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ESG Certificate Program

Certificate Program

ESG Certificate Program

12 Sessions

Instant Access to Materials




Gain the ESG mindset leaders of today need to adapt, transform and pivot to a new global reality

Designed by and for board members, executives, investors, and those who advise them. Demonstrate you are future-fit with a certificate from our highly reputed global ESG Certificate Program.

What you'll get from this
self-guided program

Helle Bank Jorgensen

Competent Boards programs are designed and led by Helle Bank Jorgensen, a 30 year ESG veteran and author of Stewards of the Future: A Guide for Competent Boards. Helle is a member of the Nasdaq Center for Board Excellence’s Sustainability & ESG Insights Council; the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network for Corporate Governance, Leadership, and Emerging Multinationals; and HRH Prince of Wales A4S (Accounting for Sustainability) Global Expert Panel.

Helle Bank Jorgensen


Strategic Session Topics

  • Organizational Purpose: How to ensure it adds value
  • Mega-trends: How emergent environmental, societal changes, pandemics, geopolitics, the “great resignation”, human values, use of data and AI, and social justice are changing expectations of businesses and the future of work
  • Changing stakeholder expectations: How to deal with them proactively
  • How a tsunami of guidelines, regulations, and ESG reporting frameworks are impacting a business’ license to operate
  • New types of business models: How stakeholder capitalism, the circular economy, regenerative and net positive businesses, digital and emerging technologies, and the 5th industrial revolution are disrupting businesses as we know them 
  • How asset managers, hedge funds, high-wealth individuals, proxy advisors, and ratings and rankings are impacting board of directors and the board agenda
  • Fiduciary duty: The fast-evolving views and understandings of fiduciary duty across regions
  • Oversight and the role of board committees in embedding ESG in business strategy
  • Thinking the Unthinkable: How to anticipate and lead during major disruptions to ensure resiliency and business continuity considering geopolitics, pandemics, societal changes, climate change, the biodiversity crisis, digital advancements and beyond
  • How the board of directors can best fulfil its critical role in strategy and setting the cultural tone from the top 
  • How to balance short and long-term goals, objectives, compliance, and accountability 
  • Trust and integrity: The board’s role in shareholder and stakeholder communication
  • Incentives: How incentives can drive wanted or unwanted behavior
  • Oversight, accountability, and the role of the board committees       
  • What are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how are they being addressed by regulatory trends and government incentives?
  • Why and how are companies and investors embracing the SDGs and using them as a catalogue of innovation and investment opportunities?
  • Using the SDGs as a common language to communicate with stakeholders
  • How to use the SDGs framework as a strategic tool to understand the world’s biggest pain points and determine risks and new opportunities
  • The link between the SDGs, ESG, purpose, and a business’ license to operate and grow
  • How have global events and megatrends prioritized and accelerated SDGs implementation at business and government levels?
  • Oversight, accountability, and the role of the board committees
  • Climate change: Why and how it impacts the environment, oceans, biodiversity, health, and the global economic and socio-economic outlook and therefore businesses, supply chains, customers, employees, and the societies they operate in
  • How to manage short and long term transitional, regulatory, insurance and political risks and seize opportunities within renewable energy, carbon markets, and a just transition. 
  • Net Zero and Science Based Goals: Scope 1, 2 and 3 commitments, actions, and reporting
  • Growing expectations:
    • Asset managers, proxy advisors, investors, and related investor driven initiatives (Climate Action 100+, UN Principles for Responsible Investment, etc.)
    • Banks, insurance companies, and customers
    • Regulatory bodies and non-regulatory bodies in the climate reporting and disclosure space (US SEC, EU, Asia, International Sustainability Standards Board, Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, CDP, etc.)
    • Stock exchanges (Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative)
    • Voluntary initiatives and ratings and rankings
    • Other stakeholders
  • How companies, investors, insurance companies, and regulators are responding to growing demands for climate action
  • Scenario analysis, disclosure expectations, adaptation, mitigation, and transition strategies
  • Oversight, accountability, and the role of the board committees
  • Growing expectations of ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) disclosure– what are investors asking for and why does it matter?
  • What is considered ESG? Greenwashing, greenwishing, and greenwalking
  • How ESG disclosure issues are leading to securities class actions and civil litigation
  • Understanding ESG ratings, rankings, indices, integration frameworks and materiality risk and opportunity assessments
  • How companies are and should be responding to growing demands for ESG disclosure
  • How to integrate emerging risks into ERM frameworks 
  • Anticipating future trends and new requirements in ESG
  • Why are financial materiality assessments integral to ESG being embedded in company strategy and board oversight?
  • Oversight, accountability, and the role of the board committees
  • Identifying, assessing, and managing salient risks: The impact of environmental and social disasters on your supply chain 
  • Child labor, forced labor, modern slavery, etc.: Do you have human rights risks in your supply chain?
  • The impact of your products: Water scarcity, air pollution, deforestation, etc.
  • Beyond Compliance: Existing and emerging regulations and how to disclose support for major international norms and soft law initiatives
  • Creating mutually beneficial relationships for the long-term: Avoid supply shortages, reputational setbacks, and align the power of procurement with incentives
  • Oversight, accountability, and the role of the board committees
  • Expectations from investors, proxy advisors, and society to foster a pipeline of diverse talent, and to proactively address employee misconduct and workplace culture issues
  • The business case for diversity, including its ability to manage complex issues and identify innovation potential
  • How to achieve diversity of thought – the many forms of diversity (including cultural, racial, religious, age, sexual orientation and gender, disability, socioeconomic background, life experiences, etc.) and the value they bring
  • The power of data, the barriers to progress, and the practices that work when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace
  • Mental health and wellness: Empathy, work from home, burnout, and the future of work
  • Laws and regulation, board composition, board structure, and the role of the board nomination committee
  • Performance evaluation, incentives, and accountability
  • Oversight, accountability, and the role of the board committees
  • Changing risks and expectations associated with anti-corruption, integrity, ethical business practices, and transparency
  • Developing and testing the hallmarks of an effective anti-corruption compliance program
  • Steps companies can take to reduce fraud and corruption including facilitation payments
  • Public and self-disclosure: How much should company reputation matter in decision-making?
  • Managing and overseeing investigations
  • Anticipating new forms of corruption: Cybercrime, dark money, misuse of private and public goods, etc.
  • Public trust, relations, and reputation
  • Navigating political involvement of companies and businesses
  • Oversight, accountability, and the role of the board committees
  • Digitalization: The impact of the digital revolution including blockchain, big data, and AI generated opportunities
  • Data Ethics: Collection, stakeholder privacy concerns, and management of confidential information 
  • Increased organizational and personal data-protection vs. the use of data for good 
  • How can cyber risks impact how responsibly a company’s reputation is perceived
  • Cyber-attacks, hybrid work’s cyber dangers, disaster containment, recovery, and business continuity
  • Antitrust laws and stakeholder expectations including the management of cyber propaganda and fake news
  • Oversight, accountability, and the role of the board committees
  • When tax optimization is no longer responsible 
  • The cost of ownership in a volatile world: Dilemmas when investing for the long-term
  • What information is needed to make well-informed capital investment and capital expenditure (CapEx) decisions
  • How to incentivize leadership for ESG in the short and long run
  • The ripple effects of the pandemic on tax, investment, and pay strategies including income inequality
  • What’s next: Changes in global tax policies that drive ESG investments
  • Oversight, accountability, and the role of the board committees
  • Determining the material issues to manage and communicate to shareholders and stakeholders
  • How to deal with the rise of shareholder activism including engagement strategies before the proxy season and beyond
  • Common standards and frameworks: International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), VRF, Climate Reporting (TCFD, CDP, CDSB), GRI, UN Global Compact, SDGs, etc.
  • Regulations and requirements including Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Dodd-Frank Act, human capital accounting, and stock exchange requirements 
  • What are the future trends in reporting
  • Oversight, accountability, and the role of the board committees
  • A summary of the previous topics and what they mean for the future of good governance
  • What does and what will good governance look like?
  • How to prepare for the evolving role of the board, executives, shareholders, and other stakeholders 
  • What it means to be a steward of the future – including good judgment, courage, and the ability to ask meaningful questions

