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Certified Expert in ESG and Impact Investing

Environment Social and Governance criteria (ESG) and Impact Investing have gained a lot of traction in recent years and will continue to do so in the (post-) Corona world. Calls for a green and socially equitable re-start are very prominent. The EU’s Green New Deal (“Green Deal”) and the UN`s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are good examples of how ESG criteria and ideas of Impact Investing are being incorporated into policy objectives.

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International development agencies have embraced ESG and impact criteria to guide investment decisions, as have many family offices, investment vehicles and other institutional players, ranging from foundations and philanthropists to the private sector. ESG and Impact Investing are approaches to finance that are related to each other, although they may occupy different ends of the spectrum in terms of methodological intensity or operational mind-set.

What do we Offer?

  • An interactive e-learning course including video lectures, PDF scripts, examples, practical exercises, online tests and case studies.
  • A discussion forum for course related issues as well as for exchange of opinions and experiences with , tutors, peers or the FSDF e-Campus team.
  • Personalized support from your e-Campus team.
  • The possibility to achieve a Frankfurt School certificate after passing the final exam or a confirmation of course completion after completing the course.

Tuition Fees*

Registration Date Fee
Before Jul. 15, 2021 EUR 1,350*
After Jul. 15, 2021 EUR 1,550*

Final exam fee: An additional final exam fee will be charged for the second and third final exam attempt.


  • 10% group discount (for 2 or more participants working for the same institution, informed to us before by an email)
  • 10% for FS Alumni
  • For company package discounts, please contact us.

Payment Options

  • Bank Transfer (bank fees to be covered by the participants)
  • Credit Card
  • PayPal

Payment in instalments is unfortunately not possible.

*subject to change

Target Audience

This six month online course is designed for professionals and executives working in international DFIs, multilateral donor organizations, institutional investors, pension funds, insurance companies, asset and fund managers who want their investments to intentionally achieve positive impact and/or offer ESG compliant options to their clients, rating agencies and technical assistance providers, as well as financial institutions in emerging and developing countries that are required to explicitly target both financial and non-financial objectives.


The course takes approx. 6 months assuming 4-6 hours of self-study per week. It consists of 7 mandatory units. The units need to be completed in a sequence. The next unit opens only if you complete the online test of the previous unit.


Course Start Course End Registration Early Bird
Sept. 1 Feb. 28 Jun. 1 - Sept. 30  By Jul. 15
Mar. 1 Aug. 31 Dec. 1 - Mar. 31 By Jan. 15

Course Contributions to UN SDGs

The SWA offers professional and executive courses dedicated to the advancement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

This course will enhance your knowledge in all SDGs:


Course Details*

The Certified Expert in ESG & Impact Investing is designed as a six month, pure online programme. Participants should budget around 150 hours to complete the programme, complete all assignments and sit for the final exam. 

Unit 1: Introduction and Overview: What are ESG Criteria and Impact Investing

This introductory unit provides you with an understanding of how ESG criteria and Impact Investing relate to traditional mainstream finance. It familiarises you with major stakeholders, initiatives, and approaches for integrating non-financial issues into the day-to-day activities of investing. Key concepts and themes are introduced, which establish foundations for a learning journey that will be expanded upon over the subsequent units.

Unit 2: Historical and Theoretical Context

ESG and Impact Investing are orientated within different operational contexts: from asset management, through direct investment, to advisory services, etc. This unit helps you understand what is relevant for your context, whilst also making you aware of other requirements you may encounter in adjacent parts of the industry. It contextualises the historical evolution and theoretical development of ESG and Impact Investing to show how they complement each other, and to demystify why some narratives about managing non-financial factors appear to be fragmented and conflicting. Conceptual structures are presented that help you apply theory to praxis via a unified framework.

Unit 3: Strategies for Measuring and Managing ESG Criteria and Impact

There are different strategic pathways available to managing ESG and impact factors. Each pathway represents a different level of methodological intensity. You will be introduced to the techniques and tools that are relevant for each, and learn how to choose the pathway that is most suitable for your needs or circumstances. This unit also clarifies how these strategic pathways align with operational mind-sets such as compliance, risk management, as well as proactively managing performance against non-financial goals.

Unit 4: Integrating ESG and Impact Management in the Investment Process

Each of the strategic pathways for managing ESG and impact can be integrated at every stage of the investment process: from deal sourcing and due diligence, through ongoing investment management, to final exit or contract maturity. These all follow the same high-level process that aligns with the Deming quality management cycle. This is applied with different levels of intensity and granularity depending on the strategic pathway being followed. You will learn how this process can be deployed across all asset classes, across publicly traded securities and private over-the-counter transactions, and by retail investors as well as institutional investors.

Unit 5: Specialised Financial Instruments and Legal Contracts that Integrate ESG and Impact

This unit starts with an introduction of traditional asset classes and financial instruments (a refresher for anyone familiar with both investing and philanthropy). You will learn how ESG and impact features are incorporated into financial instruments. This can be achieved either by enhancing traditional instruments with additional requirements and obligations, such as with Green Bonds; or by developing innovative instruments and hybrid models that introduce new contractual and financial arrangements, such as Social Impact Incentives.

