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Sustainable Food & Agriculture

McKinsey helps businesses and public sector organizations increase productivity and drive innovation in food, agriculture, and the bioeconomy, as well as enable land and forest-based greenhouse-gas mitigation, while protecting and sustaining natural resources and biodiversity.

By 2050, global food systems will be responsible for feeding more than nine billion people, while protecting natural resources and combating the increasingly disruptive effects of climate change. Meeting that need sustainably is an urgent challenge that requires significant change—from greenhouse-gas-efficient production to reduced food waste and dietary shifts. Agriculture also presents opportunities to capture CO2 that can help address sustainability challenges.

McKinsey helps organizations engage in the agricultural and food transformation required to adapt and thrive in this new environment. We work with a broad array of organizations engaged in responding to this challenge (agriculture and forestry businesses, food processors, international foundations, development agencies, regional and national governments, and regulators) on the full range of measures such as mitigating greenhouse-gas emissions in production, reducing food waste, and shifting diets. We bring extensive experience helping agriculture and food companies grow their business to ensure that our clients can contribute to providing adequate supplies of nutritious food for generations to come.

Examples of our work

Investigating food security in Asia

We worked with an agriculture cooperative to investigate which commodities were most vulnerable to food-security risks, assess climate-related shifts in trade flows, explore implications for import and export markets, and identify digital technology options to improve productivity and expand farming scale.

Addressing 150 million tons of food waste

We helped a global foundation reduce India’s food loss after harvest and during production by increasing cold-chain development, providing farmer training, fostering innovation, and linking smallholders to markets.

Helping an African country reduce deforestation

We worked with the government of an African nation to reduce emissions from forest degradation and loss by developing management structures to protect forests, prioritizing carbon-rich forest zones, promoting natural regeneration, and developing a transformation unit to drive change.

Improving sourcing practices for rare crops

We helped a leading European consumer-goods company evaluate and improve sourcing practices for rare crops cultivated by smallholders, reducing the company’s risk exposure in its sourcing operations while also identifying ways for the smallholders to increase their profitability and sustainability.

Featured Capabilities

McKinsey Center for Agricultural Transformation: Supports governments and foundations looking to reduce poverty, improve climate resilience, create jobs, improve nutrition, and foster economic growth.

ACRE: Combines proprietary market outlooks, pricing data, and expert insights to help food companies, governments, investors, and agriculture players make better pricing, crop selection, and sales-and-marketing decisions.

Food wastage tools: Help users assess the magnitude of food loss across crops and stages in the value chain; understand the impact on the economy, society, and environment; and create and execute a program to reduce food wastage.

Featured Collection

Food Security

This collection of articles and multimedia draws together McKinsey’s thinking on food security. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect access to food for many, what can food banks, distribution partners, philanthropic foundations, and the private sector do to increase resilience and ensure that people across North America have reliable access to nutritious meals?

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