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University of Pennsylvania

ESG Risks and Opportunities

University of Pennsylvania via Coursera


In this course, you will explore the foundations upon which modern-day ESG was built, how market forces react to ESG, and ways to create and maintain value using ESG investment strategies. You will also learn about the five pathways of materiality, and how those interplay with or against ESG performance.

You will examine the many challenges that corporations face when it comes to leveraging ESG investing into their portfolios, and how the changing landscape of ESG is making this an area of untapped potential when it comes to the financial workings of businesses today. You'll also learn from real-life case studies how you can assess risk, create better risk management policy, and build a map to identify valuable areas of opportunity and create better decision-making approaches. Lastly, you will look at portfolio optimization and the utilization of ESG factors to maximize returns in addition to examining different funds, their fee structures, and how investors can blend ESG into their investment portfolio.

By the end of this course, you will know the best practices for creating a solid risk management plan and how to create a culture that is sensitive to ESG. You will better understand the history and framework behind ESG, and how to create a path forward using smarter methods to identify risk, navigate ESG issues, and reach ESG investing goals.


  • Module 1 – Introduction to ESG Factors and Concepts
    • In this module, you will be introduced to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Factors and the many different pathways by which they impact financial value. You will learn about the importance of assessing stakeholder interest or salience in different ESG factors and how this varies across industries. You will also gain insight into the five pathways of materiality through which ESG factors impact revenues, costs, or productivity. Finally, you will examine the conditions under which stakeholders are expected to activate these pathways, highlighting the strategic and financial importance of stakeholder relations. By the end of this module, you will have learned how to discern which ESG pathways matter for you and your stakeholders, how to navigate the materiality map and the importance of stakeholder relations for shareholder value.
  • Module 2 – History and Flavors of ESG Investing
    • In this module, you will get an overview of the history of ESG Investing and review the past and present ways that investors have attempted to incorporate environmental, social, and governance factors into their strategies. You will also learn about the relationships between social pressure, corporate responses, and financial performance. Next, you will look at portfolio optimization and how to utilize ESG factors to maximize returns. Lastly, you will review various case studies that look at different investment strategies and their outcomes in terms of both ESG and financial performance. By the end of this module, you will understand the history of ESG investing, corporate engagement and responsibility, and the different ways ESG factors can be integrated into investment strategies.
  • Module 3 – ESG Data
    • In this module, you will learn about the importance of ESG data and how you can best integrate it into your financial analyses. Next, you will review different providers of data for ESG factors and learn how to assess this data despite the challenges of interpretability and subjectivity. Next, you will survey the tendency towards integrated reporting whereby firms embed ESG data inside their financial reports. Lastly, you will examine ESG data that focuses on the financial impacts on a firm’s stakeholders who may, in turn, create financial benefits or harm for the firm. By the end of this module, you will be better able to utilize ESG data, assess the differences in ESG data provider approaches, and determine how to quantify the environmental, social, and governance factors which impact a firm’s stakeholders.
  • Module 4 – ESG Management at the Firm-Level
    • In this module, you learn about the specific cost and revenue variances associated with ESG issues and how better stakeholder relations can mitigate some of these risks. You will also examine cases from Peru, Ghana, and Brazil, and assess how different ESG risk management strategies affected the performance of these projects. You will also review participatory stakeholder processes, external value at stake (EVAS), and integrated project management systems. Lastly, you will look at transformative ways to implement ESG risk assessments into a broader risk management framework to maximize expected corporate performance. By the end of this module, you will have identified best practices for creating a solid financial and risk management plan that incorporates ESG factors and will understand how to create a culture that is sensitive to ESG.

Taught by

Witold Henisz


4.0 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

4.6 rating at Coursera based on 567 ratings

Start your review of ESG Risks and Opportunities

  • All in all the content is good.

    However, it was not exactly what I was looking for. It is to much asset management focused and not exactly thinked to people actually working with ESG topics inside corporations, which was what I was looking for. Reading the syllabus for weekes to come I decided to drop out without going through the certification.

    I also thought it to be much of a lecture rather than a structured e-learning. Was somehow expecting something better formated for Coursera's landscape.

  • Profile image for Deeksha C.k
    Deeksha C.k
    I enjoyed the content and the knowledge that i got from the course. The certification has me to get placed in some jobs

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