Program Experience

Highlights and Key Outcomes

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

  • Assess corporate exposure to climate risk and opportunities
  • Develop and refine the leadership skills necessary for positive stakeholder management and grand organizational change
  • Better navigate conflicting stakeholder demands, prioritize stakeholder issues, and earn/maintain stakeholder trust
  • Prepare for and proactively engage with ESG activists
  • Strategically engage with political and regulatory stakeholders

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 is designed to produce maximum, immediate impact for the busy executive. Participants will join live online sessions for two hours once a week over eight weeks. Sessions will be led by award-winning, tenured Wharton faculty who are pioneering 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 content at their convenience in between live sessions.

Program Details:

Program Details:
Every Wednesday for four consecutive weeks in September
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EDT

  • Day 1: September 6
  • Day 2: September 13
  • Day 3: September 20
  • Day 4: September 27


Every Wednesdays for four consecutive weeks in October
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EDT

  • Day 5: October 4
  • Day 6: October 11
  • Day 7: October 18
  • Day 8: October 25

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 Risks and Opportunities
  • Socio-Political Risk
  • Shareholder Activism
  • Corporate Political Activity

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

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

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

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

Mirko S. Heinle

Mirko Heinle, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Associate Professor of Accounting, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Theoretical research in financial and managerial accounting

Date, Location, & Fees

September 1 – October 31, 2023Live Online$6,750Every Wednesday for eight consecutive weeks in September and October
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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