September 2024 - November 2024

Sustainability & ESG Designation (GCB.D) and Certification

Gain an accelerated designation (GCB.D) and certification to highlight your competency in sustainability risks, opportunities, and strategy oversight.

Take this accelerated certification program to be on the forefront of sustainability leadership

The GCB.D designation is a prestigious credential highlighting expertise in governance and sustainability. This is your opportunity to master the skills needed for effective oversight of sustainability risks and strategies, aligned with the latest compliance standards and regulations.

You’ll learn from a global, diverse faculty with extensive experience in guiding board members and executives through critical issues like geopolitics, technology, AI, ESG, cybersecurity, human rights, supply chain, human capital & DEI, climate change, biodiversity, stakeholder expectations, future of good governance, and more. This designation is your key to staying ahead in the rapidly evolving governance landscape.

You will also join an active alumni network of over 1000 board members and business leaders from more than 55 countries. This expands your professional network and provides access to a global community committed to being the stewards of the future.

Faculty Speakers:

September - November 2024 Cohort

Engage with our leading faculty speakers for an immersive dialogue on current, critical topics at the forefront of board members’ minds.

R. Gopalakrishnan

Author, Doodles on Leadership: Experiences Within and Beyond Tata; Non–Executive Chairman, Castrol India; Former Chairman, Unilever Arabia

Charles O. Holliday Jr.

Chair, Mission Possible Partnership; Former Chair, Royal Dutch Shell, Bank of America; Former Chair and CEO, DuPont

Jens W. Moberg

Professional Chairman & Board member; Owner & Founder, Leadership Institute; Chairman of the Board, Grundfos; Chairman of the Board, Adapteo; Vice Chairman of the Board, Poul Due Jensen Foundation; Member of the Board, Kirk Kapital; Member of the Board, Crayon Group Holding ASA; Senior Advisor, Greenland Resources Inc.

Francesca Ecsery

Non-executive Director, Air France, Henderson High Income Trust plc., Haffner Energy S.A., Association of Investment Companies (AIC); SID, CT Automotive plc.

John Streur

Founding Member Investor Advisory Group, SASB; Advisory Board Member ESG Initiative, The Wharton School; Advisory Board Member, Boston University Impact Measurement & Allocation Program (IMAP)

More speakers will be announced…

Return on Investment for Board Members and Senior Business Leaders

Earning a global certification in Sustainability and ESG from Competent Boards will enable you to:

  • Differentiate yourself, standing tall with the select minority of leaders who have earned a certification.
  • Stay abreast of latest developments in sustainability leadership and governance, creating long term value for multiple stakeholders (e.g., energy transition scenario planning).
  • Support your organization in complying with mandatory disclosure requirements on board competency, such as IFRS S1 and S2.
  • Engage directly with expert global faculty and peer-to-peer case based experiential learning.
  • Be part of a lifelong community of active learners committed to board leadership on the front lines of corporate governance.
  • Be more anticipatory, build trust and encourage integrated thinking to obtain, retain, and upgrade your board positions with greater influence and accountability.
  • Make a difference – for your organization, for your investors, and for society and the world at large

1000+ alumni in nearly 60 countries from organizations such as:
















“Through practical examples and real-life experiences, these programs will help any leader who wants to keep up with new environmental, ethical, financial and societal demands.”

Claudia Sender
Non-Executive Director, Telefonica, Embraer, Holcim and Gerdau

“The Competent Boards ESG Designation Program provided an excellent opportunity to learn first hand from experts with real world experience. Not only was the course a great education in ESG matters, but also in how today’s Boards function and are evolving to adapt in a rapidly changing world.”

Robert Buchanan (GCB.D)
Director, Investor Relations, Karora Resource Inc.

“What makes this course a step above many others is the quality and experience of speakers who are global industry experts as well as the fellow participants who were from all over the globe! The discussions were open, transparent and very practical.”

Nicole Paquin (GCB.D)
Corporate Director, Logistec Corporation
Peter Bowie

“The practical learning from the combination of knowledgeable global leaders in a variety of industrial and academic organizations, the experience and expertise of the program’s leaders, and regular interactions with the participating board members, from many countries and organizations, was remarkable. The program exceeded my expectations.”

