Finance Decarbonization

A four-week course that illuminates the negative climate impact driven by the world’s invested capital (hundreds of trillions across banking, insurance, and capital markets) and teaches strategies for climate-positive capital deployment at scales ranging from the organizational to the personal.

The course starts May 29, 2024. Enrollments close May 28, 2024

Live sessions: Wednesdays 4-5:30pm PT

Course level: Introductory

About this course

This course will outline the concept of using capital for climate-positive outcomes, employing your personal finances as a case study. You will learn how money flows through capital markets; investing basics, and the concepts of sustainable finance; and how to connect the two to identify opportunities for leveraging finances in impactful and sustainable ways.


Using your personal finances as a sandbox, you’ll learn the basic principles of sustainable capital deployment that can then be mirrored at the organizational scale. Examples include exploring how your bank deploys your deposits and the opportunities you have to ensure they are invested properly; understanding what your insurance company is investing your premiums in and how you can influence that; and the plausibility of investing sustainably in your retirement plan or brokerage account to achieve environmental or social impact while still earning a market rate of return.

Who is this program for?

Climate-conscious professionals ranging from sustainability managers to business and non-profit professionals, financial advisors to individual investors, and more, who want to:

What climate skills you'll learn

Understand capital markets

Learn how money flows through channels and institutions and who the key decision-makers are

Sustainable investing and finance

Grasp the principles of values-based and impact-investing and the role of ESG and activism in finance

Assess financial service providers

Locate sources of sustainability data for financial institutions and use it to assess their sustainability profile critically

Wield your financial influence

Discover practical ways to align your personal finances with climate impact, and opportunities to engage key decision-makers in organizational settings


The climate impact of investor capital

Are you concerned about how investment capital affects climate change and how to reduce negative impacts? Join us for this engaging discussion on the current state of sustainable investing, how the US election may affect that state, and why the different political parties are taking their respective positions on the matter. Leave with a few actions that you can take.

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

Chad Spitler

Founder and CEO of Third Economy

Chad Spitler is the Founder and CEO of Third Economy, a sustainable investment research and advisory firm. With over 25+ years of experience building sustainable investment capabilities and corporate sustainability strategies, Chad was recognized by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) as one of the 2020 Directorship 100 Governance Professionals. Formerly a Partner at PJT CamberView, Chad and his team helped public companies develop engagement strategies with their investors particularly around complex or contested shareholder matters.


He is most widely known for his role in helping to build what are now BlackRock’s Investment Stewardship, Sustainable Investing and Corporate Sustainability teams. As a Managing Director at the world’s largest asset manager, Chad led the team responsible for analyzing how environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors may impact financial performance, and integrated that analysis into product development, proxy voting and corporate engagement.


His work helped facilitate billions of dollars of capital into sustainable investments and catalysed public companies to integrate long-term thinking into their business strategies. Chad is a member of the Dean’s External Advisory Board of the University of Michigan’s School for the Environment and Sustainability. He is an Adjunct Professor at San Francisco State University and Presidio Graduate School, and holds an M.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a B.S. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Course schedule

Week One: Introduction to capital markets
  • Readings/viewing: How your money flows from your pocketbook throughout the capital markets, The roles of key financial players in making investment decisions
  • Assignment: Identify the financial institutions in your life, their key decision-makers, and their motivations/incentives for considering sustainability
  • Readings/viewing: The basics of investing, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, asset allocation, and benchmarking, The basics of sustainable finance, including values-based, impact, analysis of ESG, and activism
  • Readings/viewings: Financial sustainability data and reporting and how to find the information
  • Assignment: Conduct an analysis of the sustainability profile of the financial institutions from the previous assignments
  • Readings/viewings: Individual research for final assignment
  • Assignment: Research alternative financial institutions and prepare your plan to approach your financial organizations to affect change

Pricing and expected commitment

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Frequently asked questions

The course is four weeks long and will be offered from May 29 to Jun 19, 2024. Live sessions will run on Wednesdays 4-5:30pm PT and are structured with 60 minutes of content delivery and 30 minutes of discussion. Attendance is strongly encouraged, but recordings will also be made available.

People who are passionate about the environment or social causes and seeking to ensure that the financial institutions that they use in their day-to-day lives align with those passions will benefit most from this course. Individuals who see this course as a practical and hands-on learning experience will benefit most, as there will be many opportunities to evaluate their own financial providers and decide whether to engage them for change or change providers altogether.

Yes. No prerequisites are required for this course, and we welcome participants from all backgrounds and regions worldwide to participate.

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

Learn the skills to work on climate