October 27, 2021—Reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 will require the largest economic reorganization in human history. We believe meeting that goal requires engaging with high-emitting sectors to help them transition. Walking away from these sectors might appease some critics, but it would do nothing to solve the climate challenge.
We have supported clients on sustainability and ESG for more than a decade, and in April 2021 we founded a new client-service platform, McKinsey Sustainability, to further expand this work across all clients and industries. Meanwhile, we have been carbon neutral since 2018 and are one of the first professional services firms to have a validated science-based target to reduce GHG emissions in line with a 1.5°C pathway.
The IPCC estimates there will be ongoing demand for fossil fuels globally through at least 2050. Until the demand for that energy wanes and alternatives fully scale, billions of people around the world, especially in emerging economies, will rely on the jobs, energy, and materials that companies in hard-to-abate sectors provide. Even as we help to promote and scale sustainable alternatives, we will continue to support clients on their core operations because we believe that affordable energy and rising living standards are essential to people thriving everywhere and should not be reserved only for those in wealthy economies.
The Times references a letter sent by our colleagues more than six months ago. After this letter was sent, our leaders engaged with our colleagues to address their questions and explain our firm's ongoing commitments on sustainability. The issues raised in our colleagues' letter had already been addressed at the time the letter was sent.
Achieving the goal of net zero by 2050 will require action from all stakeholders and we are committed to doing our part.