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Guest Profile

Dorothée D'Herde

ex-Global Director of Sustainability and Social Impact at McKinsey & Co

About Dorothée D'Herde

Dorothée stepped down as McKinsey & Company's Global Director of Sustainability and Social Impact in 2019.  She joined McKinsey in 2009 as head of external relations for the Sustainability & Resource Productivity Practice and helped the practice shape and communicate its thought leadership agenda on the challenges and opportunities of sustainability and resource productivity. Dorothée helped shape the firm’s responsible business practices - from environmental footprint strategy to its inclusion & diversity campaign.

Before McKinsey, she worked in politics, public affairs, communications and project management at public affairs agency GPlus Europe (Omnicom Group), for the Belgian deputy prime minister, in the European Commission’s spokesperson service and at a network of European foundations.

Dorothée is a trustee at Earthwatch Europe, an advisor to and a judge and coach for the Hult Prize for Social Innovation.

She studied literature and linguistics in Belgium, The Netherlands and Spain and European Studies at the College of Europe. She speaks English, Dutch, French, Spanish, Italian and basic German and loves spending time with her daughter, exploring new places, teaching and dancing.

Episode Overview

Ex-McKinsey & Company Global Director of Sustainability and Social Impact, Dorothée D'Herde, joins Alberto Lidji to talk about the business case for acting sustainably, new value pools and key trends in sustainability.

Dorothée was at McKinsey for almost a decade and whether you’re a corporate CEO, a well-meaning consumer or simply trying to understand the latest thinking in this space, you’ll find this episode highly informative.

Dorothée gives listeners a succinct and powerful definition of sustainability, which simply put is about ensuring there’s “enough, for all, forever”.

Much of the conversation can be boiled down to meat, plastics and money.  Diets are changing, awareness of key issues is more pronounced, and we’re about to experience the biggest intergenerational transfer of wealth – the next generation of investors are aligning investments and sustainability much more robustly than before.

What do you think of the ostensible tensions in sustainability adherence between the developed and developing world?  Well, Dorothée is quick to point out she dislikes the ‘us’ vs ‘them’ mindset – we are all in this together.  We all need to take action; hope alone is insufficient.

She notes that at McKinsey, much attention was paid to the ways in which CEOs can derive value from sustainability: looking at key areas such as safeguarding your license to operate; cutting your costs by using less water, less energy; and finding new ‘value pools’.

There is a strong business case for being sustainable, and this is highly encouraging.

Dorothée references the Better Business, Better World report where business opportunities and new value pools derived from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are identified to the tune of $12 trillion. Opportunities are wide-ranging, from food & agriculture and cities, to energy & materials, and health & wellbeing.

What should you do if you want your business to align with best practice in sustainability? Where do you start and who do you go to? There’s no single answer but by listening to this episode you’ll have a better idea of what your next step should look like.

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