Back to How We Help Clients

Decarbonization Transformation

Finding and removing carbon across the business system

Approaching net zero requires companies to take a comprehensive look at their systems, from product design and supply chain to manufacturing and operations in order to determine where the carbon is and the best method for removing it.

We work with companies at all stages of maturity to accelerate their journeys toward sustainability. We work side-by-side with our clients to design and implement operational change and deliver improvements that last.

Success requires complex trade-off decisions that span product design, supply chains, industrial processes, distribution networks, circularity, and technology innovation. We help companies identify decarbonization opportunities that work both environmentally and financially.

What we do

Manufacturing and capital expenditures

Our teams review the cost efficiency of the energy and resources used in manufacturing and leverage new sources to create emission-free and waste-free plants.

Product design and innovation

We perform complete product teardowns that include assessing value, resources, product circularity, and emissions, as well as identifying opportunities to substitute lower-carbon/less resource-intensive components without sacrificing performance or margin.

Sourcing and supply chain

We identify the suppliers, technologies, and developers needed to remove carbon from the supply chain, focus on low-carbon procurement and logistics, and improve the carbon footprint of existing suppliers.

Carbon tracking and accounting

We take an enterprise resource planning (ERP) view of how much carbon is being used at each step of the supply chain, targeting areas for the greatest carbon-reduction opportunities, and tracking the transformation’s progress.

Examples of our work

Electric vehicles

We helped a vehicle manufacturer rethink every aspect of its operation—defining the pathway to a zero-carbon product, identifying partnership opportunities, creating an implementation plan—and leveraged our proprietary tools to quantify carbon levels in each material category.

Manufacturing

We worked with a component supplier to reach its CO2 emissions targets by ramping up internal recycling and decarbonizing suppliers. By baselining the status-quo usage of recycled materials, setting recycled-materials targets, and securing recycled material from suppliers, the client dramatically reduced material costs.

Retail

We helped a global retailer wanting to remove megatons of CO2 emissions identify resource efficiency improvements in its supply chain. We onboarded more than 900 suppliers onto our proprietary platform, developed metrics to assess supplier performances, and created a system to flag areas of improvement potential.

Featured Insights

Article

True packaging sustainability: Understanding the performance trade-offs

– Sustainability of packaging materials varies by which sustainability elements are prioritized. Companies in the value chain will need to understand the trade-offs across carbon footprint, recyclability, and waste reduction.
Article

Creating the zero-carbon mine

– Despite a daunting timeline, zero-carbon mines are within reach if the right solutions are implemented.
Article

Net zero or bust: Beating the abatement cost curve for growth

– Companies can both decarbonize and boost long-term growth. But it means pushing beyond abatement curves’ focus on cost and instead empowering people—while making a few big, strategic bets.
Article

The big choices for oil and gas in navigating the energy transition

– As oil and gas companies respond to the current economic discontinuities, they must choose where and how to compete as the world transitions to a low-carbon future.
Report

Why investing in nature is key to climate mitigation

– A new consultation paper from McKinsey and the World Economic Forum explores the role that natural climate solutions can play in helping to address climate change and the destruction of nature.
Article

Design cost-effective, carbon-abated products with resource cleansheets

– Resource cleansheets assess component costs and carbon emissions at the same time—so designers and engineers can model design and production choices without compromising emissions goals.

Connect with McKinsey Sustainability