The McKinsey Week in Charts

Less waste, fuller plates

Globally, up to 811 million people faced hunger last year, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. At the same time, one-third of food produced worldwide is wasted. Check out McKinsey for Kids and click through the interactive to see how collaborative efforts and tech innovations can help make food security a reality for more hungry families.

To explore the interactive, see “McKinsey for Kids: (Food) waste not, want not,” March 23, 2021.

Batteries for the grid: A box of sunshine

Solar (and wind) power is essential for a decarbonizing power sector. But it is intermittent. Matching power supply to demand will require more than 300 GW of grid-scale storage, including lithium-ion batteries. Fortunately, projects to build more than 200 GW of battery storage have applied to connect to US grid operators as of the end of 2020, signaling a rapidly growing market.

To read the article, see “Net zero by 2035: A pathway to rapidly decarbonize the US power system,” October 14, 2021.

What goes up must come down – right?

wo possibilities for Africa’s greenhouse gas emissions, two radically different paths. In the base-case scenario, Africa’s emissions would rise by 70 % by 2050. But to get to net-zero emissions implies a 90 % reduction from 2018 levels. Something in between may be more likely: if Africa’s manufacturers follow the planned path of national determined contributions (NDCs), emissions may fall by about 25 %.

To read the article, see “Africa’s green manufacturing crossroads: Choices for a low-carbon industrial future,” September 27, 2021.

Silent but deadly

Methane gets second billing in climate-change discussions, but it’s a huge problem, accounting for 30 percent of the planet’s rise in temperature. CO2 stays in the atmosphere for centuries; CH4 hangs around for just a decade, but traps many times more heat. Oil wells, cattle, landfills, cattle, coal mines—and did we mention cattle? – account for much of the problem.

To read the report, see “Curbing methane emissions: How five industries can counter a major climate threat,” September 23, 2021.

The power of ‘and’

Sustainability, inclusion, growth. Who wouldn’t want to see these three elements in the global economy? Too often, however, leaders see only the trade-offs among them. In fact, there’s an even more powerful set of forces that link the three – sustainability and inclusion and growth – to create a virtual circle.

To read the article, see “Our future lives and livelihoods: Sustainable and inclusive and growing,” October 26, 2021.