Sustainable and inclusive growth: A weekly briefing

Por Barbara Tierney. 

Retailers need strategies to take on the “zero consumer” and other industry challenges. 

A retailer’s actions in the next two to three years could position it for success in the next 20. This week, McKinsey looks at how retail executives can set a course through an industry roiled by widespread change. Meanwhile, separate articles delve into how generative-AI (gen AI) technology could help streamline routine healthcare tasks, and the steps institutional investors are taking to face a new era of instability.

Retail is a winner-take-most industry. The gap between winners and losers is widening, with the top 10 percent of publicly traded retailers now accounting for 70 percent of the industry’s profits. Staying a winner is even harder, particularly when the rules of the retail game are shifting so much. Take “zero consumers,” who shop across channels, show little loyalty, and expect sustainable products. Net zero is now a buying factor, as consumers vote with their wallets when it comes to sustainability and social responsibility. This confluence of challenges calls for a retail reset. Senior partners Becca CogginsFranck Laizet, and coauthors recommend four areas where companies can focus, including evaluating business decisions using an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) lens.

Generative-AI technology generates both excitement and apprehension, and nowhere is that more true than in healthcare, where patient data must be handled with extreme care. Gen AI, which can automate tedious and error-prone operational work, represents a potential breakthrough when it comes to clinical notes, diagnostic images, medical charts, and recordings. Many healthcare organizations can start using gen AI by applying the technology to these administrative and operational tasks, streamlining workflows and allowing providers to focus more resources on patient care. Senior partner Damien Bruce and his team look at these emerging use cases for private payers, hospitals, and physician groups.

Institutional investors, accustomed to decades of economic stability that helped bring steady growth and strong returns, are facing a new era of uncertainty. To understand how they are responding, senior partners Sacha GhaiMarcos Tarnowski, and colleagues interviewed senior executives at 40 of the world’s leading pension and sovereign-wealth funds. The interviews revealed that investors are looking to integrate environmental and social considerations into their investing strategies, but that they are at different stages in that journey.

Here are other recent notable findings from McKinsey research:

McKinsey strives to create inclusive growth through collaborations with clients and local communities. To learn more about our firm’s ESG-related actions and commitments, read comments from global managing partner Bob Sternfels, and download the entire document, visit McKinsey’s 2022 ESG report.

This briefing note, based on McKinsey’s latest published insights, was prepared by Barbara Tierney, a senior editor in McKinsey’s New York office.


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