Peter Bowie
Independent Director, Magna International, Xebec, FedNav, DMZ Accelerator

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

Shailesh Haribhakti
Chairman, Blue Star LTD, Larsen & Toubro Financial Holdings LTD, NSDL E-Governance Infrastructure Co of India LTD

“There are a lot of development programs out there. This one is very, very, unique. You gain from talking to people that come from different walks of life, different companies and different situations, which prepares you to be a better board member.”

Charles O. Holliday Jr.
Chair, Mission Possible Partnership; Former Chair, Royal Dutch Shell, Bank of America; Former Chair and CEO, DuPont

A Format Designed for Busy Schedules

Sharpen your board acumen with our premium interactive learning journey, designed for current and aspiring board members. Engage with leading faculty on critical governance and sustainability topics in a confidential and immersive environment, and gain the insight and foresight to act with confidence in the boardroom and beyond.

Transformative On-demand Curriculum

Our curriculum, powered by board members, is not just about learning; it’s about leading in uncharted territories with confidence and integrity. It’s about equipping you with the tools to make decisions that not only benefit your organization but also equip you to be a steward of the future. Each module in the curriculum is a stepping stone to transforming your role as a board member with:

  • Expertly Curated Content: Deepen your knowledge with essential material guides.
  • Critical Questions for Board Members: Sharpen your decision-making skills.
  • Exclusive Insights: Learn from the best business minds in the field.
Online Interactive Sessions with Highly Sought-After Faculty Speakers

Join esteemed faculties and global peers in a safe space primed for open dialogues on current, critical topics at the forefront of board members’ minds.

  • Engage with Leading Experts: Interact directly with faculty speakers who are at the cutting edge of governance and sustainability, gaining insights into the latest trends, opportunities, challenges, and solutions.
  • Interactive Learning Environment: Participate in a dynamic online setting that promotes active engagement through real-time discussions, Q&A sessions, and the sharing of experiences and best practices.
  • Focus on Critical Issues: Delve into current topics of paramount importance to board members, including governance frameworks, sustainability strategies, ethical leadership, and the impact of real-time global trends on organizational oversight.
Case Study Discussions with your Global Peers

This engaging peer-peer case discussion not only imparts critical knowledge but also fosters a dynamic network to excel in your role.

  • Real-World Case Studies: Dive deep into actual business scenarios, analyzing challenges and strategizing solutions with peers.
  • Interactive Group Discussions: Engage in lively, guided discussions that stimulate critical thinking and collaborative problem-solving.
  • Enhanced Networking Opportunities: Connect with a diverse group of peers, fostering valuable relationships and expanding your professional network.
Board Simulation

The Board Simulation is an immersive exercise designed to replicate real-world boardroom challenges, allowing participants to apply their knowledge in a practical setting. This simulation facilitates decision-making and strategy development skills, focusing on sustainability and governance issues within a dynamic and interactive environment.

It’s a capstone experience of the program, ensuring participants can translate theoretical learning into actionable insights in a risk-free, collaborative setting.

Designation Requirements
  • Use the transformative curriculum as preparation materials.
  • Attend at least four out of the six scheduled sessions and discussions.
  • Successfully complete the board simulation, assessed by external jurors.

Your cohort members will include leaders from the United States, Australia, Brazil, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Canada and the United Kingdom representing a range of sectors, including manufacturing, insurance, IT, government, travel, healthcare, and oil & gas.


September - November 2024 Cohort

September 2024

September 4, 2024 | 9:30 – 11 AM ET:  Interactive Session with Faculty Speakers

Topic: Charting the Path: Navigating Uncertainties and Dilemmas in the Boardroom

September 11, 2024 | 9:30 – 10:30 AM ET: Case Study Discussion with the cohort of global peers

October 2024

October 16, 2024 | 9:30 – 11 AM ET:  Interactive Session with Faculty Speakers

Topic: Actioning Trust and Transparency: Agile Strategies for Responsible Leadership and Impact

October 23, 2024 | 9:30 – 10:30  AM ET:  Case Study Discussion with the cohort of global peers

November 2024

November 13, 2024 | 9:30 – 11 AM ET: Interactive Session with Faculty Speakers

Topic: Being a Steward of the Future: Governance and Structure for Tomorrow’s Challenges

November 20, 2024 | 9:30 – 10:30  AM ET: Case Study Discussion with the cohort of global peers

Board Simulation:

Option 1: November 27, 2024

Option 2: December 4, 2024

*If you’re unable to attend one of the interactive sessions, we ensure continuity in your learning journey by providing the session recording. The recording will be accessible on our learning platform as a task for you to complete. This way, you won’t miss out on the valuable insights shared during the live event, enabling you to stay on track with the program requirements.

