Program Experience

Highlights and Key Outcomes

In Wharton ESG Essentials, you will:

  • Gain insight into what is meant by ESG integration and how it is implemented through a review of the history of the movement
  • Explore changing patterns in corporate and stakeholder activism
  • Gain an understanding of the business case for and against engagement on socio-political issues
  • Identify the key factors that help board members and shareholders actively monitor ESG risks and position firms to seize ESG opportunities
  • Understand why business leaders should care about climate change by learning about what is needed to make a smooth transition to a net-zero economy, with corresponding risks and opportunities for business
  • Dive deep into how social positioning informs the strategy and aligns with shifting societal expectations
  • Familiarize yourself with how the global energy sector charted the roadmap to net zero, understanding climate risk disclosures

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 are 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 Wharton’s Wave 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.

Blended Format Highlights Include:

  • Live Online Discussion with Wharton Faculty – This program offers the unique opportunity to directly engage with each of the program’s faculty.
  • Curated Relevant Resources – Faculty curate and share a list of essential videos to equip learners with the requisite knowledge necessary for an optimal experience in live online sessions.
  • Peer Dialogue – Participants are encouraged to share their input and experiences as well as gain valuable insights from peers and the wider community.

Program Details:
Every Tuesday for four consecutive weeks in April
9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. EDT

  • Day 1: April 2
  • Day 2: April 9
  • Day 3: April 16
  • Day 4: April 23

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:

  • Introduction to ESG
  • Social Activism
  • Governance
  • Climate Transition

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 the Wharton 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 Essentials is 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, 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

Mirko S. Heinle

Mirko Heinle, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Associate Professor of Accounting, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Theoretical research in financial and managerial accounting

Sarah Light

Sarah Light, JDSee Faculty Bio

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, The Wharton School

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


Suzanne Nam Head of Corporate Communications, GraceKennedy Ltd.

The professors and lecturers are world class and experts in their fields. The course materials are excellent. I felt the entire program was quite thought provoking and very well facilitated. The live online format complemented the entire program. The facilitation by all the speakers was great; students were also divided into discussion groups to discuss further during the online event.”

Obi Onyesoh Non-Executive Director, SSV Capital Ltd, London, United Kingdom

The program helped me with grasping the ever-increasing ESG landscape, thinking through and focusing on ESG issues relevant for my industry, and equipped me with the skills to intellectually engage in a dialogue on emergent business challenges and approaches to ESG integration.”

Snjezana Tremblay Chief Risk and Compliance Officer, Bermuda

Date, Location, & Fees

New dates coming soon

Download the program schedule, including session details and format.

Download Schedule

Prices are subject to change.

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