We partnered with Starbucks to create a design framework for more inclusive spaces for people living with disabilities.

‘Future growth plans will include the use of these new accessibility guidelines so that all newly built and renovated Starbucks-operated stores in the United States, including 600 new stores planned in 2024, incorporate these more inclusive design elements.’


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