How to choose the best ESG course for your business

Published on: 23 September 2022
by Aaroshi Rathor
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Companies and individuals are constantly pushing forward toward adopting sustainable practices in their business strategies. From getting ESG certified to knowing the importance of ESG education for companies, corporates, SMEs, and professionals want to make sustainability their priority. However, with the vast range of ESG courses being offered by international institutes, it can be a daunting task to choose the best ESG course for your business. In order to reap the maximum benefits for your business, it is important to have a clear vision.  So, let’s proceed step by step and narrow down the options. 

1. Research

Before diving deep into certifications in environmental, social, and governance, you need to research the different types of certifications available and decide which one might be the best fit for your business. If you are in the finance or asset management sector, courses like the CFA institute’s certificate in ESG investing, EFFA’s Certified ESG analyst program (CESGA), and CFA UK’s Certificate in Climate Investing (CII) would be beneficial. Financial advisors and investment professionals can also opt for Chartered SRI Counselor (CSRIC) which gives you foundational knowledge about the history, ongoing trends, basic definitions, and portfolio construction principles along with the best practices for sustainable and responsible investments. For professionals working in risk management, GARP’s Certificate in Sustainability and Climate Rick (SCR) would be the best fit as it helps them in understanding the risk of climate change in companies. Once you have a clear idea of your business requirements, it becomes a lot easier to choose courses accordingly. 

2. Plan

The next step after researching comes planning. When deciding on pursuing a specific ESG certification, pay attention the requirements of the institution in question. Make sure you meet all the eligibility criteria along with the necessary terms and conditions to earn the certification. For example, Sustainability Accounting Standard Board (SASB) gives a certificate of sustainable investment to professionals who have a minimum of two years of work experience in the sustainable investment field, along with passing the exam. Each institute and organisation has different eligibility requirements, so make sure to check them before applying for the certification course. Along with this, it is important to focus on a specific area of sustainability that will be useful for your business. For example, if your business is based more on agriculture then taking up a course on sustainable agriculture would be the best option for you.       

3. Implement the Policies & Procedures

Planning alone won’t help you to become ESG certified, it is also important to implement the policies and practices required for gaining a certificate in ESG. Note down all the policies and practices essential for getting certified from the institute you are planning to get a certification from. For example, the CFA institute offers a programme in ESG investing and it has a strict policy and procedure for ensuring that the exam process is fair for all candidates regardless of their nationality, religion, or gender. It is important to read and abide by the policies set by institutes be it their admission policy or identification policy or Refund and deferral policy. Earning an ESG certification will depend upon the institute and whether or not the candidate has agreed to all the procedures and policies listed by them. So, make sure to go through each and every detail before applying for the certification course.  

4. Get audited by an accredited body 

With a plethora of institutes offering certifications, it becomes difficult to segregate the ones which have been officially audited by an accredited body. Just earning a certification is not an indication of an organisation performing in the best manner. Therefore, it is important that certifications must be granted by authorised accredited bodies which are external to the organisation, for a transparent and fair review of the certification. Earning a certification provides an external type of endorsement to the world that the organisation meets the criteria specified for a given standard. With regard to ESG certifications, the CFA institute and IASE are a few of the globally accredited bodies one can earn a certification from. 

In summary

Businesses across the globe are slowly accelerating the transition into a more sustainable world. In order to be a part of the transition, it is important for individuals and businesses to have the necessary knowledge and skills in the ESG domain as it helps in the long term. Companies can prove their determination and commitment to sustainability by implementing sustainable policies and responsible investments while individuals can get ESG certified and gain mastery in the diverse areas of sustainability which can help them to expand their personal business or to give advice to companies on more complex ESG issues. Whatever the case, always make sure to choose the best ESG course which aligns with your own business requirements.    

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