Amara-Maria Willendorf
Practice Research Expert
 // . //  Our People //  Amara-Maria Willendorf

With over 15 years of experience in market research, mostly in the energy space, Amara is keenly aware of the devastating effects of climate change. 

Now serving as the Lead for Energy Research, she has played a pivotal role in helping Oliver Wyman’s Climate and Sustainability team develop the various components of their diagnostic framework, with a focus on benchmarking companies on a set of climate metrics. 

Her fundamental belief in the strength of willpower and ability to succeed in almost anything if you really try – attributable to her mother and father – equipped her well to take on the climate challenge early on, both in her professional and personal life.

In Amara’s mind, companies will need to take bets and be prepared to fail along the way while adopting more sustainable practices. Previously, lots of talk was accompanied by only little concrete action and no real progress, she explains. “Now, the tide is finally turning, and the hands of companies are forced as more and more investors, lenders, customers, regulators and the society as a whole are demanding change amid a series of climate-related catastrophes across the globe.”

The winners of the transition will be companies that will successfully adapt their business model to the new reality, ensure that their product offering remains relevant in the low-carbon world or address new market opportunities that arise, increase resource efficiency, and build resilient operations.

Amara anticipates that the devastating effects of wide-scale droughts, flooding, and ferocious storms will only worsen in the decades to come, resulting in massive costs for companies and economies globally. 

We are only beginning to understand the long-term impact and associated costs of climate change, with very few scientific studies looking beyond the start of the next century. The challenge for companies lies in finding the right approach today to consider climate risks in their decision-making and strategy formulation, which is bound to be based on a much shorter timeframe.

A major turning point for Amara was having kids. “You realize that there is something far more important in life, and that you have an obligation to do your share to preserve this beautiful planet, however small it may seem,” she says. “When I look at my children, I am amazed about the level of awareness they have of climate issues and their determination to demand change – which gives me hope.”

Outside of her role with Oliver Wyman, Amara prioritizes sustainability by recycling and shopping consciously. Having grown up in Germany, an early adopter of recycling, this has always felt natural to her. “Wherever possible, I buy local vegetables and fruits and have (subconsciously) been converting into a vegetarian over the years.”

Amara recognizes that there’s only so much individuals can do, given the massive and sometimes overwhelming nature of the problem. “Although my contribution may seem very small, it’s important not to lose sight of the broader goal, keep up the good spirits and celebrate each small victory.”