Online ESG and Sustainable Financial Strategy Course

Transforming your corporation's financial strategy

  • Start date: 19 June 2024
  • Duration: 7 weeks
  • Time commitment: Part time
  • Location: Online
  • Cost: £1,900 

Firms are operating within an environment of unprecedented change brought about by sustainability and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues. This presents both risks and opportunities that can radically impact the value of the firm, making sustainability and ESG issues of critical importance to finance strategy professionals.

The course is a six-week online course in sustainable finance designed for CFOs and senior professionals who incorporate a financial and strategic remit within their role.

Amir Amel-Zadeh, Associate Professor and Academic Director of the course, will guide you through the learning material which focuses on the drivers and fundamentals of sustainability including key ESG concepts such as climate change and net zero, and equality and inclusion. You’ll explore the ISSB, TCFD and other relevant standards and regulations; and learn about risk management and finance, and governance. You will also learn why and how to incorporate ESG and sustainability into your strategic and financial planning and how to manage and communicate with your stakeholders.

You’ll learn alongside a global cohort of like-minded finance professionals and hear from guest speakers who are experts in this field. Drawing on the expertise of Oxford faculty and industry leaders, you’ll be provided with frameworks, guidelines, and highly relevant and engaging content built specifically for executives and leaders in the finance and accounting function across industries.

Sustainability Transformation Plan

As well as the knowledge and know-how gathered on the course, upon completion, you will leave this programme with your Sustainability Transformation Plan: a practical 'blueprint' designed by you, specifically for your organisation, so that you can immediately implement what you have learned which will position your firm for long-term growth and profitability.

Profile

The ESG and Sustainable Financial Strategy online course is an open programme, meaning there are no admissions requirements. However, professionals listed below will find it particularly relevant:

  • Chief Finance Officers (CFOs)
  • Professionals working within the office of the CFO
  • Professionals working in senior strategic roles
  • Other members of the C-suite and Board

I thoroughly enjoyed stepping beyond my comfort zone into a challenging and rewarding course focused on ESG and financial strategy, to grapple with the challenges and truths of ESG and sustainable finance from a renewables perspective.

Stephen Clugston

Managing Director, Clear Horizon and board advisor, Singapore

Methodology

The ESG and Sustainable Financial Strategy course is taught online through our virtual learning platform. This allows you to study from anywhere in the world, at any time, making the programme a truly flexible, online learning experience that adapts to the demands of your personal and professional obligations.

Our online methodology features multimedia learning material, webinars (which are recorded), and optional group sessions to further enrich your learning. Assessment is continuous and based on a series of practical assignments completed online.

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The partnership

Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) and CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) - together as the International Association of Certified Professional Accountants - are partnering to provide rigorous and up-to-date courses covering academic, professional and regulatory expertise on crucial ESG and sustainability topics for risk and accountancy roles that report to, or work with, the CFO.

Further information

Read more about how the programme is delivered, answers to common questions and the programme’s terms and conditions.

Contact

If you have any questions, please contact us at OnlineExecEd@sbs.ox.ac.uk

Outline

The course begins with an orientation module to present you with basic concepts in ESG and Sustainability, and to familiarise you with the online learning platform. This is followed by 6 modules that progressively build your understanding and expertise, each contributing a piece to your Sustainability Transformation Plan - meaning you will finish the course with knowledge and understanding, and a custom blueprint to deliver impact within your organisation.

Orientation module

The orientation module aims to prepare you for the rest of the course and will:

  • familiarise your with the online campus
  • provide you with an overview of the programme handbook
  • introduce you to the programme team
  • cover some introductory course material including pre-reading materials, basic definitions and a glossary.

This will stand you in good stead as you embark on the rest of the course.

Module 1: Drivers and fundamentals of sustainability

Module 1 of the course unpacks the issues that society and organisations are facing, confronted with the realities of climate change, ESG and sustainability. It covers the drivers and fundamentals of sustainability, with a focus on sustainable finance best practices in business and how they relate to finance professionals, CFOs and CEOs. 

Key learning outcomes include:

  • identifying drivers of sustainable practices
  • explaining social and environmental practices with positive impacts
  • identifying risks and opportunities from global sustainability challenges.

Module 2: Strategic planning and long-term value creation

Module 2 focuses on strategic financial planning and long-term value creation. It will help you to understand how to incorporate sustainability practices into your business’ strategy. 

The learning outcomes target:

  • implementing purpose in organisations
  • mapping stakeholders for transformation plans
  • identifying elements for long-term value creation.

Module 3: Risk management and finance

Module 3 explores risk management and finance in the context of sustainability. It will help you evaluate the risks and opportunities which sustainable practices present. 

Key learning outcomes are:

  • understanding how sustainability impacts financial roles
  • identifying main drivers in sustainable finance markets
  • understanding how ESG risks and opportunities are integrated into financial markets.

Module 4: Regulation and reporting

Module 4 breaks down key reporting and regulatory frameworks. 

Learning outcomes include:

  • determining shared principles across sustainability frameworks and regulations
  • defining best practice in sustainability reporting
  • identifying the pros and cons of different ESG ratings.

Module 5: Governance and stakeholder engagement

Module 5 focuses on governance and stakeholder engagement, aiming to develop your skills in effective corporate governance practice and sustainability reputation management. 

The learning outcomes include:

  • defining corporate governance and board roles
  • understanding compensation mechanisms in ESG
  • managing corporate reputation and strategic communication.

