Sustainable Finance and ESG Investing

Leonard N. Stern School of Business

How long?

  • 5 days
  • online

Leonard N. Stern School of Business


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Who should attend

Although there are no formal education or background requirements, this course is designed for executives who meet the criteria below. While we strongly encourage global participation, please note that all courses are taught in English. Proficiency in written and spoken English is required.

  • Years of Experience – Designed for professionals with 5+ years of work experience
  • Job Functions – Ideal for executives in significant leadership roles who are interested in learning more about sustainable finance
  • Prerequisites – There are no formal prerequisites for this course. The course is Intended for individuals with limited exposure to sustainable investing, though students with a background in finance will benefit most from the course.

About the course

Sustainable investing is a topic of increasing interest to the financial community. With global environmental and social challenges increasing, and with meaningful millennial participation in markets anticipated, trillions of dollars are beginning to shift. The battle for future market share may well be won by those who respond best to this new investment paradigm. Sustainable Finance and ESG Investing provides participants with the experience, tools and community of practice they will need to become an important part of this global paradigm.

Through a combination of lecture, discussion and group exercises, participants will learn about financially material Environmental Social Governance (ESG) indicators and data providers, and learn how to translate corporate performance on sustainability into financial performance. They will also review best practices in ESG and impact investing, and develop their own sustainable investment strategies. Executives will leave this course with concrete ideas about how to incorporate sustainable investment practices within their organizations.

Program Takeaways

  • Leadership Skills – Develop the skills required to invest in businesses in a rapidly evolving environmental, social and political ecosystem. Those skills include system and design thinking, developing and executing ESG investment strategies, and managing radical transparency.
  • Stakeholder Engagement – Broaden executive perspectives beyond Milton Friedman’s view that companies exist solely to deliver profits to shareholders to consider other stakeholders in the company (i.e., customers, employees, suppliers, etc.) and how they can be recruited as partners to help your organization succeed
  • Innovation & Efficiencies – Develop the skills to identify and accelerate innovation in the organization by embedding the evaluation of sustainability impacts and outcomes in your products, services, and processes.


Day 1

Session 1: Key Issues in Sustainable Business and Relevance for Finance

  • What is ‘sustainable business’
  • Key economic, environmental, social and governance issues
  • Sustainable business: profitability and social impact performance
  • The sustainable consumer and consumer demand for sustainability
  • Current trends for embedding sustainability in corporate strategy
  • Large group discussion: Reflections on the readings

Session 2: Case Studies - Companies Setting the Standard

  • The specific case studies used in this session will be tailored to the audience, but could include:
  • Nike: Sustainability and Innovation through Flyknit Technology
  • Nespresso: Supply Chain and Stakeholder Engagement Case Study
  • Avery Dennison: Innovative Marketing of Sustainability Attracts More Loyal Customers
  • Citigroup, Inc.: Innovation in Energy Efficiency Financing
  • West Elm: Bringing Purpose to Its Corporate Ecosystem Through Human Resource Practices
  • Kashi: Growing the Supply Chain for Organic Food
  • Domtar: Embedding operational efficiency
  • Small group working session: What are the commonalities across these corporate approaches to sustainability? As an investor, what should we be looking for?

Session 3: Emerging Strategies and Trends in Sustainable Finance

  • The current state of sustainable investing, multiple emerging strategies
  • The evidence on delivering alpha from sustainability
  • Key challenges ahead for sustainable investing
  • Trends in public and private equity, fixed income, green infrastructure
  • Investor Case Studies

Session 4: Measuring Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Performance

  • Recommended measures for quantifying ESG performance
  • What companies quantify: applying and understanding materiality
  • Strength and limitations of tools and data providers
  • Opportunities and challenges for delivering impact by addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Small group working session: work on a case to identify key ESG issues

Day 1 Conclusion and Evaluations

Day 2

Session 5: Monetizing the Value of Sustainability

  • New measures for quantifying operational ESG performance
  • Turning non-financial performance into financial value
  • Quantifying the impact of ESG performance on the corporate bottom line
  • Monetizing the benefits delivered outside the company
  • Small group working session: How would I monetize a company’s ESG performance

Session 6: Investing Strategies

  • ESG and engagement
  • New financing mechanisms for scaling up investment in sustainability
  • ESG and Impact investing
  • Other techniques for ESG integration
  • Global considerations

Session 7: Hands-on Investment Strategy Development

Working in small groups

Session 8: Moving Forward: Embedding Sustainability in Your Company’s Investment Strategy

  • What will I do tomorrow to better embed sustainability in my company’s investment strategy?
  • Developing a 3-month roadmap for bringing your sustainable investment ideas to your company
  • Working session: What is my personal action plan
  • Report out to group: 5-minute "TED talks" with feedback from group

Program Conclusion and Evaluations


Tensie Whelan

Tensie Whelan joined New York University Stern School of Business in November 2015 as Clinical Professor of Business and Society. She will lead the School’s efforts around issues of business and sustainability, driving research and coursework on natural resource-based challenges including climate...

Cary Krosinsky

Cary Krosinsky is a leading teacher, author and advisor on sustainable finance. His five books include the recent Sustainable Investing: Revolutions in Theory and Practice, selected by the People’s Bank of China for translation into the government’s official Green Finance Series in 2018. His tea...

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Sustainable Finance and ESG Investing at Leonard N. Stern School of Business

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