To build a decarbonized future, McKinsey summit unites infrastructure leaders 

McKinsey held its Global Infrastructure Initiative Summit in Tokyo this year, where leaders gathered to discuss and craft critical actions to create the pathway to sustainable infrastructure. Held over three days, the event drew 200 senior leaders from 128 organizations across investing, construction, energy, transportation, and real estate.

To some, this year’s event felt like a reunion. Many leaders return year after year to the Global Infrastructure Initiative Summit as a forum for knowledge and peer connectivity. “After two years of gathering virtually, it’s been tremendously energizing to see our community back in-person again,” said Shannon Peloquin, McKinsey partner and Global Infrastructure Initiative 2022 co-chair.

For the last ten years, McKinsey's Global Infrastructure Initiative has sought to create trust-based forums for senior decision-makers to scale innovation, forge relationships, and mobilize change in pursuit of sustainable, resilient, inclusive infrastructure. McKinsey serves as the convenor of the community, with the aspiration of creating shared momentum toward smarter, greener infrastructure.

The summit, now in its eighth iteration, has long focused on improving the delivery of essential infrastructure. Today, the Global Infrastructure Initiative is sharply focused on the role of infrastructure in global decarbonization, and the summit agenda strongly represented this shift. The movement toward net-zero is a massive global undertaking, and infrastructure is at the heart of the transition – reaching net-zero will require spending of $9.2 trillion a year on physical assets every year to 2050, with 75 percent of this in mobility, power, and buildings. As such, a decarbonized future must include industry-wide and industry-led changes in the way that infrastructure is conceived.

Last week, GII published the summit’s key ideas and themes in a new report, Sustainable infrastructure: The best ideas from the 2022 GII Summit.

McKinsey builds sustainable infrastructure community at GII Summit
A Tokyo infrastructure site visit at GII Summit.
McKinsey builds sustainable infrastructure community at GII Summit

The report details the findings of the summit, including highlights from each of the summit’s sector-specific roundtables. It dives into the necessity of industry-wide cooperation in order to hit net-zero targets. Among other ideas, the summit again highlighted that the all-encompassing nature of the industry gives it an opportunity to harness the power of collaboration to ensure sustainable and resilient infrastructure.

“We really need to keep our efforts targeted toward net-zero and not underestimate the ability that infrastructure has to be transformative,” said summit attendee Marie Lam-Frendo, CEO of the Global Infrastructure Hub, a G20 initiative that works to advance sustainable and resilient infrastructure.

The pathway to sustainable infrastructure is neither straight nor short. Its successful navigation to reach net-zero emissions is the unrivaled business challenge of a generation of leaders. Bringing them together, this event makes clear, is key to meeting it. “It’s really inspiring to see what happens in this industry globally,” said summit attendee Emiel Roozen, executive board member of TBI Holdings. “This network is so interesting and we can learn so much from each other in this highly fragmented market.” 

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