Wharton Launches New ESG Programs For Executives

The Wharton School Launches New ESG Programs For Executives

The Wharton School in Philadelphia has launched a new portfolio of ESG offering for executives.

For executives facing high-stakes ESG decisions, the Aresty Institute of Executive Education at Wharton last week announced the launch of a portfolio of exec ed courses in environmental, social, and governance space.

Offerings include a new four-week foundational course called Wharton ESG Essentials. That course can be taken as a stand alone or as the foundation for one of three new certificates geared to financial professionals, senior leaders, and strategists. Each of the three certificates include a month of extra coursework. The portfolio was created in collaboration with the Wharton ESG Initiative, which is offering two new MBA majors and an undergraduate ESG concentration beginning in Fall 2023.

All programs include a mix of live online courses as well as asynchronous content. Programs begin in April and applications are now open. Classes are taught by faculty at The University of Pennsylvania’s The Wharton School.

“We’re not advocates, we’re not taking a position, we’re trying to help you do the analysis,” says Witold Henisz, vice dean and faculty director of the Wharton ESG Initiative and academic director of Executive Education ESG Programming.

“We are providing an increasingly important set of tools for executives — the skills and strategies to value ESG factors as well as address them — in real time. These are factors that have been left out of the models, left out of the toolkits to businesses’ detriment, and as we’re doing the research that informs the next generation, we want to equip our current leaders for the frontier as well.”


Wharton ESG Essentials is a four-week foundational course designed to help leaders keep pace with accelerating ESG regulations, lead technological change, and attract and retain talent while delivering value to shareholders.

Students will join live, two-hour online sessions once per week while completing self-paced online modules in between. The live sessions include interactive class discussions, case work, small-group breakout sessions, and simulations.

“Wharton ESG Essentials will prepare leaders to analyze and evaluate the financial implications of ESG factors on their strategies. The program will walk you through a comprehensive view of the ESG landscape — from the movement’s values-based origins to its increasing focus on financial impact; from its data challenges and measurement issues to new measurement approaches and the broad array of investment and corporate strategies that deploy them,” according to the course description.

Wharton ESG Essentials can be taken as a stand alone course, or as an introduction to Wharton’s ESG Executive Certificate with specialized tracks for financial professionals, seniors leaders, and strategists. Those certificates are discussed below.


  • Dates: April 6 through May 25
  • Cost: $6,500
  • Learn more

Wharton ESG Executive Certificate for Financial Professionals provides investment professionals with an actional toolkit to navigate the $35 trillion dollars of managed assets that claim inclusion of environmental, social, and governance factors.

“Additionally, investors and regulators must navigate mounting skepticism of ESG claims, trying to separate the green from the greenwash. They’re positioned in a bind — beholden to growing shareholder appetite for returns on sustainable and value-driven portfolios, while simultaneously competing against benchmark funds that focus only on short-term performance,” states the course description.

The certificate will enhance financial professionals’ ability to integrate ESG into diverse investment strategies, identify climate leaders and laggards, and understand how complex regulations give rise to financial markets for carbon and renewable energy certifications and how it impacts profitability.


  • Dates: April 6 to May 22
  • Cost: $6,500
  • Learn more

Wharton ESG Executive Certificate for Senior Leaders is designed to give practical insights for execs looking to lead in ESG innovation. The course will foster dialogue between current corporate ESG leaders on how to engage with ESG issues while promoting long-term shareholder value.

Students will learn how to assess corporate exposure to climate risk and opportunities, navigate conflicting stakeholder demands while maintaining trust, proactively engage with ESG activities, and more.

“The program dives deepest into the skill sets begetting a successful leader who can put ESG at the forefront of value creation. You will learn the art and science of corporate diplomacy, including best practices for engaging with and fostering fruitful relationships with stakeholders, both external and internal. The program will also provide a playbook for overcoming organizational silos in the development and assessment of political risk mitigation strategies,” its website states.


  • Dates: April 6 to May 23
  • Cost: $6,500
  • Learn more

Wharton ESG Executive Certificate for Strategists targets corporate strategists, consultants, business development leads, and other cross functional leaders. It outlines practically relevant research and tools to lead ESG strategy including project valuation, ESG risk and opportunity, data adoption, and project management.

“The demand for seasoned talent in the ESG strategy space is rapidly increasing. Global corporations’ strategists and consultants are accelerating the buildout of their ESG practices on sound business grounds, but those brought in to implement such significant business transformation are often working from an inherent deficit. They must rise above the rhetoric and lofty promises of their firms to quickly effect concrete change that delivers tangible value,” states the certificate description.

Participants will build a foundation for integrating ESG into strategic analysis, learn to analyze strategic response to risk and opportunities, improve ESG communication and data systems, and more.


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