#ADayInTheLife: What does a Sustainability Manager do?

If you’re new to our #ADayInTheLife series, here’s what you need to know: we’re asking employees from various departments and teams to tell us more about how they approach their work day, from managing their time to work-life balance to their hobbies. After all, what better way to showcase our workplace diversity than to get them to walk us through their typical work day?

Today, we’d like you to meet Phyllis Fercho, Sustainability Manager.

Name: Phyllis Fercho

Position: Sustainability Manager

Location: Home office


Describe your typical work day

I started as an intern at the LSG Group, Retail inMotion’s parent company, in February 2019 where I was responsible for the topic of sustainability as part of the Global Communications team. Through my involvement with the topic, I soon became part of a very diverse group of people who are all passionate about sustainability and have been working on developing and implementing the sustainability strategy for the LSG Group and, as of late, also RiM.

Our strategy is aligned with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are a globally acknowledged framework that countries, as well as companies, use to measure and improve on the many facets that sustainability covers, including environmental (planet), social (people), and economical (prosperity) aspects. Covid-19 has proven that companies that carry sustainability in their DNA are much more resilient than those that do not. Furthermore, most employees care about working for a company that acts responsibly and sustainably, that makes an effort to achieve gender equality.

For us, it is important to identify where we can make the biggest impact as a company, which is why we have committed to six SDGs that we will soon operationalise in workshops.

We have been working closely with RiM’s Food & Beverage Onboard Retail Team on a pilot project for a partnership with Share The Meal, which is an app that allows you to donate money to people in need starting with as little as 70cents. Together with HR, we will also develop a workshop to operationalise the six SDGs, understand how they are relevant to us, and develop targets for RiM with the help of RiM employees over the next couple of months.


What current project are you most excited about?

There are three projects I am very excited about. First, I am currently setting up a global Sustainability Ambassador Community, where everyone who is passionate and wants to contribute to our sustainability efforts is welcome to join.

At RiM, I recently started getting in touch with people to set up a group that can drive the topic and identify relevant initiatives for the company.

Second, I cannot wait to start the SDG workshops with RiM employees from various teams and departments. I strongly believe in the value of co-creation, so the workshops will give our colleagues the opportunity to identify the relevance of each of the SDGs and then develop sustainability targets that they believe our company would have to commit to in order to become more sustainable.

Last but not least, I am very passionate about gender equality and LGBTQIA+ which is why I am working on developing initiatives that foster a supportive environment.


What is the most challenging part of your job?

While we are very excited about the prospect of making sustainability part of our DNA, we acknowledge the challenges that some departments may be facing when it comes to implementing more sustainable practices.

Managing the different needs of our stakeholders, identifying the right time and the right context to present sustainability as an opportunity requires us to be very patient and sometimes have a high tolerance for frustration.


What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is by far the fire I got to light in so many people. I believe that everyone has something in the field of sustainability that they truly care about. Finding that and empowering people to start working on improving things around that topic gives me a lot of energy to do my job.


What is one thing about you or your passion that you would like to share with the RiM family?

One thing I am absolutely passionate about is different cultures. Prior to Covid-19, I have lived, worked, and/or studied in six different countries (such as Scotland, Japan, the Netherlands, and Italy) in five years.

Because of that, I also did my master’s in Intercultural Business Communication, where I learned about how we can successfully interact and collaborate within an intercultural environment, whether that’s in our private or professional life. It may bring some challenges with it but, if managed mindfully, can lead to the most creative and rewarding outcomes.