Abby Litchfield has devoted her efforts to the environment since she was young. Her passion for sustainability has led her to a career at the Network for Business Sustainability. Abby is also a musician, integrating her sustainability passion into her work.
Growing Up Green
Abby Litchfield, HBA '21, has prioritized the environment and sustainability from a young age.
Growing up in Guelph, the first municipality to elect an MPP from the Green Party, Abby always felt like her community placed a strong emphasis on sustainability. At 14 years old, she was protesting a conglomerate manufacturing plant in her town that created plastic water bottles. In high school, Abby participated in a Community Environmental Leadership Program. The interdisciplinary program had four credits, including English and Civics & Careers, but focused on tackling social and environmental issues. And, most of the program took place outside. From this experience, Abby emerged with a community-based outlook and mission to improve the society around her. Since then, Abby has focused her attention on all thing's sustainability. However, she was initially unsure how she could translate this passion and her full-time career.
During her time at Ivey, Abby was part of the Sustainability Certificate program. She was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who shared her passion for sustainability and that even those with other career interests were open to engaging in conversations about sustainability. Abby was a member of Ivey's Social Impact Club and interned with Corporate Knights, and then as a Digital Engagement Specialist for the Network for Business Sustainability (NBS), housed within Ivey. NBS is a platform that helps bridge the gap between those conducting sustainability research and those who use it within their business operations worldwide.
Finding Sustainability Opportunities
When deciding what to pursue after graduation, Abby confronted some tough decisions. She wanted a role in sustainability but needed to ensure that greenwashing had no place in this role. Abby made it a requirement that the job she accepted made a tangible impact on sustainable development. When working at NBS part-time, Abby realized this was a place she could see these needs met.
After completing her HBA, Abby became NBS’ Senior Associate and sole full-time employee. This role allows Abby to wear multiple of hats. She coordinates outreach between the various stakeholders NBS engages, builds effective partnerships, and runs NBS’ social media, to name a few responsibilities. One of Abby’s favourite projects was the Sustainability Centres Community Workshop she put on last year. The conference brought together sustainability leaders from across the globe to share knowledge about how sustainability can thrive in business schools. She’s now excited to be planning this year’s conference in partnership with the United Nations PRME – taking place this June in NYC.
But sustainability is not Abby's only passion – she’s also a singer. In her last year in the HBA program, she began recording and releasing music. She is constantly trying to find ways to mesh sustainability into her art and even performed at the 2022 Art of Management in Organizations (AOMO) Conference in Liverpool to explore this topic with other professionals.
A Vision for a Sustainable Future
Abby hopes that the future of sustainability is not just “talk.” She notes that “the explosion of people – and companies – discussing sustainability has been encouraging. However, what really matters is seeing all the discourse translate to action.” Abby hopes that her work at the Network for Business Sustainability can help facilitate that transition, by providing actionable guidance for those in the business sector.
Abby says that the space is evolving fast, and notes that endless opportunities exist for others to get involved. She hopes to see more business school graduates choosing the sustainability path – because even though it isn’t always the clearest, there’s a ton of opportunity for impact. To help other students and young professionals integrate sustainability into their educational and career paths, Abby also volunteers on the steering committee at Re_Generation. If you’re looking for a place to start, she recommends their resources!
Click here to listen to some of the songs Abby performed at AOMO: Songs of Action: Imagine and What a Wonderful World
To connect with fellow alumni, join Ivey's LinkedIn Sustainability Community.