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Sustainability: An Introduction to ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance)

Learn what Environmental, Social and Governance is and how it could transform your approach to ethics and the environment.

981 enrolled on this course

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Sustainability: An Introduction to ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance)

981 enrolled on this course

  • 2 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Define and apply the concept of ESG.

ESG has become a buzzword in business and the media. But the meaning and principles of the concept can be hard to define.

On this two-week course from the Association of Corporate Treasurers, you’ll learn all you need to know about Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). After defining and applying the concept, you’ll explore the impact it could have on your organisation and life.

Discover the origins of the ESG agenda

Before you get into the detail of ESG, you’ll learn more about the origins of the concept.

You’ll explore the role that the UN has played in defining and setting ESG targets and understand how these relate to the sustainable development goals.

Home in on key concepts and components of ESG

In the second week of the course, you’ll take a more focused look at the different components of the ESG umbrella.

You’ll break down each aspect of the acronym, and cover key concepts and developments like biodiversity, the EU taxonomy and the Dasgupta Review.

Reflect on the implications of ESG for business ethics and the environment

Once you’ve understood the concept of ESG, you can begin thinking about its broader implications. You’ll explore how applying ESG goals in your own organisation could improve its ethical and environmental impact.

You’ll finish the course with the knowledge and confidence to champion ESG at home and at work.


  • Week 1

    What is the background to climate change and biodiversity?

    • Introduction

      During the week we look into the role played by the United Nations in creating the global framework that sets many of the aims and objectives of ESG. We also explore biodiversity and the critical role it plays with sustainability.

    • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

      In this activity we will explore the different SDGs, their importance and how they can relate to your own environment.

    • The Conference of the Parties (COPs)

      We often hear about the COPs but what are they? This activity will explain what the two different COPs are and highlight some of the landmark meetings.

    • Other international bodies

      As well as the United Nations there are a number of other international organisations that are involved in ESG. In this activity, we explore some of the most well-known and important organisations.

    • Biodiversity

      The role of biodiversity in supporting a sustainable planet for all is increasingly recognised. In this activity we explore what biodiversity can include from an ESG perspective and the various goals and targets set.

    • Natural Capital

      Alongside traditional forms of capital such as financial and human, natural capital has been recently added. In this activity we learn what natural capital is and some of the methodologies being applied to calculate it.

    • Summary of Week 1

      In the final activity of the week, you will reflect on what you have learnt in a poll and test yourself with a quiz. We will then wrap up the week with a summary of the key learnings.

  • Week 2

    What does ESG represent?

    • What is the language behind ESG?

      During the week we will do a deep dive into the individual components of E, S and G. Underpinning it will be an introduction to the language being developed in different countries - the taxonomy of ESG.

    • EU Taxonomy

      A key challenge with ESG is the lack of a common agreed language. In this activity we explore the definitions that have been agreed by the EU - the first jurisdiction to create a taxonomy for ESG activities.

    • Other Taxonomies

      Although the EU was the first jurisdiction to create a taxonomy, other countries are following suit. In this activity we explore what is happening elsewhere.

    • What does the E in ESG represent?

      Although we may be able to define what the E in ESG stands for, what activities can it cover? In this activity we explore it in more detail and go into detail on Scopes 1, 2, and 3.

    • What does the S in ESG represent?

      In this activity we review what is covered by S, including details of the draft EU Social Taxonomy.

    • What does the G in ESG represent?

      In this activity we review the importance of G and provide some examples of it.

    • Course summary and final assessment

      Well done! You have come to the final activity of the course where you will have the opportunity to recap what you have learnt in Week 2, take the final test and find out what could be next on your journey.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Discuss the scope and context of climate change
  • Describe the role of the international community and the different goals they aim to achieve
  • Explain the main environmental factors that affect sustainability
  • Explain the main social factors that affect sustainability
  • Explain the main governance factors that affect sustainability

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone with a broad interest in business ethics and ESG.

Whether you are a student or a professional, working at any level of seniority, this course will provide a useful foundation for building ESG principles into your work and everyday life.

Who will you learn with?

I am a corporate treasury professional with a career spanning operational, strategic and consulting roles. At PwC I led the Cash and Payments proposition. I focus on payments, technology and ESG.

Who developed the course?

The Association of Corporate Treasurers

The Association of Corporate Treasurers, the only professional treasury body with a Royal Charter, sets the global benchmark for treasury excellence through internationally recognised qualifications.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Buy this course

$79/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 2 Aug 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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