Previous & Upcoming Cohorts

Transformative On-demand Curriculum

1. Understanding New Geopolitical Risks and Expectations for Companies
  • Discuss how major global events, such as climate change, the war in Ukraine and ongoing pandemics, are changing stakeholders’ expectations of companies 
  • Understand how business trends, such as the “Great Resignation”, the use of data and social justice are shaping the future of work 
  • Look at organisational purpose and how to ensure it adds value
  • Study the tidal wave of guidelines, regulations and ESG reporting frameworks that are impacting the ability of businesses to operate
  • Examine new business models such as stakeholder capitalism, the circular economy, regenerative and net-positive businesses, and the 5th industrial revolution 
  • Understand how asset managers, hedge funds, high-wealth individuals and proxy advisors are impacting boards of directors and board agendas
  • Study the fast-evolving views and understandings of fiduciary duty across regions
  • Explore the role of board committees in embedding ESG in business strategy
2. Dealing with Dilemmas: Turning Business Risks into Opportunities
  • Learn how to lead and plan to ensure business continuity during major disruptions such as geopolitical upheaval, climate change, pandemics, societal changes and digital innovation
  • Identify how a board of directors can fulfil its critical strategic role and set the cultural tone from the top
  • Understand how to balance short-, medium- and long-term goals, objectives, compliance and accountability
  • Examine the board’s role in shareholder and stakeholder communications, including creating trust and integrity
  • Study how incentives can drive wanted or unwanted behaviour
  • Scrutinise oversight, accountability and the role of the board committees
  • Learn how to address shareholder expectations, letters and proposals, ratings and rankings, activist investors, and disclosure expectations
3. How to Use the UN Sustainable Development Goals Strategically
  • Learn about the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how regulatory trends and government incentives affect them in different parts of the world
  • Understand how companies and investors are embracing the SDGs and using them for innovation and investment 
  • Explore the use of the SDGs as a common language to communicate with stakeholders
  • Examine how to use the SDGs framework as a strategic tool to understand your company’s biggest pain points to determine risks and new opportunities
  • Examine the link between the SDGs and ESG, as well as a company’s purpose and licence to operate and grow
  • Discover how global events and megatrends have prioritised and accelerated the implementation of SDGs by businesses and governments
4. Impacts of Climate Change and Biodiversity: A Board’s Accountability
  • Explore how climate change and biodiversity loss shape the global economic, socio-economic landscapes, and corporate strategic planning.

  • Uncover the intricate connections between climate change, biodiversity conservation, business operations, and their impacts on supply chains, customers, employees, and society.

  • Evaluate the short-, medium-, and long-term transitional, regulatory, insurance, and political risks, with the added dimension of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.

  • Discover opportunities within the evolving landscape, including renewable energy, carbon markets, nature-positive business models, sustainable supply chains, and the application of circular economy principles.

  • Discuss the evolving understanding of carbon neutrality, natural capital accounting, and biodiversity conservation goals, exploring different science-based commitments, actions, and reporting levels.

  • Examine the rising expectations from asset managers, advisors, and investors around climate initiatives, sustainable investment principles, and biodiversity conservation.

  • Learn how companies, investors, insurance companies, and regulators are responding to growing demands for climate action, biodiversity conservation, and nature-positive strategies.

  • Understand scenario analysis, adaptation, mitigation, and transition strategies within the context of climate change and nature loss.

  • Familiarize with key global regulatory and non-regulatory bodies and frameworks shaping the climate-related and biodiversity-focused disclosure and reporting landscape.