Unit 6: Ratings, Indicators, Non-Financial Reporting and Data

There are currently no universally accepted standards for reporting non-financial information, although there are several voluntary frameworks and norms established by industry initiatives. You will learn about the key regulations and legal requirements that are currently in various stages of development, notably by the European Commission. The unit also covers key trends, selected best practice, and challenges to help you navigate the various ratings, labels, certifications, and evaluation methods that are available. The challenges and opportunities in data collection are outlined, which explains why information from different providers of data and ratings is often weakly correlated.

Unit 7: Elective Module

Participants choose one module from the following options. The unit will conclude with an assignment that is tailored to the option you choose.

7a   Marketing, Fundraising and Sales – this option allows you to delve deeper into designing and presenting a product, fund, or other business idea for ESG and impact investing. It covers fund design, investor targeting, and how to present to investors.

7b   Due Diligence – this option allows you to delve deeper into assessing investment opportunities. It covers the different tools available and how to take into account the market context, governance, legal form and business models, as well as planning an on-site visit.

*Subject to change

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.

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.
  • Certificate: Your digital certificate will be available upon passing the final examination.

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

Course Tutors

Professor smiles

Prof. Dr. Zacharias Sautner

Zacharias Sautner is Professor of Finance at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. He was previously Associate Professor of Finance at the University of Amsterdam and Research Fellow in Finance at the Saïd Business School of the University of Oxford. Zacharias Sautner works in the area of empirical corporate finance and focuses on ESG, climate finance, and corporate governance. His research was published in leading international journals such as the Journal of FinanceReview of Financial StudiesManagement Science or Review of Finance and he has presented at conferences such as the AFA, WFA, and EFA. He was ranked #2 in Germany in Business Administration (#1 in Finance) based on A+ publications (age of 40 or below) by Forschungsmonitoring.org (February 2019). He teaches corporate finance, valuation, and corporate governance and has won different research and teaching awards.

Zacharias Sautner holds a PhD in Finance from the University of Mannheim and studied at University of York and University of Cooperative Education Stuttgart.

Karl H. Richter

Karl H. Richter

Co-founder of EngagedX, which is a consultancy specialising in impact investing, thought leadership, data and tech development, advocacy and policy work. Karl works internationally across private, public, and social sectors. He lectures at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

Karl's previous experiences include a 12 month assignment as Head of Research and Knowledge for the UNDP SDG Impact Finance initiative (UNSIF), where he led research to improve the analytical framework for social impact investing; membership of Groupe d'Experts de la Commission sur l'Entrepreneuriat Social (GECES) of the European Commission to advise on its Social Business Initiative; part of the OECD expert group on social impact investing. Karl is currently Senior Fellow of the Finance Innovation Lab; and adviser to several organisations, including the China Alliance for Social Value Investment.

Lucie Charrier

Lucie Charrier

Lucie Charrier is a Senior Financial Inclusion Expert with 15 years of experience in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle-East, Europe and Central Asia. Lucie Charrier is currently Senior Business Development Expert for the implementation of the Technical Assistance Programme of the European Investment Bank (EIB) to the Financial Sector that is being implemented by Frankfurt School of Finance and Management since May 2018 in the Caribbean region. Lucie is a Qualified Social Performance Auditor by CERISE since December 2015.

Lucie was previously Country Manager Peru for Oikocredit and Senior Analyst at Planet Rating. Lucie has conducted more than 100 institutional, financial and social performance ratings, due diligence and evaluations, social audits, Smart Campaign’s client protection principles certifications as well as technical assistance projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle-East, Europe and Central Asia.

Lucie is graduated with a Master in Development and International Cooperation from the Sorbonne University Paris and a Master in Management and Business Administration from EDHEC Business School.


Dina Lorentz

Dina Lorentz studied economic law focusing on finance and started her career as a consultant and investment banker specialized in the acquisition and respective valuation of financial institutions. She now works as a Business Development Manager Regulatory.

In addition, she is specialized in Impact Investing topics having worked for a Swiss Impact Investment Fund the last years in Lima, Peru. Underlying her dedicated work within Impact Investing she is a member of the Board of SA Oikocredit North Germany, a support association of Oikocredit International

David Wilton

David Wilton

David is an experienced investor with an exceptional track record in investing with a double-bottom-line. He has successfully pioneered investment programs in Sustainable Investing (incorporating SRI, ESG, Thematic and Impact) and Emerging Market Private Equity.

David advises clients on incorporating sustainable investing (including Socially Responsible Investing, ESG, Thematic and Impact) into both individual strategies and the broader firm business model. He also helps clients to screen both investments with a sustainable lens and investments in the emerging markets.  

David is currently a member of the IFC’s AIMM panel which rates the impact of fund investments, a Board and IC member of Lumis Partners and an Advisor to Jupiter Impact, Time Partners and several private equity funds under development.


Beyond your Certificate:

Master of Leadership in Sustainable Finance

The Certified Expert in ESG and Impact Investing is an Elective Module of the  Master of Leadership in Sustainable Finance. Join our Master programme after completing the CEII 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.

Diploma in Financial Inclusion

The Certified Expert in ESG and Impact Investing is part of the curriculum of our Diploma in Financial Inclusion. Enroll to our Diploma after completing the CEII course and waive one module. Also, the amount you paid for the course will be deducted from the final tuition fee of the Diploma.

Diploma in Green Finance

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