Steps For Earning An ESG Certificate

Published on:
by Aaroshi Rathor
ESG Certification
ESG Certification

What is ESG certification? It can provide companies and individuals a path to adopting sustainable practices in their day-to-day lives, to understand ESG issues and embrace ESG integration holistically, or for those wishing to become financial analysts with an informed view on ESG valuation in capital markets, and how to integrate ESG data into the investment process chain.

From students to professionals, people are eager to learn and understand which ESG risk factors affect their particular region, business, or circumstances. However, one might be overwhelmed by the ample scope of courses offered by various prominent universities worldwide.

Plenty of institutes provide a course in ESG investing; each has different eligibility criteria and a specific focus area. It is critical to first research your area of interest, meet the particular eligibility criteria, and then proceed further into the studies required to obtain an ESG certification. However, questions might arise, like Is CFA ESG worth it? Do you need ESG knowledge to become a consultant? Does an EFTAS Certified ESG Analyst need prior experience?

Let’s discuss and break down the steps to earning an ESG certificate and how to become an ESG specialist.

CFA ESG Certificate

The CFA institute is a global association of investment professionals. The institute offers a professional CFA ESG qualification in investing, which gives practical and technical knowledge in the field of environmental, social, and governance standards regarding investing. The CFA Institute certificate has been recognized by the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and is available globally for students and professionals alike. The exam duration is 2 hours and 20 minutes and is conducted online with 100 multiple-choice questions. The maximum number of attempts to pass is from three to six months. 

To register for the CFA ESG certificate, create an account with the CFA institute; you will get a link for registration via email. Once registered, candidates have up to one year to schedule the exam. The cost of ESG investing certification from the CFA institute is $675. Kindly note, that if a candidate does not sit for the exam within one year of registering, their registration will expire and no refunds will be issued. The average pass rate for the Certificate in ESG Investing exam is 81% and once the candidate has passed the exam, the certificate has lifetime validity and guarantees that ESG qualifications and ESG knowledge gained through the course will be helpful in the long run.


International Association for Sustainable Economy (IASE) is a well-known international ESG certification body in the United Kingdom. The certification promotes ESG education globally for professionals. The course gives an in-depth knowledge of sustainability, provides essential skills, and increases corporate social responsibility skills for professionals and freshers. It has two certification levels, International Sustainable Finance (ISB) and International Sustainable Business, for those looking to demonstrate their commitment to competent and ethical ESG practice. 

The ISF certification is best suited for professionals in the finance field, like banking, wealth management, insurance, and accounting. In contrast, the ISB designation is suited for professionals working in non-finance-related businesses. Each IASE designation recognizes 3 levels of proficiency concerning ESG and sustainability practice. Level 1 is for foundation, Level 2 is Intermediate level, and Level 3 is Expert level. 


To qualify for ISB and ISF certification, the candidate must have at least a high school diploma. For beginners, it is important to take up an ESG certification course before attempting the IASE Professional Competency Examination (PCE) or also known as ‘Board Exams.’ To enquire about IASE-endorsed ESG courses, candidates must contact their local IASE member. Candidates must pass the IASE’s Professional Competency Exam (PCE) to be awarded either IASE’s ISF or ISB professional designations. The exam is conducted online and can be taken from anywhere worldwide. 

How to Register

For registration, you can go to this link. The annual registration cutoff date for Level Advisor 1 Board Exams is 31st August, and for Level Specialist 2 is 16th November. Examinations fees can be obtained from IASE members licensed to represent the IASE aspirant in a particular geographical region. IASE certification fee for Level Advisor 1 is 150 pounds, while for Level Specialist 2 is 225 pounds. Level Advisor 1 exam must be completed within 60 minutes, consisting of 40 multiple choice questions and the pass mark is 60%.

In contrast, the Level Specialist 2 exam must be completed within 90 minutes and consist of 50 multiple-choice questions with a pass mark of 70%. Candidates can withdraw from an exam before starting the exam. However, the examination fee will be carried forward to a future date. All the results will be declared online, and a candidate can request or review them within 10 working days after the results have been declared.


To learn more about ESG, EFFAs certified ESG Analyst certification (CESGA) will give you the much-needed push as it is one of the higher-level ESG investing certifications in the market. The CESGA exam is a Diploma-level course that helps understand ESG data and regulations and integrate ESG into company analysis. For freshers appearing for the EFFAS ESG exam, the study required would be from 80-120 hours. The exam duration is 2.5 hours and is divided into parts that are multiple choice questions and a practical case study with nine constructed response-style questions. Note that negative marking will be done for each incorrect answer in the MCQ part. 

Article: Top 9 ESG Courses And Certifications For Professionals

Exam Process

The exams are held four times a year: March, June, September, and December. The exam registration fee is 250 pounds and the CESGA online training program costs 1,250 pounds and is a mandatory part of the CESGA exam registration process. 

The exam can be taken in online mode globally, and before registering, you should check the CESGA’s online eligibility criteria. CESGA results are declared five weeks after the exam, and candidates will only receive a pass or fail notification. Please note that EFFA does not review or accept appeals regarding exam results. Candidates who pass the exam will receive EFFA’s certified ESG analyst diploma, a digital badge, and the right to use the CESGA trademark. For more info, visit here.


Individuals interested in learning more about ESG certifications or gaining ESG knowledge and ESG qualifications can also check out other options such as ESG CFA UK, CFA UK’s Certificate in Climate and Investing (CII), and GARP’s Certificate in Sustainability and Climate Risk (SCR) along with the Chartered SRI Counselor (CSRIC).

Earning an ESG certificate can open the door to a wide range of career opportunities in both financial and non-financial areas of specialism. Proactively managing ESG risk by understanding ESG risk factors is in growing demand, as individuals specialised in sustainable thinking will ultimately help shape polices that improve company ESG ratings and ESG scores in the longer-term. Corporate sustainability officers are in high demand to help companies develop their ESG integration and ESG reporting reporting strategies.

However, the onus to excel in these certifications depends upon how open you are to truly learn the possibilities for to integrate material ESG factors into your business. So, get ready to be ESG certified now. For more courses on ESG, visit our Courses section now.

Looking to understand the difference between SRI, ESG, and Impact Investing? Read our article here.


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