28 courses to boost your ESG, sustainable finance skills – GreenBiz

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Whether you want to learn how to make more sustainable investment choices or improve your company’s ESG performance, these 28 courses can help.
By Trish Kenlon
May 9, 2024
Source: Shutterstock/Khakimullin Aleksandr
Editor’s note: This is part of a series on closing the sustainability skills gap with the resources available right now. The collection includes over a dozen articles and more than 200 training opportunities in areas such as corporate sustainability strategy, climate and net-zero strategy, procurement and supply chain, circular economy, professional certifications and free upskilling.
Much like the word “sustainability,” the terms “environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing,” “impact investing” and “sustainable finance” mean different things to different people. If you’re looking for training at the intersection of finance and sustainability, it’s important to understand the differences among these terms to ensure that you’re taking the right course. Here’s a quick guide: 
The offerings below are divided into courses that can help you understand and improve your organization’s ESG performance and courses that can help you incorporate ESG, impact or sustainability considerations into your investment decision-making process. This is not a perfect division, and there is a lot of overlap between the two categories. Several course descriptions also use the above terms interchangeably, so be sure to read the fine print for each course.  
These courses run the gamut from introductory level to professional deep-dive. If you’re new to finance or sustainability, keep in mind that these are highly complex and competitive disciplines. Consider any course you take to be a starting place; you’ll likely need additional education and experience in the financial instruments or impact areas you want to focus on to be a competitive candidate for roles in this space. 
If all these training opportunities have gotten you excited to learn more, be sure to subscribe to the GreenFin Weekly newsletter and save the date for GreenBiz’s GreenFin event June 17-19 in New York City to form valuable connections with finance, investment and sustainability experts, get up to speed on the latest ESG trends in finance and investing and discover essential products and services to accelerate your climate strategy.
As is often the case with these types of lists, I’m sure I’ve missed some. If your favorite offering isn’t included here, I warmly invite you to join the conversation on LinkedIn to tell me and your fellow readers about it. Thanks in advance for your help with bringing these resources out into the open so that more people can get to work on advancing sustainable business practices. 
These courses help professionals within an organization to understand how their company’s ESG performance is being evaluated by investors and other stakeholders and how they can drive improvement. Key topics for these courses usually include ESG-related risks and opportunities, global ESG regulations, reporting standards, ratings and rankings organizations, and stakeholder communication. Some courses also cover how organizations can incorporate ESG and impact considerations into investment decisions and reporting. 
This course is designed for CFOs and sustainability practitioners who engage with them and covers the four principles that CFOs can implement to build long-term sustainable value through strategic and financial integration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Look for new content on sustainable finance from the UN Global Compact Academy coming in the third quarter of 2024.
The course is designed for a wide audience — including companies interested in understanding how investors analyze and take account of sustainability issues, finance professionals interested in understanding how their activities might support the goals of sustainable development, policymakers, and civil society organizations interested in working with the finance sector.
The US Sustainable Investment Forum (US SIF) has offered a course on the fundamentals of ESG and impact investing for over a decade. The self-paced, on-demand version of the course is being updated to reflect recent regulatory updates and will become available again mid-2024. In the meantime, the US SIF Forum 2024 will host a live version of the course in Chicago on June 25.                      
This self-paced professional training and certification program delivers a blend of ESG skills that are relevant to both corporate sustainability and finance professionals. The curriculum includes 13 courses covering finance, reporting, investing and business strategy and labs that provide practice with conducting a materiality assessment, developing ESG policies and developing an ESG governance structure.  
This certification course provides an introduction to ESG issues, indicators, standards and ratings. It also covers the relationship between sustainability reporting and investors, materiality and communicating value creation to financial stakeholders. The Sustainability Academy also offers ESG for CFOs, IRs and Fund Managers, which covers ESG investing principles. 
This course is designed for executives and leaders in the finance and accounting functions and teaches why and how to incorporate ESG and sustainability into your strategic and financial planning. Learners are guided through developing a personalized Sustainability Transformation Plan for their organization.  
