Program Experience

Highlights and Key Outcomes

In the Wharton ESG Executive Certificate for Senior Leaders program, you will:

  • Assess emerging sources of enterprise risk related to ESG
  • Gain insight on how to incorporate ESG issues into risk management and governance strategies
  • Better navigate conflicting stakeholder demands, prioritize stakeholder issues, and earn/maintain stakeholder trust
  • Explore different geopolitical scenarios for the world economy in 2030 and what organizational structures and processes can best prepare you
  • Gain insight into both public and private environmental governance surrounding climate risk disclosures, green marketing claims, and stress testing for the climate transition

The Wharton ESG Executive Certificate for Senior Leaders is comprised of one month of introductory content (Wharton ESG Essentials) immediately followed by an additional month of specialized management content. This advanced certificate is designed to quickly catapult corporate leaders to the forefront of ongoing ESG decision making, empowering them to act as informed, prepared catalysts for change amid urgent and complex constraints.

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


Every Wednesday for four consecutive weeks in May
9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. EDT

  • Day 5: May 1
  • Day 6: May 8
  • Day 7: May 15
  • Day 8: May 22

Experience and Impact

The Wharton ESG Executive Certificate for Senior Leaders will arm participants with best practices, data, and processes that participants can immediately deploy in their organizations. You will build on the knowledge of Wharton ESG Essentials to learn how boards and C-suite executives are assessing strategies to address ESG risks and opportunities, from climate and socio-political risks to the best internal governance structures, and how to powerfully measure and harness these factors.

The program dives deepest into the skill sets begetting a successful leader who can put ESG at the forefront of value creation. You will learn the art and science of corporate diplomacy, including best practices for engaging with and fostering fruitful relationships with stakeholders, both external and internal. The program will also provide a playbook for overcoming organizational silos in the development and assessment of political risk mitigation strategies.

Additionally, you will analyze scenarios of global warming and their impact on asset values. You will gain perspective on the green technology and innovation sector, analyzing where cost curves are rapidly evolving and could impact your firm. You will investigate the risk factors that make some firms more likely to face shareholder activism and less capable or successful in their response. You will also develop tools and tactics for more sophisticated engagement with activist shareholders, policymakers, and representatives of civil society to unlock value.

Session topics include:

  • Climate Scenario Analysis and Policy Update
  • Socio-Political Risk
  • Shareholder Activism
  • Emerging ESG Risks

Interactive Highlights Include:

  • Program Simulation – Work with your team to make decisions focusing on crisis management and stakeholder engagement situations. Faculty will be providing feedback on this simulation.
  • 2030 Scenarios – Consider four distinct potential geopolitical scenarios for 2030 and their implications for investors today. Explore non-traditional datasets that can offer insight into socio-political risks and the efficacy of mitigation strategies including a contrast between divestment and engagement.
  • Hands-On Social Activism – Select a shareholder proposal, review it, and advocate its adoption in your current organization or an organization of your choice. Present your rationale and engage with others and the program faculty on this advocacy exercise.

Those interested in learning more about Wharton ESG Essentials, or additional ESG specialized certificates, can visit here.

Participants who have successfully 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

The Wharton ESG Executive Certificate for Senior Leaders is designed for senior executives at the helm, responsible for devising and leading their firm’s ESG strategy, including managing the subsequent seismic shifts to current business systems. This audience may include C-suite leaders, vice presidents and high-potential leaders, and board members.

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


Mary-Hunter McDonnell

Mary-Hunter McDonnell, JD, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Academic Director

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

Emile Feldman

Emilie Feldman, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Michael L. Tarnopol Professor; Professor of Management, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Corporate governance, corporate strategy, diversification, divestitures, firm scope, spinoffs, mergers and acquisitions

Mirko S. Heinle

Mirko Heinle, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Associate Professor of Accounting, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Theoretical research in financial and managerial accounting

Witold Henisz

Witold Henisz, PhDSee Faculty Bio

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

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


ESG considerations are increasingly becoming part of executive responsibilities and as a big proponent of continuous learning I was looking for a program to enhance my ESG skills and ability to effectively incorporate ESG factors into my decision making. The program provided me with a powerful mix of insights about ESG and sustainability by engaging in many valuable and thought-provoking discussions about the merits of implementing a robust sustainability framework. By broadening the understanding of ESG factors, we can all make more informed and sustainable choices that align with our values and contribute to a long-term success.”

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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