Module 6: Transformational change

Module 6 focuses on transformational change. It will guide you in leading the strategic change needed to incorporate sustainability into your organisation and its activities.

The learning outcomes include:

  • building a sustainability and resilience culture
  • creating a transformation plan for greater sustainability
  • measuring and communicating the sustainability transformation strategy.

Faculty

The programme is led by Amir Amel-Zadeh, who has brought together faculty from Oxford Saïd, the wider University of Oxford, and beyond to share their research and insights into climate change finance and accounting. They will be joined by guest industry experts, who are at the forefront of leading sustainable change across organisations.

 

Industry expert contributors

  • Clara Barby - Senior Partner, Just Climate
  • Thomas Becker - Vice President Sustainability and Mobility Strategy, BMW Group
  • Chris Fuggle - Global Head of Sustainability, Mazars
  • Angus Graham - Finance COO, UBS
  • Rex Gu - Europe Regional Head of Finance, AP Moller Maersk
  • Morten Haukaas - Vice President Finance and Control, Head of Group Financial Reporting, Equinor ASA
  • Sonja Haut - Head, Impact Valuation, Novartis
  • Christian Heller - Chief Executive Officer, Value Balancing Alliance
  • Simon Henry - Non-Executive Independent Director (Energy Resources and Banking)
  • Rafidah Jumal - Vice President Finance, Controller, Shell
  • Paul Lee - Head of Stewardship and Sustainable Investment Strategy, Redington
  • Richard Mattison - Vice Chair, S&P Global Sustainable1
  • Alan McGill - Partner, Global Sustainability Assurance Leader - Stakeholder Assurance, PwC
  • Matt Stirrup - SVP Finance, Oracle
  • Robert Swaak - Chief Executive Officer, ABN AMRO Bank
  • Christopher Tower - Managing Partner, Sustainability & ESG, BDO
  • Christy Wright - Senior Vice President, Corporate Finance, Southwire Company LLC

This course helped me gain a broad all-encompassing overview of the ESG and Sustainable Finance landscape with detailed insight of various regulatory requirements and challenges that one would need to navigate and lead the change.

Kariappa K M

Manager, EY, India

The thinking behind the programme

The faculty and contributors on this course are continuously researching what the ever-changing ESG landscape means for business practises and workforces worldwide. Read their latest thought leadership articles:

Benefits

Sustainability Transformation Plan

The ESG and Sustainable Financial Strategy course aims to provide you with a practical toolset and impactful learning, such that you can begin to transform your organisation to meet the climate challenge immediately. A significant part of that toolset is the Sustainable Transformation Plan.

Each module’s learnings will be applicable to the building of one facet of your plan; each week you will submit a piece of the plan and feedback will be given by your tutor. Over the course of the ESG and Sustainable Financial Strategy programme, one module at a time, piece by piece, you will build your plan.

By Module 6 you will have a complete portfolio of pieces which, once refined and submitted, will constitute your finished Sustainability Transformation Plan. The plan will be a major part of the course’s evaluation and will be an impactful blueprint, specific to your organisation, its setting and circumstances. You can use your plan to begin implementing Sustainability and ESG best practice immediately.

Your certificate 

On successful completion you will be awarded an official digital certificate of attendance in your legal name from Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. You will need to meet the requirements outlined in the course orientation module.

Continuing Professional Education (CPE)

This programme is certified as a provider of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy for individuals who are members of, or are associated with, USA-based professional bodies.

You will earn 26.5 CPE credits upon successful completion of the programme.

In a rapidly changing business landscape, understanding the impact of sustainability and ESG issues is crucial for finance strategy professionals. Grateful to have been part of the first cohort, uniting 75+ professionals from diverse regions including the UK, EU, Middle East, India, Australia, and Asia.

Madhuchethan Ramakrishna

Chief Accountant at Musandam Power Company, Oman

Elumni 

Participants who complete an Oxford Saïd Executive Education online programme are automatically part of the Oxford Saïd Business School elumni community. 

The Elumni Community

Our thriving community comprises more than 37,000 ambitious professionals hailing from 177 countries and representing diverse sectors like finance, law, marketing, healthcare, and energy. A significant number of these individuals proceed to undertake additional online or on-campus programmes, including short courses, executive diplomas, or MBAs.

Oxford Saïd Elumni Network

The Oxford Saїd Elumni Network is a virtual hub specially crafted for elumni. Acknowledging that the journey of professional growth doesn't cease with programme completion; the platform is devised to motivate, encourage, and provide support to elumni as they pursue their career ambitions. It offers elumni an avenue to engage with Saïd Business School faculty, gaining access to expert opinions, research insights, and thought leadership. Furthermore, the network facilitates purposeful global networking, enabling collaborative endeavours for sharing ideas, expertise, and tackling challenges collectively.

You will also gain access to the official Oxford Executive Education Elumni group on LinkedIn. 

Participant experiences

'ESG can be a point of contention with "extra cost" to be sustainable, but this course has given me the tools to position ESG as a "must have" as both a performance, competitive and ethical requirement and not a just a "greenwashing box ticking" exercise.'

Geoff Sim, Executive Director of supply chain and logistics at NEOM and advocate of self-development, shares how he balanced the programme with work and how it left him with a fully-formed strategy to present to his business’ board.

Online ESG and Sustainable Financial Strategy Course - download the brochure

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