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Shannon Bouton

Senior Knowledge Expert, Detroit
Leads work on sustainable communities at, a nonprofit founded by McKinsey & Company

About Shannon

A conservation biologist by training, Shannon, who is based in Detroit, has served state and city governments, not for profits, and public utilities on energy-efficiency strategy and program design, greenhouse gas emission reduction, and sustainability.

Recent examples of her work include working with a large North American city to develop a greenhouse gas cost curve to determine how best to reduce its emissions profile, helping a multilateral organization to create a program that measures the sustainability of cities and then works to enhance their environmental performance, and supporting a state government in building a program to encourage residential and small commercial buildings to implement energy-efficiency measures.

In addition to being a leader in McKinsey’s work on urban sustainability, Shannon has helped to design and launch the firm’s Cities Special Initiative. In this context, she has led several pilots to bring the best of McKinsey’s private- and public-sector work to help cities choose the right tools to improve economic development, service delivery, and organizational performance.

Prior to joining McKinsey, Shannon was a field biologist. She has served as an environmental consultant to grassroots non-profits in the Brazilian Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland, and with the Army Corp of Engineers in Florida. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Shannon holds dual U.S. and Brazil nationality, and is proficient in Portuguese.

Shannon is currently on a fellowship at, where she is Global Executive Director, Sustainable Communities. is a nonprofit founded by McKinsey & Company to have lasting and substantial impact on complex social challenges. It is exploring how it can help to address the sustainability challenges facing cities across the world—looking first at how cities can recycle plastics and organics, like food or garden waste.

Published work

A strategic approach to climate action in cities—focused acceleration,” McKinsey & Company, November 2017

Public–private collaborations for transforming urban mobility,” McKinsey & Company, November 2017

Urban commercial transport and the future of mobility,” McKinsey & Company, September 2017

Technology is changing transportation, and cities should adapt,” Harvard Business Review, September 2017

The future(s) of mobility: How cities can benefit,” McKinsey & Company, June 2017

An integrated perspective on the future of mobility,” McKinsey & Company, October 2016

How to keep cities moving: Ideas for America’s urban leaders,” McKinsey & Company, July 2016

Urban mobility at a tipping point,” McKinsey & Company, September 2015

Unlocking the future: The keys to making cities great,” McKinsey & Company, June 2015

Building the cities of the future with green districts,” McKinsey & Company, May 2015

“Capturing efficiencies through smart technologies: Smart data-driven solutions are allowing cities to do more with less,” (PDF–72 KB), McKinsey on Government, 2014

How to make a city great,” McKinsey & Company, September 2013

“New models for sustainable growth in emerging market cities,” (PDF–336 KB), McKinsey on Sustainability and Resource Productivity, Summer 2012

Emerging-market cities could set a new standard for sustainable development,” Chapter in The Economy of Green Cities: A World Compendium on the Green Urban Economy, Local Sustainability, Vol. 3. Simpson, R. and M. Zimmermann (Eds.), 2012

“Energy efficiency: A compelling global resource,” (PDF–3 MB), McKinsey on Sustainability and Resource Productivity, 2010


University of Michigan
PhD, natural resources and the environment

University of Michigan
MS, ecology and evolutionary biology

University of Florida
MS, wildlife ecology and conservation

Tufts University
BS, biology and environmental science