Intern profile: Fiona Huynh
Altiorem welcomes you to the next post within a regular series where we profile the inspiring and generous people who are making Altiorem possible.
We are excited to introduce our intern profile on the amazing Fiona Huynh.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I have recently completed my Bachelor of Business degree majoring in Economics and Finance at the University of Technology Sydney. In my spare time, I enjoy reading Chinese xianxia web-novels, spending time with friends and loved ones, and playing with my cat.
I have always had a keen interest in sustainability and the environment, but I felt that my actions as an individual and consumer were negligible to the greater cause. Using the knowledge I gained from my degree, I hope to contribute to sustainable finance in a meaningful and impactful way.
What attracted you to Altiorem?
Initially, I was drawn to Altiorem’s purpose in building an online library for sustainable finance research because I thought it was innovative, unique, and a needed force in the field of sustainable finance.
Before I secured an internship with Altiorem for a subject at university, I was also attracted to their opportunities for me to develop my writing, comprehension, and analytical skills. I found that the responsibilities outlined in the role of a research contributor laid out the optimal setting and challenges for me to improve on these skills.
How have you found the experience? How was it relevant to your studies?
My internship at Altiorem has been one of my most valued experiences in university as it was the perfect organisation for me to actively engage in sustainable finance research.
The role gave me a purpose to study important research and enriched my knowledge about the developments and issues facing the field on a global and national level. The research papers, organisation profiles, and chart analyses I summarised were an effective way for me to apply my understanding of ESG, sustainability, and biodiversity conservation to work.
An additional project I undertook as part of the internship was a collaboration with the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA). For this project, I worked closely with my mentor, Madeline Combe, who supported me in developing one of the first of the Nature in a Nutshell series for RIAA. The Nutshell I created with my mentor addressed the terms “nature capital”, “ecosystem services”, and “nature-based solutions”. We successfully defined these terms and offered investors initiatives and recommendations to effectively apply their knowledge and understand their role in sustainable finance.
My responsibilities at Altiorem as an intern built upon my studies about ESG and sustainability in university.
There wasn’t a significant focus on these topics because my degree was broadly based on other core topics in economics and finance, so I was glad to have found an internship based on ESG and sustainability. As such, my work at Altiorem has allowed me to reflect on those topics, and it has helped me apply it to real-world scenarios in a practical work setting which is vastly different to a classroom setting.
What is the most interesting piece of research you have come across?
The most interesting research I came across was the report I summarised as part of my induction, Factory farming in Asia: Assessing investment risks with my mentor and supervisor, Mariana Wheatley. This report was written by Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR) in collaboration with Asia Research and Engagement (ARE) to study the sustainability risks of Asia’s meat, seafood, and dairy markets.
The report covers five major risks facing the industry including food safety and nutrition, public health risk, environmental footprint, animal welfare, and labour standards. By analysing these risks, the report assists investors to understand the risks in investing in this market, highlights the implications for investors, and raises the important questions for investors to assess their sustainability risks.
I found this to be a very interesting because it provided me with a deep analysis of Asia’s factory farming industry. The use of case studies, data, and graphical components added value to the report and brought forth pressing risks that all investors in this market should be focused on.
Overall, the report was aligned with my personal interests in animal welfare, and it featured interesting topics such as nutrition and health, antibiotic resistance, livestock pollution, and labour rights.
What would you say to other people thinking about contributing to Altiorem?
Just do it!
As contributors, you are given the choice of selecting any piece of research you have an interest in to summarise. This process enriches your understanding of sustainable finance because you must actively engage with the research to be able to create a summary for the reader to digest. Contributing immerses you in industry insight that you would not acquire from casual reading, so contributing is very effective in deepening your understanding of this field. Also, you receive support from a mentor who reviews your work as well as the Altiorem team who are always ready to help you.
Contributing to Altiorem is a very fulfilling experience, and I encourage you to volunteer yourself and help make finance a force for good.