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Having grown up being involved in non-profits and NGOs, I always had a passion for social sustainability. Taking that passion with me through both Political Science and Business at Ivey has led me to believe that lasting social change emerges from an integrated approach that draws on knowledge and expertise from a variety of fields and lenses. I’m striving to explore the intersectionality between business and sustainability in order to learn how I can improve my commitments and actions to social sustainability and integrate them into my professional career. 

What is your personal definition of sustainability?

To me, sustainability is about balance; it’s about the pursuit of innovative solutions that strike a balance between competing interests in society while safeguarding a future that looks better than today. Sustainability is about longevity; how can we devise a lasting solution to some of the most challenging social and environmental issues? How can we leave our communities, countries and planet in a better state than how we found it? Sustainability is dynamic because it’s application in society is always evolving and growing, but its importance is permanent, and its effects are tangible. 

What role do you see sustainability playing in your professional career?

My past experiences working and volunteering for a variety of social enterprises had led me to learn that social change and sustainability cannot be facilitated from just one lens. In order for us to truly further the achievement of the sustainability development goals and drive lasting solutions to our social and environmental challenges, we need to utilize knowledge and expertise from a variety of fields.  

My passion has always been to advocate for sustainability through a social lens as a social justice lawyer, which would involve championing for locally driven solutions to social challenges in countries across the globe. However, I also want my professional career to involve driving sustainability policy reform, whether that’s through the public or private sector. I want to drive change from the inside and use the legal field to generate stronger commitments to sustainability from major businesses and institutions in society.  

In order for me to succeed with my goals in the field of law, I want to be able to gather knowledge and experience from various sustainability lenses, so that the policy reform and social change that I advocate for is meaningful and lasting.    

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in? 

Since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were put into effect in 2016, I’ve made it my mission to further the achievement of these goals through the actions I’ve taken and the opportunities I’ve pursued. Through my role as the Chairperson of the International Humanitarian Peel Youth Council, I aimed to accelerate the No Poverty SDG. I raised donations for sustainable resources, education and relief efforts for Myanmar refugees to contribute towards stopping the cycle of poverty that so many victims of war are subject to.  

My commitment to accelerating the Quality Education SDG led me to rural Dominican Republic where I volunteered with Outreach360 to improve the community’s severely underfunded education system. My desire to drive a local impact when I returned home led me to start my own social enterprise Illumina which provided accessible financial literacy education to high school students.  

To further the Sustainable Consumption and Production SDG, I’m working with eLengo, an online hub providing education on sustainable farming practices to farmers in East Africa, to strategize a market expansion to extend the company’s outreach and impact. I’m excited to continue with and extend the breath of my involvement with sustainability projects in the future.

Angelie Vivekanand

Angelie  Vivekanand