Back to 2021 ESG Report

A letter to all our stakeholders

While this report focuses on 2021, today we face a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and beyond. Like others, we have mobilized to tackle the consequences of a horrific war, including by stopping our work in Russia, relocating our people, and contributing $28 million—inclusive of our $18 million cash donation to relevant organizations and our $10 million commitment in pro bono support. We hope for a path to peace and to the rebuilding of lives and livelihoods.

Reflecting on 2021

2021 was an extraordinary year as forces reshaped society, business, and the communities where we live and work. We saw progress in battling COVID-19, renewed commitment to our planet, and remarkable human resilience in balancing work, life priorities, and societal needs. It was a year when companies led with courage and took greater responsibility to benefit all stakeholders.

It was also a year of personal transition as I became McKinsey’s global managing partner. In my role, I see that the leadership challenge of this moment is to accelerate sustainable and inclusive growth for the world. We too often talk about trade-offs between growth on one hand and societal benefits on the other. I believe the future belongs to those who can drive growth that is both sustainable and inclusive. At McKinsey, we are working to do so with purpose.

Enabling sustained growth

We believe that growth is necessary to secure increased prosperity and well-being for everyone. We drive growth as a holistic impact partner for our clients. We also drive growth through initiatives like our McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility. Along with driving growth, building resilience for our clients, society, and ourselves is a priority. Overlapping global disruptions are exhausting organizations, their people, and economic buffers. Therefore, building resilience is essential.

Innovating to net zero

We aspire to be the world’s largest private sector catalyst for decarbonization. In 2021, we partnered with over 400 clients to support their climate transition and ESG journeys. We are pursuing science-based targets to decarbonize our own operations by 2025 and achieve net-zero impact by 2030. We continue to innovate our client service and create insights that help define the problem and shape the solution, such as our report on The Net-Zero Transition outlining what it will take to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Increasing inclusion

We aim to create economic opportunity to reduce inequalities and enable inclusive growth. By investing in human capital in the same way we invest in physical capital, we can foster workforce diversity and reskill or upskill people so they can thrive. As well as advising clients on diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are making progress across our firm—in 2021, we elected our most diverse class of partners and senior partners.

Setting the standard for our profession on accountability and compliance

We continue to strengthen our risk management processes and culture. We now have an “industry-first” client service policy that requires we evaluate every engagement and client to determine if we will meet the high expectations and ethical standards our clients and others have of us—and we have of ourselves.

On behalf of our 38,000+ colleagues in more than 65 countries, I am proud of the significant steps we have taken on our Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) journey this past year. We have a new ESG framework that builds on our sustainable, inclusive growth ambition, established an ESG Council to maintain a sharp focus, and we continue to evolve our external reporting—including aligning with the Task Force for Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations for the first time.

Throughout this report, you will find details about the progress we are making. While I am proud of what we have accomplished, I am even more excited for what is still to come.

Bob Sternfels, Global Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company