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Certified Expert in Climate Adaptation Finance

Climate change presents a risk to the global economy and consequently the finance sector. However, it also presents an opportunity for innovative financing to increase the economic and social resilience to climate impacts.

As facilitators of the economy, financial institutions have a central role in the transformation to low carbon and climate-resilient development. Their responsibility is twofold: greening their portfolios towards Paris compatible financing and investments, and reflecting and integrating climate-related risks into their risk management processes. This gradual process involves harmonising short-term business cycles and investment horizons with systemic and long-term thinking by all actors from the financial sector (e.g. banks, asset managers, insurers, pension funds, investment consultants, regulators, rating agencies). This process is supported by public actors who moderate the structural change required for a transition to climate-resilient economies.

This course provides the basics of finance and investment for assessing the financial viability of investments in adaptation projects. It clusters business models to provide an understanding of the parameters according to the project scale and, for example, revenue models, ownership structure, and value proposition, and will link to the financing perspective. Different investors and intermediaries have very different investment strategies, level of risk appetite, return expectations, and investment horizons. Crowding in the right investor for a project is essential to ensure their long-term involvement and the required scale-up of investment volumes.

What Do We Offer?

  • An interactive e-learning course including video lectures, PDF scripts, practical exercises, online tests and case studies.
  • A discussion forum for course related issues as well as for exchange of opinions and experiences with your classmates and tutors.
  • Personalized support from your e-Campus Team.
  • The possibility to attain a Frankfurt School Certificate after passing the final exam or a confirmation of course completion after completing the course. After passing the final exam, you will earn 6 ECTS (academic credit points of the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System). The points can be credited to other academic learning programs.

Tuition Fees*

Regular Tuition Fee: EUR 1,900

Early Bird Fee: EUR 1,600  (by July 15)

  • 10% group discount (for 2 or more participants working for the same institution)
  • 10% for FS Alumni
  • For package discounts, please contact us
Payment Options
  • Bank Transfer (bank fees to be covered by participants)
  • Credit Card
  • PayPal

Payment in installments is not possible.

*Subject to change

Target Audience

This course is suitable for both public and private sector practitioners, including entrepreneurs, project developers, private investors, initiator/fund houses, international development finance consultants and managers, plant operators and manufacturers, engineers and advisory professionals (e.g. law firms, business, and tax consultants).  The course aims to explain the many facets of, and perspectives on, climate adaptation finance. Experience and basic knowledge in (mainstream) banking and finance is therefore very helpful but not explicitly required.


The course takes 6 months assuming 5-7 hours of self-study per week. It consists of 9 units, which build upon each other. You will take the units in sequence and will need to pass an online multiple-choice test before accessing the next unit. The last unit includes a case study assignment that has to be submitted on a fixed deadline. You are not sure if you manage to complete the course within 6 months? No worries! You can apply for a course extension (6 more months) against an administrative fee.


Course Start Course End Registration Early Bird
Sept. 1 Feb. 29 Jun. 1 - Sept. 1 by Jul. 15
Mar. 1 Aug. 31 Dec. 1 - Mar. 1 by Jan. 15


Registration is open until September 30th.

Course Details*

Adaptation seeks to moderate harm or exploit beneficial opportunities. Most of the research on adaptation to date has focused on public spending on adaptation rather than private adaptation, although it may be likely that most of the adaptation financing needs appear with the private actors affected by climate change. Understanding this will help to moderate and potentially accelerate adaptation, as well as address the role of government incentives for adaptation projects. This course will demonstrate that adaptation can appear with different economic and financial characteristics depending on the level we look at it and the individual activity that is considered. Depending on these different characteristics there are different roles for private and commercial actors or governmental institutions in facilitating the structural change towards a low carbon and climate-resilient economy.

*subject to change

Unit 1

Climate change science – What is adaptation?

This introductory unit will present the science behind climate change and its physical impact, before moving on to discuss the impact of climate change on the economy. It will explore economies need to adapt, addressing the question “what is climate adaptation”, providing the macro perspective of adaptation (UNFCCC definition of adaptation) before moving to the micro perspective of adaptation (what do economies/actors do to adapt?)

