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Nicolas Denis


Advises government institutions on sustainable economic development and serves leading companies in agribusiness, fisheries, forestry, and biotech

Nicolas is a partner in McKinsey’s Brussels office. He supports clients in the fields of sustainable agriculture and fisheries, land use, and biotech, and also works on topics involving biofuels, biochemicals, and bioenergy.

In addition, Nicolas advises government bodies on sustainable economic development, agriculture, and food security, especially in developing and emerging countries. He works on these issues globally, but with a special focus on the Middle East and North and East Africa. Within McKinsey, Nicolas is a leader of our Sustainability Practice and our Social Sector Practice.

In one recent project, Nicolas helped a city authority think through ways to reduce its energy use and carbon footprint by 80 percent by 2050 and understand what that would mean for the local economy. In other client work, Nicolas supported an Asian electric company in defining the medium-term outlook for power demand, advised a Latin American producer on developing the next wave of its growth strategy for new biofuels varieties and technologies, and assisted a European government department in conducting a high-level review of industrial sectors and identifying priorities for policy.

Outside his client work, Nicolas continues to be active in research in his field and is a regular speaker at conferences. He is also the author of a number of articles. He holds master’s degrees in chemical engineering from the Stanford University and in mechanical engineering from the Université catholique de Louvain.

Published work

Making crops more resilient to drought risk,” McKinsey & Company, November 2022

A reflection on global food security challenges amid the war in Ukraine and the early impact of climate change,” McKinsey & Company, August 2022

How to reduce postharvest crop losses in the agricultural supply chain,” McKinsey & Company, November 2021

Unlocking the online retail opportunity with European farmers,” McKinsey & Company, August 2020

Will the world’s breadbaskets become less reliable?,” McKinsey Global Institute, May 2020

Agriculture supply-chain optimization and value creation,” McKinsey & Company, May 2020

Agriculture plays a critical role in limiting the impact of climate change,” McKinsey & Company, September 2019

From liability to opportunity: How to build food security and nourish growth,” McKinsey & Company, March 2015

“Sustainable biofuels growth: Hurdles & outcomes,” BIO International Convention, October 2010 (PDF–865 KB)

“Setting the right course in biobased bulk chemicals,” McKinsey on Chemicals, Number 1, Autumn 2008

Betting on biofuels? A beyond-the-hype look at investments,”, July 2007


Stanford University
MSc, chemical engineering

Université catholique de Louvain
MSc, mechanical engineering