5. How to Build ESG Oversight and Foresight
  • Learn about the growing expectations for disclosure around ESG topics and how companies are best responding to those demands 
  • Look at what investors are asking for and why does that matter
  • Get under the skin of ESG in businesses to see the difference between greenwashing and successful corporate sustainability 
  • Uncover how ESG disclosure issues are leading to securities class actions and civil litigation
  • Understand ESG ratings, rankings, indices and integration frameworks, as well as materiality risk and opportunity assessments
  • Discover why financial materiality assessments are integral for companies to embed ESG in strategy and board oversight
  • Anticipate future trends and new requirements, while learning how to integrate emerging risks into enterprise risk management (ERM) frameworks
  • Scrutinise oversight, accountability and the role of the board committees
6. Understanding Human Rights and Environmental Issues in Supply Chains
  • Learn about the impact of environmental and social disasters on supply chains, and how to identify, assess and manage important risks
  • Examine whether child labour, forced labour, modern slavery or other human-rights issues exist in your business supply chain
  • Understand the impact of your products on the natural world, such as water scarcity, air pollution and deforestation
  • Come to grips with compliance, looking at existing and emerging regulations as well as how to disclose support for major international norms and soft law initiatives
  • Understand how to create mutually beneficial long-term relationships with suppliers
  • Learn how to avoid supply shortages and reputational setbacks, plus align procurement with incentives
7. Elevating Oversight of Human Capital Management (HCM) and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB)
  • Define the expectations from investors, proxy advisors, and society to encourage diversity in the workplace
  • Learn how to foster a pipeline of diverse talent into and through your company and achieve diversity of thought
  • Understand the full spectrum and business value of diversity, as well as the regulations around it
  • Learn how to address employee misconduct and workplace culture issues
  • Identify the many forms of diversity — including culture, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender, disability, socioeconomic background and lived experiences — and the value they bring
  • Address the power of data, the barriers to progress and best practices for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace
  • Understand the importance of mental health and wellness at work
  • Examine the relevant laws and regulations for DEI in a business, looking at board composition and structure, oversight, accountability and the role of the board nomination committee
  • Learn performance evaluation methods, incentives, and accountability
8. Gaining Trust: Anti-Corruption, Integrity and Transparency Best Practices
  • Learn the changing risks and expectations associated with anti-corruption, integrity, ethical practices and transparency
  • Understand the steps companies can take to reduce fraud and corruption at work, including facilitation payments
  • Examine public and self-disclosure, including the importance of company reputation matter in decision-making
  • Understand how to manage and oversee investigations 
  • Learn how to anticipate new forms of corruption, such as cybercrime and dark money, as well as the misuse of private and public goods
  • See how to build public trust, relations and reputation
  • Navigate the political involvement of companies and businesses
  • Develop questions to ask management to test the robustness and effectiveness of its anti-corruption approach
9. Understanding Responsible Use of Data, Cybersecurity, AI and Digitalization
  • Explore the cybersecurity landscape in the context of digital transformation and AI integration.
  • Examine the ethical use of data, including collection, stakeholder privacy concerns and managing confidential information as part of a company’s cybersecurity strategy.
  • Understand how cyber risks can affect whether stakeholders view a company as acting responsibly.
  • Learn about business continuity through disaster containment and recovery in the face of cyber-attacks.
  • Explore how digital transformation is reshaping business strategies and generating new growth opportunities.
  • Navigate the legal and regulatory frameworks of digital transformation and its associated technologies.
  • Uncover strategic opportunities for leveraging digital technologies to enhance corporate responsibility and improve stakeholder trust.
  • Delve into the governance of data and AI to ensure ethical practices, focusing on mitigating risks related to algorithmic bias, safeguarding privacy and security, and more.
10. Addressing Tax, Investment & Pay in an ESG-Focused World
  • Learn the latest global trends in taxation, investments and pay policies that will help drive ESG best practices at your business
  • Uncover when tax optimization is no longer carried out in a responsible manner
  • Understand the cost of ownership in a volatile world, looking at the dilemmas you face when making long-term investments
  • Learn what information you need to make well-informed capital investment and capital expenditure (CapEx) decisions
  • Uncover how to incentivize leadership for ESG in the short, medium and long term
  • Examine the ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on tax, investment and pay strategies, including income inequality
  • Look to the future changes in global tax policies that will drive ESG investments
11. Maximizing Shareholder and Stakeholder Engagement Around Disclosures
  • Learn and manage the material issues that you need to communicate to your shareholders and stakeholders.
  • Uncover how to deal with the rise of shareholder activism, including best practices in engagement strategies before and after the proxy season 
  • Examine common standards and frameworks, such as the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) and Task Force for Climate-related Disclosures (TCFD)
  • Study regulations and requirements, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Dodd-Frank Act, human capital accounting and stock exchange requirements 
  • Look at future trends in reporting
12. Becoming a Steward of the Future: Best Practices in Corporate Governance
  • Learn what good governance means now, and how that will evolve in the future
  • Recap the previous 11 modules and see how that knowledge impacts the future of governance at your company
  • Get ready for the evolving role of the board, executives, shareholders and other stakeholders 
  • Learn what it means to be a steward of the future — including having good judgement, courage and asking meaningful questions