Unit 2

Climate science meets climate finance

The Unit will provide an overview of the climate finance landscape to understand the importance and relevance of adaptation and climate resilience in terms of scale and contribution to climate finance. The Unit will explore the main building blocks of international adaptation-related policies, looking particularly at the Paris Agreement to anchor the role of the public sector and public support instruments and policies later in the course.

Unit 3

Coping with damages – the natural role of private and public sector actors

This Unit will provide an introductory overview of the natural roles of actors, presenting the interactions between private and public stakeholders, providing the basis for further analysis into adaptation finance. Private actors must consider how business decisions will change in a changing environment, while public actors must decide how to moderate this structural change (e.g. providing policies, support, information, etc.). The Unit will also introduce the different types of investors and financial intermediaries and an understanding of their decision-making criteria and processes, to answer the overarching question: Why are companies investing in climate and sustainability?

Unit 4

Basics of finance and investment with a business model perspective on climate-resilient projects

This Unit will shift the focus towards the level of climate investments. Participants will gain a methodological understanding of financing at the project level, including how to assess the financial viability of an investment. There are crucial tools necessary to do this, and this unit will provide the basics of business models, finance, and investment, with a focus on investment calculations (including key terms, typical KPIs) and key specifics of business cases, with a reference to climate adaptation.

Unit 5

Barriers to adaptation finance and the role of support frameworks

This Unit explores why markets alone might fundamentally not be able to trigger adaptation investment in a way necessary to mitigate climate change. It introduces market imperfections, or barriers, which may systematically keep adaptation projects from materialising. Once these barriers have been identified, there are a variety of options to tackle or overcome them, leading to efficient market outcomes. This guides you on how public finance or policy can facilitate private financial flows towards adaptation.

Unit 6

 Building a business case for adaptation

In the previous Units, we explore the broader context and regulatory frameworks surrounding adaptation/climate resilient projects. This Unit will narrow the focus, introducing the process of analysing new adaptation business model, or adjusting existing business models, to increase the climate resilience of their portfolio.

Part I will first introduce the rationale for a private actor to invest, building on Unit 4 and will then provide a deep-dive into understanding adaptation business models and the proposition behind them, what kind of business models we observe in adaptation/climate resilience, the investors and the type of financial instruments used.

Part II will provide an overview of the broad variety of adaptation business cases, analysing a selection of case studies on different adaptation/climate resilient projects to conduct an in-depth analysis of their characteristics. In this way, we will build a business case from the perspective of a project developer.

Unit 7

Investment opportunities from the perspective of private financiers

This Unit will provide an overview of what sources of financing are available to finance adaptation business models, building on those analysed in Unit 6. It will link to the overview of financing structures given in Unit 4 and build up knowledge on investment opportunities from the perspective of private financiers, answering the question: who invests in these (adaptation) business models and how?

Unit 8

Financing the business model – financial instruments

Following on from sources of finance, this Unit will focus on instruments available to private actors to invest in climate adaptation activities, including ‘innovative’ instruments and blended finance.

Training Approach

The flexibility of our courses offers you the opportunity to follow your own schedule and to combine daily work with professional development.

The high quality offered will immediately improve your daily job performance as well as the performance of your institution.

Training Material

Video Lectures

  • Introvideos: After viewing the lectures, participants will have a basic understanding of each topic and will be able to classify importance and relevance of different techniques and aspects in a broader context.
  • Web-based Presentations: Web based presentation complement the scripts and give additional input on important topics.

Online Tests

Each unit ends with an online test comprising a set of 10 - 15 multiple choice questions. Only after having successfully completed an online test you will gain access to the next unit.

Reading Material

A PDF script is for most of our courses the main studying material. This reading material provides basic concepts and principles applicable to the subject of each unit.


The key to successful learning is the immediate use of newly acquired knowledge and the transfer of theory into practice. Our online courses are therefore supplemented by mandatory assignments.

Discussion Forum

A course discussion forum enables the interaction between participants and trainers and facilitates the exchange of experiences as well as possibilities to ask questions or get clarifications.

