ESG Essentials for Business Professionals

A four-week online course that provides you with the context and tools to manage ESG initiatives within your organization and understand them for their true value in light of today’s ESG backlash. No environmental, social, or governance background is required.

Course level: Introductory

About this course

This course will provide a fundamental understanding of ESG frameworks and standards, their advantages and disadvantages, and how they are used by companies to establish an ESG strategy.

The course starts with a brief history of the origins of ESG, fast forwarding to how ESG became prominent in today’s business landscape. You then learn about ESG frameworks, the rating agencies and industry associations, and the business case for implementing these standards from the vantage point of both investors and companies.

You will examine how and why the field and language around ESG continue to change and discuss the current big questions and controversies in the ESG space, such as the role of ‘impact’ and the effects of the ESG backlash in the US. You’ll also hear from guest speakers who can share the day-to-day of being an ESG practitioner. You will build a strong network of peers and leaders in the space.

Who is this program for?

Program managers

Understand how to manage ESG initiatives

Business unit leaders

Learn how to build the business case for ESG using accepted standards

Marketing and communications professionals

Decode the ESG jargon and build vocabulary

Investor relations managers

Deepen your knowledge to better respond to investor queries on ESG

What climate skills you'll learn

Decipher ESG frameworks

Understand when to rely on which framework and how the various frameworks intersect

Effectively use ESG ratings

Know what they assess and how to use them

Identify greenwashing

Evaluate companies’ sustainability claims

Utilize systems thinking

Understand how financial actors, corporations, and regulators interact in the current financial system and where there’s opportunity for change

event concluded

The State of ESG Today

Join Claire Veuthey, Principal and Founder of Rizoma Ventures, for an overview of the dramatic growth in ESG investment and reporting over the past five years.

The difference

Live lab groups

You will meet weekly with the instructor and fellow learners to share perspectives

Skills-based learning

You will engage in individual real-world assignments to immediately apply the skills you’ve learned

Personalized attention

Meet with the instructor 1-on-1 and get individualized feedback on your assignments

Asynchronous and synchronous learning

Flexible learning options to fit your learning style

Meet the course creator

Claire Veuthey

Principal and Founder, Rizoma Ventures

As Principal and Founder at Rizoma Ventures, Claire helps investors integrate ESG into their investment processes. She also works with fast-growing companies on ESG materiality and strategy. Her clients are leading organizations from various sectors, including companies such as National Grid, Oxfam, and 500 Startups. Claire has nearly 20 years of experience on three continents in ESG and impact investing in product management, research, investment, and sales. Claire is a fellow and a Venture Partner at NextGen Venture Partners and serves as a strategic advisor for several startups.

Course schedule

Week One: The history and current state of ESG
  • Readings/viewings: Religious divestment philosophies and the evolution of corporate sustainability reporting
  • Readings/viewings: ESG frameworks and standards such as the GRI and the ISSB Standards; an overview of ESG rating agencies such as MSCI, Morningstar/Sustainalytics, and S&P Global Sustainable1
  • Assignment: Compare and contrast sustainability reports that do and don’t rely on a standard
  • Readings/viewings: The role of materiality/business relevance, and the ESG backlash in the US; Impact investing vs. ESG
  • Readings/viewings: Go a bit deeper into 1-2 topics, such as human capital, climate risk, cybersecurity, inequality, etc.
  • Assignment: Personal materiality assessment

Pricing and expected commitment

Our fellows say it best...

Paige Karl

"Terra helped strengthen my overall understanding of ESG-- a topic I had minimal background on prior to the course. It was a great way to connect and learn from like-minded individuals."

Student at Skidmore College (USA)
Sagal Abshir

“The course and community are doing the essential work of educating us for the world to come, and coaching and inspiring us to prepare for the critical role each of us needs to play.”

Environment Security Unit Head at UN Environment Program (USA)

Frequently asked questions

Future program dates will be announced soon.

People who are interested in corporate sustainability and/or sustainable investing and who are looking to understand the push and pull of investors, regulators, companies and their lobbyists, and other actors in setting the path for a less extractive, less destructive capitalism. This course should be a great starting point for those motivated to apply this thinking to their own organizations or those looking to put together an aligned investment portfolio.

To participate in the course, you should have a basic understanding of the differences between the roles and responsibilities of investors and the companies they invest in.

Several organizations have learning or professional development budgets for their employees. We encourage you to enquire about and utilize this budget to attend the course. will help you get reimbursed for the course by providing an invoice, a certificate, and any other documentation you need. If you have approval from your company, we can also arrange for your company to pay directly.

We expect to run more cohorts given ongoing demand for this course.

Financial aid is not available for this course.

If you have a question about this course that isn’t covered in the FAQ, please email us at

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