20 January 2014 — Metcash Group sustainability manager Louise Rhodes is about to sign up a new full time recruit to her unit, buoyed by a strong focus on sustainability by new group chief executive Ian Morrice, who was appointed in June last year.
The company runs the IGA supermarket franchise network and a grocery distribution business.
At a recent meeting of the Metcash Sustainability Committee, Mr Morrice, previously chief executive of New Zealand’s The Warehouse Group, “took the opportunity to say that in his old workplace sustainability was taken seriously and that it creates various business benefits and that he would look to push that along,” Ms Rhodes said.
There were also “competitive advantages”, she said.
The new sustainability position, expected to be filled this week, will replace a similar role that was abolished in 2011.
A series of interns helped to “plug the gap”, Ms Rhodes said.
“I’ve been making do with a series of interns. And I’ve enjoyed that but it takes a lot of work. I’ve learnt a lot and they have too; all have gone on to have great new jobs.”
During that time she’s managed to make the company a few savings, but was now “snowed” with work, Ms Rhodes said.
“We’re trying to realign our sustainability and included in that will be projects around refrigeration.”
Philanthropy has been a strong focus for the IGA business with $60 million raised in its Community Chest program in the past 10 years. Ms Rhodes said this too would be expanded.
“We’ll do some reporting around the London Benchmarking criteria.” Some of this will “capture more workplace and staff initiated programs”, Ms Rhodes said.
Mr Morrice has also worked for Myer and Spotlight.
Ms Rhodes first hit our pages in August 2012 as a sustainability operative keen for a challenge.
She got the job at Metcash by researching the industry and writing a business plan for the job, which she took along to her interview.
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Today she’s moved her position from Sydney to the McLaren Vale and travels to the Metcash office in Adelaide twice a week.