CFA ESG Certificate: Our Easy Guide

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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues to the forefront of everyone’s minds.

ESG matters. And investors and companies around the world are reacting fast to this current situation, pointing to a longer term demand for investment professionals with green finance and responsible investment knowledge.

CFA Institute’s ESG Certificate may be a practical and affordable answer to augment your current skillset with some sustainable finance credentials.

Here’s the ultimate guide with all the info you need!


Overview of Certificate In ESG Investing

CFA ESG Certificate: Our Easy Guide 1

Initially developed by CFA UK in 2019, from 1st September 2021, the Certificate in ESG Investing is owned and administered by CFA Institute to provide worldwide access to this global credential.

This certificate is designed to meet the investment sector’s increasing demand for further education, guidance and standards around ESG (environmental, social and governance).

As of 31 Jan 2022, the CFA ESG certificate has already registered more than 16,046 registrations globally.

Most candidates have come from the UK, where the Certificate was first offered, followed by the US, Switzerland, France, Hong Kong and Singapore with interest growing around the world.

This course goes for a broad framework approach, teaching its candidates how to analyze and integrate material ESG factors into their day-to-day investment roles. It is designed for investment professionals in all roles, from asset management to sales and distribution, as well as students seeking a career in the investment sector.

The Certificate in ESG Investing is also recognized by the UN PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment), a leading proponent of responsible investment. Although supported (but not part of) United Nations (UN), UN PRI  is an independent, non-profit organization that seeks to encourage investors to use responsible investment to enhance returns and better manage business risks.

There are in-person and online proctored exams (certain locations only) managed by Prometric, CFA Institute’s global testing partner. It is best to check if in-person or remote testing options are available in your area before registering.


CFA ESG Certificate In A Nutshell

cfa esg certificate summary

The Certificate in ESG Investing:

  • is designed to equip investment professionals with a base knowledge and skillset to integrate ESG factors into the investment process. With no formal entry criteria, it is suitable for a broad range of financial services professionals (not just investment-related) who are keen to understand ESG issues;
  • consists of a one-part, computer-based testing exam consisting of 100 questions in 2 hour and 20 minutes, with remote exam testing now available;
  • has 2 types of questions in this exam: standard multiple-choice and item sets, i.e. there are no ‘essay’ type, constructed-response exams like CFA Level 3.

​Similar to most other professional designations such as CFAFRMIMC or CAIA, the ESG Investing certificate is also a self-directed learning program:

  • The course starts with a broad overview of the ESG factors, before focusing on how to apply these knowledge in portfolio construction, valuation, analysis and analytics reporting.
  • In terms of study hours, it is recommended that ESG exam candidates devote around 130 hours in total to complete the certification.
  • CFA Institute publishes the Official Training Manual (OTM), which forms the syllabus ESG exams are based on. The syllabus is updated every year on 1st October, and covers exams taken during 1st Oct to the following 30 Sep. It is important to make sure you have the right syllabus for your exam timeframe.

The ESG exam can be taken all year round, and also remotely via online proctoring in certain locations only. You can find your nearest ESG test center here. Candidates are required to sit the exam within 12 months of the registration date.


Pass Rates & Pass Marks

finance exam difficulty comparison

Just like Investment Management Certificate and Certificate in Climate and Investing (CCI), the Certificate in ESG Investing is a Level 4 qualification, which means that the level of difficulty of the qualification broadly equates to the first-year of an undergraduate degree.

According to a candidate who passed recently (who is also a CFA charterholder and an IMC certificate holder)about 25% of the ESG Investing exam questions are quantitative.

The pass mark ranges from 60%-70%, with an average pass rate of 81% (as of 31 Jan 2022).


Topic Areas & Weights

CFA ESG Certificate: Our Easy Guide 2

The Certificate in ESG Investing consists of one exam with 100 multiple-choice and item-set questions, with an allocated time of 2 hours and 20 minutes.

The ESG syllabus has 9 chapters which covers a broad overview of the development of ESG investing, combined with technical aspects such as portfolio constructions.

​The topics areas and exam weights are as below:

ESG Investing Certificate Topic AreasTopic Weights
Introduction to ESG4% – 8%
The ESG Market4% – 8%
Environmental Factors6% – 12%
Social Factors6% – 12%
Governance Factors6% – 12%
Engagement & Stewardship6% – 10%
ESG Analysis, Valuation & Integration20% – 32%
​ESG Integrated Portfolio Construction & Management8% – 14%
Investment Mandates, Portfolio Analytics & Client Reporting4% – 8%

Exam Fees & Costs

The ESG Investing exam fee structure is nice and straightforward:

  • Registration fee and online learning materials cost US$ 675
  • Hard copies of the syllabus can be purchased for an extra US$ 135 + shipping.

It is a cost effective and time efficient investment to demonstrate green finance /responsible investing credentials internationally.


Exam Schedule & Key Deadlines

CFA ESG Certificate: Our Easy Guide 3

The Certificate in ESG Investing is currently available via Prometric in hundreds of test sites, with plans to further expand the availability of this qualification globally.

Candidates can sit for Certificate in ESG Investing throughout the year (except holidays and weekends).

That said, candidates must carefully plan the time of exam registration, bearing in mind that the ESG Investing syllabus (Official Training Manual, OTM) gets updated annually on 1st October and remains until 30th September the following year, unless otherwise necessary. ​

Here’s a quick summary of the registration and exam scheduling details:

Exam RegistrationESG Investing exam registration is done through CFA Institute, with the certificate currently available globally.

Upon registration, candidates will receive an email confirmation providing scheduling instructions, a unique username and password.

Note that candidates can only view exam availability after registration.
Exam SchedulingAfter registration and payment, candidates will need to wait for 2 working days before they are permitted to schedule an exam.