Session Information

Session Materials

  • A toolbox of 12 comprehensive modules containing dozens of in-depth fireside chats and interview videos with renowned global subject matter experts and board members on the most current and pressing issues executives face today.
  • Sets of questions to evaluate whether your current approaches appropriately consider changing risks and opportunities.
  • A curated list of recommended readings, reports, tools, and frameworks.
  • Content is available 24/7 so you can complete the program at your own pace over a 6-month period.
  • Access to a quarterly live online discussion/Q&A Forum with other self-study participants hosted by Helle Bank Jorgensen, Founder and CEO of Competent Boards

Requirements to Complete

  • Completion of all modules over a 6-month period or less
  • Successful completion of final exam

Endorsed by the Good Governance Academy

Pricing of ESG Certificate Program

Canadian sales tax only applies if you reside in Canada.

Full Certificate Program


Individual Sessions


Compare ESG Programs

What you get Designation Program Certificate Program
Live, bi-weekly interactive discussion and Q&A with global experts and fellow cohort members
No. of modules/sessions
Designation (GCB.D)
Certificate of Completion
CredlyTM digital credential
Current, real-life case study analysis and discussion with fellow cohorts and speakers
World-class faculty
Program duration
24 weeks (12 sessions bi-weekly)
Up to 6 months
Monthly Q&A session with Helle Bank Jorgensen and other program members
Videos and in-depth fireside chats with renowned global experts
Questions to ask management and tools for providing effective oversight
Course materials available 24/7
Access to global network of peers
Final exam
Access to Alumni LinkedIn Group post-graduation
Price (US$)


Poonam Madan

Director, Sustainability Strategy and Reporting, Capital Power

I have not seen that wealth of experience and engagement in any other program related to this topic making the program exceptionally unique. My cohort of very senior and executive leaders brought their experiences forward, and the structure of the program allowed us to share our ideas in a very pragmatic way, only enhancing our learnings.

Soledad Matteozzi

Argentine and New York Attorney, Counsel at Alfaro-Abogados (Argentine Law Firm); Executive Director at the Argentine-American Chamber of Commerce

This is a unique program, unlike anything else that I have seen. Post-Covid, it is even more relevant due to the flexibility of the online classes/session and the importance of addressing ESG issues and macro trends that will affect us all in the short and long term.

Shailesh Haribhakti

Chairman, Blue Star LTD, Larsen&Toubro Financial Holdings LTD, NSDL E-Governance Infrastructure Co of India LTD, and Independent Director of Lafarge Holcim Subsidiaries, ACCLTD and Ambuja Cements LTD.

The permanent value I have derived is so immense, that anyone acceding to my recommendation to take this course is likely to be grateful!

Welcome, which course are you interested in:

Primarily discuss the topics through the lens of serving on the board. You must be serving on at least one board with fiduciary responsibility to enter this stream.

Discuss the topics through a wide range of business perspectives (including the board) and comprise senior executives, investors, and board advisors.

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