Alumni Spotlight: Miguel CuUnjing Associate Director of North America – Engagement at Federated Hermes; MSB MBA 2015
By Alannah Nathan (SFS ‘24) and Common Home Editor
Our Alumni Spotlight series elevates alumni voices in the environmental field and shares their inspiring stories. Hundreds of Hoyas within the vast network of Georgetown alumni are working towards a greener future; leading critical projects in wildlife conservation, sustainable business, ecological research, and other vital efforts.
Miguel CuUnjing (MSB ‘15) is the Associate Director for EOS at Federated Hermes on the North American team. The EOS team provides investment stewardship, serves and advices on over $1.6T worth of assets, and enables active ownership through direct investee engagement on strategy, capital allocation, and Environmental Social Governance (ESG). Miguel serves on the climate change, human rights, and shareholder protections and rights teams and leads the global financial sector team. Miguel is also an advisory board member at the Plastic Credit Exchange, a non-profit dedicated to reducing the flow of plastic waste into landfills and oceans through partnerships with sustainability-conscious businesses.
Please share a brief overview of your current position and the work that you do at Federated Hermes.
I serve on Federated Hermes’ climate change, human rights, and shareholder protections and rights thematic teams, and lead our global financial sector team.I engage most heavily with leading US- and Southeast Asia-based financial institutions, as well as many leading US oil and gas operators and technology software companies, among others. Informed by the priorities of our client base, and to help inform investment decision-making, we continue to engage on priority ESG issues such as climate transition strategy, mitigating adverse human rights impacts, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy among others.
What inspired you to work in the corporate sustainability field and ESG investment? What have you found exciting or innovative in your field recently?
I am from the Philippines and am keenly aware of the extreme deforestation, waste mismanagement, and dramatic degradation of the country’s biodiversity (particularly marine) and natural resources that have occurred within my lifetime. I am also a lifelong fly fisherman and outdoorsman, which has only increased my reverence for pristine ecosystems. Rather than merely a profession, I consider my work in ESG to be a life-long vocation.
An exciting dynamic I have witnessed in my role is the increasing investor emphasis on holding board directors and executive leadership accountable for ESG strategy and progress. Company commitments and track records on material ESG issues are now informing shareholder support for company directors and executives and, increasingly, buy/sell decisions made by leading global investors. This activity evidences the ongoing integration of ESG factors into the global economic system.
What career path led you to where you are now? Were there any pivots, or did you have a clear sense from the beginning that you wanted to be where you are now?
While only working at the intersection of business and sustainability, I have served in a variety of different capacities including in-house operational sustainability lead, sustainability communications strategist, NGO/think tank program manager, external consultant, ESG risk and due diligence lead, and investment stewardship/engagement specialist.
I have remained dedicated to a career in sustainability since my undergraduate years, and my career path is reflective of the very recent and ongoing ‘mainstreaming’ of the ESG profession. While I did not plan each of these moves, I am certainly a stronger ESG professional given my experience working on these issues from a variety of perspectives.
When you reflect back on your time as a Georgetown student, what would you tell current students regarding their career search? Do you have any advice for current students hoping to pursue a career in corporate sustainability and ESG investment?
It is always a great sign when alumni are jealous of current students, and the Georgetown McDonough School of Business in particular has significantly increased the opportunities present for those interested in the space. Georgetown continues to enable students to explore the intersection between business, sustainability, and government in a way few other institutions are able to provide.
My advice for those interested in ESG is to pursue alignment between one’s own ESG priority issues, tactical skillsets, and desired professional and work/life balance dynamics. This space is booming and, amidst the increasing market demand for ESG expertise, it is prudent for candidates to consider the above areas to differentiate themselves and refine their job search.
I would also recommend networking and informational interviews to learn more about potential opportunities. There is a spirit of ‘coopetition’ among ESG professionals, and (in my experience) many recognized leaders in the field remain very generous with their time and are open to connecting with interested talent.
Do you have any interesting books, films, or podcasts related to the environment (or your particular line of work) that you recommend?
Bloomberg Green has a daily newsletter that is free and provides a great rundown of the latest news at the intersection of climate change and business, especially in the financial sector. GreenBiz also provides weekly newsletters, articles, videos, and podcasts (including the GreenBiz 350 series) that cover a wide range of ESG issues beyond climate.
- Alumni Spotlight