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Stefan Helmcke

Senior PartnerVienna

Stefan Helmcke is co-leader of McKinsey’s global Sustainability Practice. He is responsible for sustainability strategy as well as for sustainability issues at energy companies and within the raw materials industry in Europe. He has also worked on related matters such as climate change, water, and the circular economy for more than twenty years.

  • Stefan is a Senior Partner in McKinsey’s Vienna, Austria, office as well a Managing Partner for McKinsey Austria
  • He is the global head of McKinsey’s Energy and Materials sector, and, within the firm, he is responsible for issues related to the energy transition and sustainability
  • Furthermore, Stefan is also co-leader of McKinsey’s global Sustainability Practice, and he is responsible for sustainability strategy and environmental, social, and corporate governance
  • Stefan has advised companies in the energy and infrastructure sectors on strategy and transformation issues for nearly twenty-five years. Furthermore, he works with companies as well as stakeholders on regulatory and political issues related to the energy transition, water, and the circular economy.


Project experience (examples)

  • A growth strategy for an energy provider in the context of the energy transition (e.g.: “Green” growth through the development/importation of competitive green energy or “CO2-negative” businesses)
  • Development of eco-systems for decarbonization across industries (hydrogen and CCUS)
  • A growth strategy in sustainable, CO2-free materials (e.g., steel and plastics), particularly for the automotive and consumer goods industries
  • A partnership with some of the world’s largest cities, with the aim of increasing efficiency and the quality of public energy and water provision
  • Collaboration with global technology companies on the use of new technologies for intelligent energy provision.



  • Stefan has a degree in computer science and industrial engineering from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany, and a master’s degree in business administration from the IESE Business School at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.

Published work

Waste not: Unlocking the potential of waste heat recovery,” McKinsey & Company, November 2023

"Climate impact of plastics," McKinsey & Company, July 2022

Playing offense on circularity can net European consumer goods companies €500 billion,” McKinsey & Company, June 2022

Playing offense to create value in the net-zero transition,” McKinsey & Company, April 2022

It’s not easy buying green: How to win at sustainable sourcing,” McKinsey & Company, February 2022

Net-zero Germany: Chances and challenges on the path to climate neutrality by 2045,” McKinsey & Company, October 2021

Net-zero Europe ─ Decarbonization pathways and socioeconomic implications,” McKinsey & Company, December 2020

Net zero or bust: Beating the abatement cost curve for growth,” McKinsey & Company, April 2021 


IESE Business School, University of Navarra

MS, BA, computer science and industrial engineering
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany