Program Experience

Highlights and Key Outcomes

In Wharton ESG Essentials, you will:

  • Acquire a powerful conceptual foundation for how ESG factors influence value and valuations
  • Increase your capacity to engage in and lead ESG conversations and analyses
  • Extend your understanding of ESG to prepare for the next wave of risks and opportunities
  • Become an informed consumer and analyst of new and alternative ESG data
  • Build the skills to examine ESG factors from both internal and external stakeholder perspectives
  • Recognize ESG regulations and standards and how they are being applied across the globe
  • Evaluate corporate authenticity when building your ESG policy to separate green from greenwash

Blended Online Program Structure

This program’s blended format of live online and self-paced online sessions is designed to produce maximum, immediate impact for the busy executive. Participants will join live online sessions for two hours once a week over four weeks. Sessions will be led by teaching-award winning and tenured Wharton faculty who are pioneering the academic research and leading the dialogue in the rapidly evolving ESG field.

Broadcasted and facilitated live from a technologically advanced classroom, the program prioritizes live engagement and employs a host of instructional modalities to enhance the learning experience: in-class discussions, case work, small-group breakout sessions, role playing and several competitive and engaging simulations. In addition, participants will work through self-paced online content at their convenience in between live online sessions.

Experience and Impact

Wharton ESG Essentials will prepare leaders to analyze and evaluate the financial implications of ESG factors on their strategies. The program will walk you through a comprehensive view of the ESG landscape — from the movement’s values-based origins to its increasing focus on financial impact; from its data challenges and measurement issues to new measurement approaches and the broad array of investment and corporate strategies that deploy them.

Participants will acquire not just the analytical skillsets but also the communications playbook needed to effectively articulate the implications of ESG factors to key stakeholders — from competitive positioning to strategies leading change that will help accelerate the ESG traction in organizations.

The program will also look at rising social pressures on firms to address issues of concern to workers, customers, communities, and civil society more broadly. You will assess the efficacy of different corporate strategic responses, particularly as the political environment grows increasingly polarized. Additionally, you will evaluate the role that enterprise risk management, board governance, cross-functional teams, and leaders play in navigating the adoption, implementation, and measurement of firm-wide ESG policies.

Session topics include:

  • Evolution from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)
  • ESG Measurement Challenge and Approaches
  • Climate Transition: Tackling the Risks and the Opportunities
  • Social Activism and Corporate Responses
  • ESG Leadership

Wharton ESG Executive Certificate 
Participants may take Wharton ESG Essentials as a standalone program, or, for those interested in extending their learning journey, Wharton ESG Essentials serves as the introductory content in theWharton ESG Executive Certificate. This advanced certificate program — offered in specialized tracks for financial professionals, senior leaders, and strategists, respectively — is designed to quickly catapult leaders to the forefront of ongoing ESG decision making.

Participants wishing to pursue an ESG executive certificate can learn more about each specialization and apply here. Participants who have completed Wharton ESG Essentials as a standalone program can apply for and enroll in a certificate track within one year of Essentials completion.

Convince Your Supervisor

Here’s a justification letter you can edit and send to your supervisor to help you make the case for attending this Wharton program.

Due to our application review period, applications submitted after 12:00 p.m. ET on Friday for programs beginning the following Monday may not be processed in time to grant admission. Applicants will be contacted by a member of our Client Relations Team to discuss options for future programs and dates.

Who Should Attend

Wharton ESG Essentialsis designed for a broad range of professionals in senior and mid-career executive roles including board members, c-level executives, strategists, entrepreneurs, financial advisors and analysts, investors, creditors, regulators, strategists, and consultants with a strong interest in understanding or affirming their knowledge of the ESG landscape.

Fluency in English, written and spoken, is required for participation in Wharton Executive Education programs unless otherwise indicated.


Witold Henisz

Witold Henisz, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Academic Director

Vice Dean and Faculty Director, ESG Initiative; Deloitte & Touche Professor of Management in Honor of Russell E. Palmer, former Managing Partner

Research Interests: Political and social risk management; project management; ESG integration; stakeholder engagement

Sarah Light

Sarah Light, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Associate Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics; Faculty Co-Director, Wharton Climate Center

Mary-Hunter McDonnell

Mary-Hunter McDonnell, JD, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Associate Professor of Management; Faculty Co-Director, Zicklin Center for Governance and Business Ethics

Research Interests: Organizational theory (political sociology, institutional theory); nonmarket strategy; corporate governance; corporate misconduct and punishment

Date, Location, & Fees

September 1 – 30, 2023Live Online$4,250Every Wednesday for four consecutive weeks
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EDT

Download the program schedule, including session details and format.

Download ScheduleApply Now

Prices are subject to change.

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