Back to How We Help Clients

Net Zero & ESG Strategy

Helping leaders and organizations rewrite the climate math equation

Several forces have pushed sustainability to the top of the agenda. Investors and financial markets are increasingly demanding a compelling environmental, social, and governance (ESG) plan and a path to net-zero carbon emissions. As expectations rise and global regulations expand, many organizations still don’t have a solution to the current climate math equation.

We help leaders identify the key actions that will get them closer to net zero. We work with them to solve for all key variables in the sustainability equation: carbon emissions, financial performance, capital investment, and societal impact. We diagnose their current sustainability positions, establish quantitative baselines, define clear aspirations, and design actionable sustainability plans.

Featured video

Leading on Business Sustainability

“You can’t outsource sustainability.” McKinsey Sustainability leaders Daniel Pacthod, Dickon Pinner, and Laura Corb, explain why businesses will need to embed sustainability in every part of the company

What we do

Net zero and portfolio strategy

We help clients assess the full potential of their sustainability efforts and analyze implications for portfolio, green growth, and decarbonization. We also help them communicate their strategies and the reasoning behind them to the capital markets.

ESG performance-led strategy

We help ESG-focused organizations benchmark their own performance against peers, set ESG goals, quantify value at stake, and develop roadmaps for improving ESG performance.

Examples of our work

Clearing a path to net zero

We worked with a leading energy company to decrease its reliance on fossil fuels in line with Paris Agreement targets and meet expectations of investors and creditors calling for faster transition. We mapped out investor expectations, assessed the client’s emissions across three scopes, identified green growth options, and created a set of targets to communicate to the market.

Reviewing and rebuilding to improve sustainability

We helped a plastics producer perform an “ESG teardown” by re-examining its entire operating model and value chain through the lens of sustainability. We baselined the client’s footprint and governance against industry peers, identified and evaluated multiple business model options, and prioritized decarbonization initiatives.

Optimizing performance to eliminate carbon emissions

We assisted a leading auto manufacturer in developing a bold game plan to reduce CO2 emissions across the vehicle lifecycle and regain its position as a sustainability leader. We benchmarked ESG performance against peers, defined and communicated a set of features to enhance safety, and developed a set of programs to promote skill building and employee wellness.

Featured Experts

Lucy Pérez
Senior Partner, Boston
Advises pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical product companies and healthcare providers as they address strategic, organizational,...
Michael Birshan
Senior Partner, London
Global co-leader of our Strategy & Corporate Finance Practice, partnering with bold and determined leaders to set strategy, transform...
Xavier Costantini
Senior Partner, Montevideo
Helps companies in highly complex industries achieve successful operational transformation, instilling lean methodologies and...
Stefan Helmcke
Senior Partner, Vienna
Stefan Helmcke is co-leader of McKinsey’s global Sustainability Practice. He is responsible for sustainability strategy as well...
Thomas Hundertmark
Senior Partner, Houston
Advises leading energy and industrial companies on creating value from strategic transformations, step-change programs, and sustainability
Hugues Lavandier
Senior Partner, Paris
Advises energy, mining, and industrial-equipment companies as they set growth and portfolio strategies and evaluate corporate-finance...
Robin Nuttall
Partner, London
Robin is a global leader in McKinsey’s ESG and Regulatory service line, and serves clients on these topics across a range of sector
Marco Piccitto
McKinsey Global Institute Director and Senior Partner, Milan
Leads research and advises leading European financial and industrial institutions on a broad range of risk-management, business...
Dickon Pinner
Senior Partner, Bay Area
As global leader of McKinsey Sustainability, helps transform companies’ product, service, and asset portfolios to capture the...
Werner Rehm
Partner, New Jersey
Works at the intersection of strategy and finance with high tech, industrial, and pharmaceutical clients to identify and prioritize...
Adam Sabow
Senior Partner, Chicago
Works with pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology firms, global health institutions, and not for profits to support commercial...
Hamid Samandari
Senior Partner, New York
Cofounder and senior leader of the global Risk & Resilience Practice and Chair of the firm’s Knowledge Council, who leads our...
Giulia Siccardo
Partner, Bay Area
Builds innovative strategies and operating models for companies to achieve sustainable, inclusive growth
Matt Stone
Partner, London
Helps CEOs, CFOs, and CSOs of leading institutions pivot their strategy and resource allocation around ESG, purpose, and sustainability

Featured Insights

Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Climate math: What a 1.5-degree pathway would take

– Decarbonizing global business at scale is achievable, but the math is daunting.

The ESG premium: New perspectives on value and performance

– In a new survey, executives and investment professionals largely agree that environmental, social, and governance programs create short- and long-term value—though perceptions of how have changed over the past decade.

Organizing for sustainability success: Where, and how, leaders can start

– As sustainability becomes more of a strategic and operational imperative, executives must lead the way to set up a sustainability organization that’s right for their companies.

How companies capture the value of sustainability: Survey findings

– What makes the difference between a sustainability program that produces business value and one that doesn’t? A new survey identifies practices that distinguish value-creating companies from others.

Connect with McKinsey Sustainability