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Julien Claes


Helps public- and private-sector clients address nature-related challenges and build green businesses, typically leveraging digital and analytics solutions and natural science expertise

A scientist and business advisor, Julien is the analytics lead for McKinsey's nature-related client service, which focuses on nature conservation, natural climate solutions—including “blue carbon” approaches—and the interaction of supply chains and natural capital. He leads our nature analytics team in the Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) hub of our agricultural advanced-analytics center.

Combining an academic foundation with business approaches and a passion for nature and agriculture, Julien helps private- and public-sector clients tackle the financial and environmental challenges posed by natural resource depletion and climate change.

Julien’s work seeks to show that the right data-driven strategy can make a green future a profitable one. He has collaborated with clients such as global agriculture consumer-goods companies, conservation organizations, governments, and marine fisheries. Drawing on expertise in digital and geospatial analytics, he leads efforts to analyze the costs and opportunities associated with natural climate solutions to identify sustainable revenue streams from conservation areas, or to support “nature-positive” transformations.

To advance the conversation about the social and economic benefits of sustainability, Julien has published extensively on natural-capital management and conservation, nature-related carbon abatement, and emerging agricultural technologies.

Examples of his recent client work include the following:

  • supporting a country in building and implementing a cost-efficient nature conservation strategy in line with biological diversity targets
  • supporting nature conservation organizations, including via geospatial analytics, to assess conservation outcomes and costs, estimate ecosystem service values, and build wildlife corridors
  • using geospatial analytics to identify renewable energy hotspots and sustainable and economically viable biomass energy sources
  • developing a natural climate-solution strategy for a major consumer-goods company
  • conducting worldwide spatial analysis of the carbon sequestration potential and implementation costs for a large set of terrestrial and marine natural climate solutions
  • directing sustainability and profitability diagnostics for marine fisheries for some of the world’s fishing fleets
  • identifying revenues streams such as ecotourism, carbon offsets, and sustainable fishing to ensure the future of conservation areas

Before joining McKinsey, Julien was a digital entrepreneur and a researcher.

Published work

Nature in the balance: What companies can do to restore natural capital,” McKinsey & Company, December 2022

Where the world’s largest companies stand on nature,” McKinsey & Company, September 2022

Blue carbon: The potential of coastal and oceanic climate action,” McKinsey & Company, May 2022

Valuing nature conservation,” McKinsey & Company, September 2020

Needle in a haystack: Patents that inspire agricultural innovation,” McKinsey & Company, September 2020

Precision fisheries: Navigating a sea of troubles with advanced analytics,” McKinsey & Company, December 2019

Past experience

Ooverlab Project

National Science Foundation
Postdoctoral researcher


National Fund for Scientific Research
PhD, marine biology

Catholic University of Louvain
MS, molecular biology and zoology
BS, biological sciences