Richard Verity, partner, leads work supporting education for refugees.

We help address societal challenges.

We make our people, expertise and tools available and work with others to take significant and lasting action on social issues.

Richard Verity, partner, leads work supporting education for refugees.

Social Impact

Every business has an impact on society and the way that people live their lives, from the products and services they deliver—whether food, mobile communications, banking services, or utilities—to the way they operate—including employment practices and supply-chain decisions. As advisors to the world’s leading businesses, governments and nonprofits, our principal contribution to society is through our work with them.

We are also committed to social impact through the way we run our firm. It is in our DNA. As long ago as 1954, at a time when McKinsey had fewer than 100 consultants, we undertook our first pro bono work for the Red Cross. Sixty years on, we address societal issues in a range of ways, including through client work and pro bono projects, by developing and sharing knowledge and through efforts that our people lead.

Our firm’s social impact matters to us. We think about it in the following six ways.

Contribution to society

social impact brochure

Read about our work in youth employment, gender equality, sustainability and other challenges society faces.

Serving our clients

The core of our mission is to help our clients succeed. When we support them to make lasting improvements to their performance, we also help them to scale their contribution to society—including the goods and services they deliver, the jobs they create and the economic growth they drive.

For a long time we have also worked with governments and nonprofits around the world that have direct social missions. It is our privilege to be able to help them solve their most difficult problems.

Over the last five years we have completed almost 4,000 projects for social-sector organizations (foundations and nonprofits), local, regional, national, and international governments and public-sector bodies.

Learn more about our Public Sector and Social Sector practices.

Shaping the debate

We continuously invest in research on some of the biggest issues facing society. We hope that our insights on these topics help to frame and open up debates, bring new thinking and identify potential solutions.

Recent societal themes in our work have included global growth and employment, affordable housing, the economic cost of obesity, and gender parity in the workplace. We fund our own research, which is original and independent.

In addition to publishing our reports, we convene events, speak at conferences, and participate in the conversation in the media and online, to increase awareness and inform the debate.

Convening partnerships

We work with a wide range of different types of organizations and are able to convene groups to work together in partnership to tackle problems that any one institution alone could not. We bring the best of our firm to these partnerships. Together we are committed to making a difference.


Global managing partner, Dominic Barton, speaks on Engaging Youth in Work, at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Photo credit: World Economic Forum.

Supporting the McKinsey Social Initiative

In 2014 we launched the McKinsey Social Initiative (MSI), an independent nonprofit, which we support through access to our firm’s skills, resources, and convening power, to help to build more stable, prosperous, and inclusive communities. MSI convenes partnerships to co-create powerful cross-disciplinary approaches. It implements, tests, and improves solutions so they can be shared, replicated, and scaled.

MSI’s first initiative, “Generation,” seeks to close the youth-employment gap through an ambitious program that accelerates learning, places disconnected young adults in jobs, and gives them the skills and support they need to achieve enduring personal and professional success.


Generation Initiative

“When the crisis struck Spain I lost my job. I realized that companies were looking for digital skills that I didn’t have. Joining Generation was one of the best decisions of my life. I’ve regained my professional status and my career is back on track.”—Belén, Generation graduate, Spain, 2015

Empowering our people

Our people are recognized as leaders and entrepreneurs and many of them are passionate about shaping the world and making a positive contribution to society. Many firm members sit on the boards of nonprofit organizations at a national level or in their local communities, something we are happy to support. Others choose to take a short leave of absence through our Take Time program, in order to volunteer overseas on international development projects.

Here is a selection of McKinsey colleagues who are passionate about social impact.

Engaging with our communities

As a firm, we undertake work on a pro bono basis, which enables us to support organizations working for social good, who may not otherwise be able to access our knowledge, analytical skills, problem-solving approach, and capability building. We conduct all pro bono work to the same distinctive standard all our clients expect of us. In the last three years, we’ve completed over 240 pro bono projects, helping local charities, international nongovernment organizations, chambers of commerce, and academic organizations. Each of our offices makes its own decisions, through a pro bono committee, about which organizations and initiatives to support.

We also offer our knowledge and problem-solving approach in response to international emergencies, such as the refugee crisis in the Middle East since 2015, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014–16, and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013.

Social impact projects

Since 2015 we have supported the work of governments, nongovernmental organizations, and not for profits in their response to the refugee crisis. This video details a primary-education pilot program for Syrian refugees.

Working responsibly

Our values guide everything we do as an organization and the choices we make. They inform both our long-term strategy as a firm and the way we serve our clients on a daily basis. We put aside one day a year to reflect as a group on what our values mean to both our work and our lives. We are committed to building a stronger institution that has long-term sustainability and enduring value.

Responsible business practice

We are a values-driven organization and aspire to meet the highest professional, legal, and ethical standards.

Environmental sustainability

Our offices take steps to reduce the impact of our operations on the natural environment.