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Green Business Building

We work with clients to create and scale new businesses that address the climate crisis and help build a more sustainable future.

Most business leaders, investors, policymakers, and individuals accept that the world faces a climate crisis. McKinsey research shows that about $275 trillion of cumulative spending on physical assets would be needed over the next three decades under NGFS’s (Network for Greening the Financial System) net-zero 2050 scenario. This presents an enormous opportunity for visionary leaders to seed and grow new green businesses that will reshape the world for a sustainable future.

We partner with ambitious entrepreneurs and innovators inside corporations—either independent or backed by investment firms—to help them and their teams define and capture the full potential of new ideas for green businesses. Our purpose is to:

  • create and scale sustainable businesses to support a 1.5°-degree pathway to net zero
  • develop the sustainability leaders of the future
  • generate shareholder value by growing global GDP

What we do

We help businesses of all types go beyond decarbonization and rethink what it takes to be a green enterprise.

Industry-disrupting start-ups

pursuing rapid scale ups to accelerate sustainability impact

Budding unicorns

seeking guidance to help formalize business plans

Investors

supporting green enterprises and tech solutions with start-up or scaling

Incumbents

with transformative green ideas to spin off into new businesses

Examples of our work

Nature-based carbon sequestration

We launched and scaled a major operational carbon-sequestration business alongside an agricultural corporation across multiple global geographies

Green steel

We helped create a hydrogen-powered, carbon-free steel plant, taking it from proof of concept through testing and validation to launch within a year

Green hydrogen

We developed a national plan for a government to participate in the green hydrogen industry and identified opportunities to connect its actions with private-sector initiatives

Electric-vehicle OEM business

We worked with a large conglomerate to build an e-mobility OEM “business within a business,” including development and launch of an e-mobility product

Featured insights

Collection

The net-zero transition: What it would cost, what it could bring

– This McKinsey report offers a detailed look at the economic and societal impact of the transition to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Article

Spotting green business opportunities in a surging net-zero world

– Explore how 8 industries may transition to reach a 2050 net-zero scenario, and how organizations can respond with new green businesses... that create value along the way.
Article

Accelerating toward net zero: The green business building opportunity

– Surging demand for zero-carbon technologies, materials, and services gives companies opportunities to build new green businesses.... Leaders that move quickly could see exponential growth.
Article

Building a green business: Lessons from sustainability start-ups

– Green tech and climate technology companies are rapidly altering the competitive landscape. With sustainability now a business... imperative, incumbents need to move quickly—or risk being left behind.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Playing offense to create value in the net-zero transition

– Decarbonization will reshape the economy, opening new markets and imperiling others. Now is the moment for companies to spot green... growth opportunities and move boldly to take advantage.

Featured Podcasts

Podcast

How online marketplaces are making secondhand fashion a first choice

– Online resale marketplaces are turning secondhand fashion into a mainstream market. Maximilian Bittner, CEO of Vestiaire Collective,... thinks growing interest in sustainability will further fuel the category.
Podcast

Common goods: Fighting materials’ impact on climate change

– The materials used to make physical goods produce a large share of greenhouse gas emissions. Origin Materials thinks it has the... solution to that pressing problem.
Podcast

E(lectric) Commerce: Volta Trucks’ vehicle for sustainable delivery

– Commercial trucks are a major source of emissions in cities. Carl-Magnus Norden thinks his start-up can be the catalyst needed... to make the sector more environmentally-friendly.
Podcast

Driving motors into a digital, sustainable future

– Electric motors power much of the global economy, and they also waste a quarter of global electricity consumption. Ryan Morris... thinks his company can solve this environmental challenge.
Interview - Learn to Leap: Green Business Building Edition #1

Inventing and scaling the world’s largest urban vertical farming network

– Launching a successful new business concept requires a strong purpose, a focus on research, an innovative business model, and... a willingness to adapt to the market.
Interview - Learn to Leap: Green Business Building Edition #2

Make room for alternative proteins: What it takes to build a new sector

– Alternative proteins have the potential to dramatically slow climate change. This interview with three leaders in the field reveals... the strategies and insights needed to unlock that potential.

Keep exploring

We partner with groups across McKinsey to bring clients the best experts, brightest ideas, and freshest thinking. Together, our cross-functional teams provide unparalleled support on every aspect of building a green business, from conception to profitable delivery.

Connect with McKinsey Sustainability