Suggestions & Recommendations

This course is designed so that you have the flexibility to decide on the timing and pace of your learning experience. However we will provide you with recommendations for your to take as much as possible from this course.

Your schedule: We will provide you a course schedule including voluntary and mandatory deadlines. The course schedule serves as a guideline for your personal learning schedule and will help you to complete the programme within the given time frame.

Exercises: Even though the exercises in the script are not mandatory we strongly advise that you use them as an opportunity to check your knowledge and to prepare for the final exam.

Networking Opportunities: Use the forum to introduce yourself to your peer participants and to start interesting discussions.

Final Exam

Passing a final examination is a requirement for obtaining your certificate.

  • Location: The final exam takes place online
  • Duration: The final exam takes 2 hours.
  • Costs: 
  • An additional final exam fee will be charged for the second and third final exam attempt.

If you do not wish to take the final exam, you will receive a confirmation of course participation after completing the course.

Course Lecturers

Christine Gruening

Dr. Christine Grüning

Dr. Christine Grüning delivers a strong interdisciplinary background in environmental economics, finance and policy. Since 2011 she is managing and implementing applied research, education and capacity building projects for the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance.

In her role as director of FS' UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance she combines applied research on policy-relevant topics in climate finance and policy with an orientation towards practical application and final implementation. Her current fields of research are the economics of climate change, barriers on investment in mitigation and adaptation finance, market imperfections, and results-based climate finance. She has been crucial for the success of the annual report “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Finance” in cooperation with Bloomberg New Energy Finance and UN Environment over the last 12 years and the development and implementation of the Certified Expert of Climate Adaptation Finance, Certified Expert of Climate & Renewable Energy Finance and the Adaptation Finance Fellowship Programme (AFFP).

Between 1999 and 2004 she studied International Business Administration at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder). She holds a Bachelor Degree in Financial Studies from Manchester Metropolitan University (UK) and a Maestria de Dirección de Empresas (MBA) from the Universidad Católica de Códoba (Argentina). Subsequently she joined the Chair of Public Finance and Environmental Economics at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) and received a doctoral degree in 2010.

Ulf Moslener

Prof. Dr. Ulf Moslener

Ulf Moslener is professor for sustainable energy finance at the faculty of Frankfurt School and Head of Research of the UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate and Sustainable Energy Finance. His broader research interests are the economics of climate change, sustainable finance and  climate finance.


The FS-UNEP Centre

The content of this course was developed by the Frankfurt School - UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance ( The Centre is a strategic cooperation between Frankfurt School and the UN Environment programme. Its vision is to advance transformation to resilient low-carbon and resource-efficient economies by attracting new types of investors, in particular catalysing the financing of clean energy by the private sector. The Centre is UNEP’s major knowledge hub for climate finance related aspects.

Course contributes to UN SDGs

All our courses contribute to the following SDGs


This course will enhance your knowledge in the following SDGs. The SWA offers professional and executive courses dedicated to the advancement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Beyond your Certificate

Master of Leadership in Sustainable Finance

The Certified Expert in Climate Adaptation Finance is an Elective Module of the Master of Leadership in Sustainable Finance - online. Join our Master programme after completing the CECAF course and waive one elective module. Also, the amount you paid for the course will be deducted from the final tuition fee of the Master programme.

Frankfurt School Summer Academy

Our Summer Academy is designed to provide tangible take-home value: what you learn with us in Frankfurt, you can apply straight away in your own organisation. More than 1,000 participants over 20 years can’t be wrong – our trainings are cutting edge, delivered by leading experts in their field.  Yet, most important for the great success of our Summer Academies is the profile of the participants. You bring the regional expertisediversity of backgrounds and the unique practitioner’s perspective. Learning from each other is an integral part of our training philosophy. This is your opportunity to stretch your network all around the globe.

Diploma in Green Finance

The Certified Expert in Climate Adaptation Finance Finance is part of the curriculum of our Diploma in Green Finance. Enroll in our Diploma after completing the CECAF course and waive one module. Also, the amount you paid for the course will be deducted from the final tuition fee of the Diploma.

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