These courses teach financial professionals how to incorporate ESG or impact considerations into the investment decision-making process. Common topics in these courses include ESG analysis, ESG and climate-related risks, portfolio construction and management, scenario analysis and creating, measuring and reporting impact. 
This certification is one of several job-specific training offerings available on Voiz Academy’s unlimited sustainability upskilling platform. The ESG Analyst certification provides e-learning and hands-on assignments that teach learners how to analyze and rate ESG funds for their sustainability, including climate and other thematic impact funds.
This course covers climate change, climate, environmental and sustainability risks, the evolution of green and sustainable products and services in the banking, investment and insurance sectors, and the role of the finance sector in supporting the transition to a low-carbon world.
This professional training and certification program is administered by the CFA Institute and has received recognition from the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The CFA Institute also administers the CFA Charterholder credential, a rigorous industry-leading certification for investment professionals that demonstrates a strong understanding of advanced investment analysis and real-world portfolio management skills.
The Principles for Responsible Investment were developed by the United Nations in partnership with institutional investors from around the world. Applied RI is PRI Academy’s flagship training program for incorporating ESG factors into investment decision-making. PRI Academy offers several other courses including Understanding ESG, Advanced RI Analysis, RI for Trustees, RI in Practice and ESG in Alternative Investments
This cohort-based experience builds on the foundational knowledge covered in the Certificate in ESG Investing to teach participants how to integrate climate-related risks and opportunities into the valuation and portfolio construction processes. The course also covers sectors such as renewable energy, green infrastructure and green financial instruments and provides guidance for simplifying complex climate concepts for effective communication with stakeholders and clients. An on-demand version of the course will become available in August.
The EFFAS Certified ESG Analyst is a professional credential issued by the European Federation of Financial Analyst Societies (EFFAS). The program is focused on the integration of ESG into investment analysis and places special emphasis on how ESG considerations affect asset classes and the due diligence process and on developing a nuanced understanding of data quality, reporting and regulation. EFFAS Academy also offers EFFAS ESG Essentials, which provides a shorter introduction of these concepts to a wider audience. 
This course enables investment professionals to evaluate ESG factors and measure and manage impact investments. This is one of several sustainable finance offerings from Harvard, which include Fundamentals of Sustainable Investing, Introduction to Sustainable Finance and Investments and Making the Sustainable Investment Business Case from the Harvard Extension School.  
This course is designed for investors, financial advisers and money managers who want to justify, advance or provide guidance on impact investing and measurement. The experience includes hands-on activities such as evaluating a portfolio’s level of risk, applying impact management principles to investments, and identifying a portfolio in alignment with your investment strategy. Columbia Business School also offers a course on ESG Investing, which begins Aug. 1.
This program enables business leaders to drive the shift toward sustainable finance within their organizations and report accurately on sustainable investment returns. It caters to individuals making investment decisions in diverse industries such as asset management, investment and banking and provides consultants, executives and sustainability professionals with insights into the ESG data and metrics that shape sustainable investments. 
This course is suitable for both financial and non-finance professionals seeking to gain practical knowledge on how sustainable finance can drive long-term business returns. It explores the current financial system including pressures, trends and opportunities and provides practical guidance on impact investing, integrating ESG investing and positive screening.
This six-week program, conducted by Climate Angels in partnership with Climate Capital, covers the entire angel investing toolkit and delivers actionable insights backed by real-world case studies, guest sessions with veteran climate investors, and hands-on exercises to rapidly get participants making angel investments in impactful, high-potential climate tech startups. 
I hope this article has helped you find at least one great new resource to help you incorporate ESG or impact considerations into your investment or management practices. Remember, if I’ve missed one of your favorites or if you want to tell me about a resource that could be relevant to a future article, please join the conversation on LinkedIn. Until next time!
Trish Kenlon is the founder of Sustainable Career Pathways, a popular career coaching service that provides free, actionable resources to job seekers and has helped thousands of professionals transition into climate and sustainability work.
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