Women in Sustainability series: Meet Costanza Fazi

Costanza Fazi is a sustainability and foundation expert based in Milan, Italy. She has been working for Vodafone since 2019, splitting her time between sustainability and Vodafone Foundation, where she manages Bright Sky, Vodafone Foundation’s app for domestic abuse survivors.

Within sustainability, she works on three main areas: reporting and data analysis, adapting Vodafone’s global strategies, such as our net zero by 2040 commitment, for Italy, and other projects, such as building a circular economy.

Costanza also took part in the UN Young SDG Innovators Programme, in which business leaders and changemakers come together to develop innovative sustainability solutions.

My job inspires me because it aligns with my personal values

My purpose in life is to make the world a better place – and sustainability is a huge part of that. My master's degree sparked my interest in how large companies contribute to the environment and communities around them. Working in sustainability at a large corporation, you can really drive important change, whether that’s from an environmental or a social perspective.

The UN Young Innovators Programme was an amazing experience – I was working with people from all over the world, all of us fascinated by sustainability. We came up with a way to map out areas of digital poverty, to share with stakeholders who can make a difference.

Lots of companies took part, all bringing really interesting ideas. It was great to work in an international environment, with people that I otherwise wouldn't have worked with so closely. I was proud to present our solution at the UN General Assembly.

Sustainability should be at the core of every company’s strategy

People often focus so much on the idea that there needs to be a return on investment for sustainability that they lose perspective on the wider issue. Yes, financials are important – but really, operating sustainably should be the minimum requirement for a company. That’s the most fascinating thing about working in this area for me: integrating ESG factors into our strategy.

My mission is to make sure that sustainability becomes a priority for everyone that I interact with. It’s been really rewarding to see more and more people realise that it does matter – to see a real shift in people’s thinking.

Sometimes it helps to look back and see how far you’ve come

In 2017, when I was working in London, I wrote down what my ideal job would be. I spent two years applying for similar roles, and no one was calling me back. But I had this clear picture in my head of where I wanted to get to, and that kept me going.

Two or three days ago, I looked back at what I wrote down in London and found it matches up exactly with the job I’m doing now. My advice to others pursuing sustainability careers is to persevere, make the right contacts, and do your research. Sustainability spans a vast number of topics across the environmental, social and governance areas, and it’s important to have a deep understanding.

Have a clear vision of the job you want – but also know what you can bring to a company. Be clear on why a company should hire you, based on your personal beliefs and how you can contribute to their sustainability department. I thought I would never get to work in sustainability - but then I made it. And you can too.

Costana Fazi about women in sustainability