Each session delivers expertly curated content, essential resources for deepening knowledge, critical questions for board members, and exclusive insights from best business minds in the field, all designed to sharpen your strategic acumen and governance effectiveness.

The content features exclusive insights from over 50 members of our faculty of globally renowned thought leaders, such as:

Francesca Ecsery

Non-executive Director, Air France, Henderson High Income Trust plc., Haffner Energy S.A., Association of Investment Companies (AIC); SID, CT Automotive plc.

Dr. Hentie Dirker

Chief ESG and Integrity Officer: SNC-Lavalin

Reggie Townsend

VP, Data Ethics Practice at SAS

Miriam Vogel

President and CEO, EqualAI; Chair, National AI Advisory Committee (NAIAC)

John Streur

Founding Member Investor Advisory Group, SASB; Advisory Board Member ESG Initiative, The Wharton School; Advisory Board Member, Boston University Impact Measurement & Allocation Program (IMAP)

Alphonso David

President & CEO, Global Black Economic Forum

Tensie Whelan

Clinical Professor for Business and Society; Director, NYU Stern School of Business’s Center for Sustainable Business; Former President, Rainforest Alliance.

Chiara Del Prete

EFRAG Sustainability Reporting TEG (EFRAG SR TEG) Chair

Lindsey Stewart

Director of Stewardship Research and Policy at Morningstar Sustainalytics

Agnes K Y Tai

PhD, CCB.D, SCR®, ESG Investing, FRM, CAIA, MBA, FHKIoD, Director of Great Glory Investment Corporation and Senior Advisor of iPartners Holdings Ltd.

Georg Kell

Chair, Arabesque and Founding Director, United Nations Global Compact

Martin Wolf

Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times

Jakob Stausholm

Chief Executive, Rio Tinto

Claudia Sender

Board Member, Telefonica S.A, LafargeHolcim, Gerdau, and Embraer

Richard Smith-Bingham

Executive Director, Marsh McLennan

Claus Stig Pedersen

Nordic Sustainability Lead, Equity Partner, Deloitte

Emily Waita Macharia

Senior Director, Public Affairs; Coca-Cola Africa

David Craig

Co-Chair, TNFD

Ulrika Hasselgren

Chief Sustainability Officer at Coeli and Board Member at Fundrella

Johan Rockström

Director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, 2024 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement Award Winner

And more...

Eligible for up to 47 CLE Credits in most US states. Eligible for 13.6 CPE Credits across the US and Canada. For more information contact

Program Details

12 On-demand modules with 36+ leaders insights

3 live session with expert global faculty (1.5 hours each)

3 live case-based discussion with cohort peers (1 hour each)

1 Board Simulation

35-40 hours of time commitment (over 4 months)

Eligible for CLE and CPE credits

Designation (GCB.D), Certification, Credly Badge

Program Fee

USD $6,495

The September program is approaching full capacity. Please submit an application form. If space is not available immediately you will be added to our wait list. Spots do come available from time to time and we will do our best to confirm your place within 72 hours.

Enrol in the Program

Gain access to online program materials - to be completed at your own pace.

Attend three interactive live sessions with expert faculty over the course of 3 months.

Attend three interactive case study discussions with your program peers.

Graduate with a GCB.D!

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.

Keep current with us.

Stay in the know with the latest sustainability, ESG and climate insights, plus be the first to learn about program updates and events.