Broadening my impact to fight climate change

Broadening my experience in sustainability

Coming from Munich, my early childhood dream was to work for one of the big automotive companies. My family and friends worked at BMW, and my parents’ house is just a cornerstone away from the headquarters. I stayed in my hometown to study Management and Technology with a focus on renewable energy and electric mobility – the future I believed in. I was drawn to traveling the world so I used internships and semesters abroad to visit new places. Comparing my life in Munich to the experiences while travelling, I realized two things: 1) I don’t need a car to get around (and finding a parking spot can be a nightmare in crowded cities) and 2) there are far greater challenges than just building an electric vehicle with decent range. This is why I decided against an automotive career and opted for consulting to broaden my horizon and positive impact.

I joined McKinsey Digital at the end of 2017, working on digitization for public and private companies. My passion for sustainability drew me to projects focusing on using technology to improve resource efficiency and mitigate climate change. I also supported the team writing the Climate Risk Report and am involved in sustainability-related recruiting events.

In early 2020, I started an educational leave, pursuing a PhD on plastics recycling and the circular economy at ETH Zurich. Plastics significantly drive the world’s oil consumption and the consequences of long term accumulation of plastics in the world’s environment is not yet fully understood. My group is also focused on topics such as industry decarbonization and the energy transition.

Introduction to Green Teams

I learned about Green Teams at McKinsey’s Summer Academy in 2018, an inter-European training for first year consultants to get to know our industry and functional practices better. Back then, only one other office in Germany – Berlin – had a Green Team. That’s when I decided to found one for the Munich office – and quickly found ~35 peers interested in improving our sustainability locally. We kicked off our work in a consultant-like manner: we brainstormed ideas, separated them into workstreams and started the work. We quickly realized, that the grand challenges cannot be solved by a local initiative, which is why we created an overall German Green Team, which today has more than 150 colleague members across Germany and Austria.

Our main goal is to bring sustainable thinking to our daily practices, including more plant-based, seasonal and organic food in our canteen and a focus on waste separation and recycling. We brought more sustainability to our internal events and celebrated a carbon neutral Christmas party with lots of plant-based, locally sourced food, public transport, reduced plastic packaging, and offsetting of remaining emissions.

More about me

Being mindful of earth’s resources, I work on my own consumption. For example, I like to repair products and learn about them in the process – from a leaking toilet flush to a broken capacitor in an LCD display (an example of planned obsolescence). I refurbished my grandfather’s bike to better explore Zurich.

In the course of my PhD, I was shocked by how little of all plastics are actually recycled. Now I’m trying to create my own soap, detergents and even toothpaste so I don’t need store bought packaging.

Other than that, I really enjoy running to explore neighborhoods and I started kitesurfing on holidays – a great way to feel the power of nature!

Find a role like Sebastian's

Never miss another post

Receive new stories once a week directly in your inbox