In honor of Earth Day next week, we are excited to announce that we will achieve net-zero climate impact as a firm by 2030 and that we have joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign, a coalition of corporate leaders taking ambitious climate action. These moves build on the commitments we made in 2018 to reduce emissions, transition to 100 percent renewable electricity, and become carbon neutral by fully offsetting our emissions every year.
“Our planet is at a tipping point, and to avoid the most dangerous and irreversible effects of climate change, we must dramatically reduce emissions over the next ten years—starting now,” says Jop Weterings, our director of environmental sustainability. “Despite the impact of the global pandemic, carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere have continued to rise, and emissions may surge as the economy recovers. At the same time, we’re encouraged by a broader trend where many organizations are investing in longer-term resilience measures that advance environmental sustainability. We are committed to doing our part.”
Pledging to achieve net-zero climate impact means that we are making changes to the way we operate to ensure, within the next decade, the climate-change impact of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions we produce as an organization will be effectively zero.
To reach that goal, we have first set science-based targets (validated by the Science-Based Targets initiative) to reduce our GHG emissions by 2025 in line with a 1.5-degree pathway, the most ambitious goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement. From a 2019 baseline, we will reduce by 25 percent our absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions—those produced by sources we own or control and those from purchased energy. We will also reduce by 30 percent per employee our Scope 3 GHG emissions from business travel by building on lessons learned during the global pandemic and embracing alternative working models as we transition into the next normal.
For our remaining footprint, we will remove carbon from the atmosphere through nature-based solutions that help address both the climate and nature crises, while generating significant additional environmental, social, and economic benefits. We will increasingly focus on projects that remove carbon from the atmosphere, such as reforestation projects, to ensure our remaining footprint is neutralized by 2030, and we will also continue to invest in projects that protect forests. In fact, achieving a 1.5-degree pathway would require nearly halting deforestation by the end of this decade (which would, in addition, also help tackle the rapid loss of biodiversity and ecosystems). During our transition to net zero, we will continue to offset all our emissions by investing in carbon-reduction projects certified to international standards.
The urgency to act has never been clearer, the responsibility to do so has never been greater.Jop Weterings, director of environmental sustainability
Managing our own footprint is only one part of our broader approach to sustainability. We work with our clients to help them transform the sustainability of their operations and build strategies, markets, and partnerships to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon and sustainable-growth economy. We also use our knowledge and capabilities to create and support long-term solutions to environmental challenges. From the greenhouse gas abatement curves we first introduced more than a decade ago, to our more recent research on climate risk and socioeconomic impacts, McKinsey provides a fact base to help decision makers understand the challenges brought on by climate change and how they can be mitigated. We put our research into action through our client work and pro bono support of environmental not-for-profits.
“While we have much to be proud of with respect to our progress and new commitments, we know that we can do more and we are well-positioned to help our clients do more, too,” says Jop. “Recent climate events serve as a reminder. The urgency to act has never been clearer, the responsibility to do so has never been greater.”
To learn more about our efforts to protect the planet, please visit our Environmental Sustainability page.