Candidates can sit for exam on most working days at selected Prometric centres worldwide.
​Exam ​Registration ExpiryCandidates have 1 year from initial exam registration to sit for the exam.

Otherwise, the registration will expire after 1 year with no refunds given. Re-registering will cost the same exam fee each time.
Number of Exam AttemptsCandidates are not allowed to take the ESG exam more than 4 times in any 4 month test window.

No further attempts are allowed once a candidate achieves a passing score.

For resits, candidates need to wait 3 working days after the exam date to re-register for the exam.

What Are the Requirements for Certificate In ESG Investing?

CFA ESG Certificate: Our Easy Guide 4

While a solid grounding in the investment process is strongly recommended (via formal qualification or experience), there are no formal entry criteria for candidates.

We think it is great that CFA Institute has made this course so approachable to all, because this COVID-19 pandemic experience we are all going through now is just going to bring ESG issues to the forefront in investing.

​Candidates who successfully pass the ESG exam can claim a digital badge and earn the CFA Institute’s Certificate in ESG Investing.


Benefits of the Certificate in ESG Investing

CFA ESG Certificate: Our Easy Guide 5

Having the Certificate in ESG Investing could be a key differentiator in the financial services sector, especially if you’re job hunting during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Given the low time and money investment, it does represent good value for money given the unique and practical qualification you would attain.

By completing and earning the Certificate in ESG Investing, you can expect to:

  • Expand your ESG knowledge and stay ahead in your field
  • Improve your career prospects and differentiate yourself from other job candidates
  • Develop the skills and competencies to fulfil both your fiduciary responsibilities and your firm’s responsible investment mandates
  • Gain a prestigious qualification (and digital badge) from CFA Institute, recognized by leading firms
  • ​Pave your way for further finance designation such as CFAFRMIMC or CAIA as you further specialize.

ESG Investing vs. GARP SCR Certificate: Which Is Right for You?

CFA ESG Certificate: Our Easy Guide 6

We are comparing CFA ESG Investing vs GARP’s SCR certificates below, although it is worth mentioning that EFFAS’ Certified ESG Analyst (CESGA) is a higher Diploma level certificate in ESG investing that is worth checking out, as you’ll get a proper title upon passing (CESGA or Certified ESG Analyst), which is not present in either CFA ESG Investing or GARP’s SCR certificate below.

In short, while both qualifications focus on sustainable investing, there are some slight differences in focus about them:

  • Certificate in ESG Investing has a slightly broader focus on ESG factors, and how the investment industry can adapt to that change in investor preferences. It also contains covers key concepts relating to climate change (including climate mitigation, and adaptation and resilience) and a range of climate change initiatives, as well as featuring more extensive study of the opportunities arising from the circular economy, green products, and clean and technological innovation.
  • On the other hand, Sustainability & Climate Risk (SCR) certificate mainly focuses on educating risk professionals on how to manage the main environmental risk (arguably just the “E” part of ESG), i.e. climate change.

Both SCR and ESG Investing Certificate are now available globally.

While both are good quality qualifications from reputable organizations, the choice depends on which certificate has more relevance to your preferred career path: investments or risk management.

CFA Institute’s Certificate in ESG InvestingGARP’s Sustainability & Climate Risk
Suitable forStudents who are keen on an investment career; or

Investment professionals of all roles (asset management, sales & distribution, wealth management, product development, financial advice, consulting, risk etc), who are looking to understand and integrate ESG issues into the investment process
Risk management professionals of all disciplines (finance, supply chain, operations, technology etc) who are keen to learn about sustainability and how to manage climate risk in their industries.

Students interested in a risk management career.​
Pre-exam qualificationsNone, although some insights in the investment process is strongly recommended (via formal qualification or experience)​None​
Number of Exams11
​Exam FrequencyAvailable to book throughout the year (except weekends and holidays) for in-person exams globally.

Also available to book for remote proctoring at home globally.

Maximum 4 attempts in 4 months​​
Specific 2 week windows about 3-4 times a year.
​Exam Format100 multiple-choice and item set questions in 2 hours and 20 minutes

On-site computer-based testing or online remote testing
80 multiple-choice questions in 3 hours

On-site computer-based testing
Pass Rates81% on averageData not available yet as first SCR exams start on Sep 2020
​Fees and CostsUS$ 675Around US$ 525-650 depending on GARP membership status or presence of other credentials
Study Hours Needed130 hours100-130 hours
​Post Exam RequirementsNone​None, although there are 20 hours of voluntary continuous professional development (CPD) every 2 years

Overall, the Certificate in ESG Investing seems to be a cost efficient means to signal your green finance credentials in this increasingly competitive marketplace.

If you’re in the investment sector, this ESG qualification would be useful to have a solid base level of knowledge about ESG and how to incorporate it into your day-to-day role. If you’re a student keen to start a career in investments, this certification – combined with an investment-focused qualification like Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) – could give you a great head start with ESG credential as a valuable differentiator.


Is this CFA ESG Certificate something you’d consider taking on to enhance your resume/CV? Let us know in the comments below!

Meanwhile, you may find these related articles in our Beginner’s Guide series of interest:

blog1
blog2
blog3

178 thoughts on “CFA ESG Certificate: Our Easy Guide”

  1. Hello,

    I want to start studying for the CFA ESG in september 2022 but I have a concerned regarding the update of the syllabus in october. I want to know how does that work and if the topics and the contents really change because it wouldn’t make sense to start studying one month before everything changes

    Reply
  2. Hi
    I have 03 years of experience supporting clean energy entrepreneurs and just started my career as an investment associate in a venture capital fund investing in climate technologies. Before that, I have a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration as my undergraduate. However, I have not possessed a solid understanding of finance, venture investment, or ESG yet I am keen on studying investment and ESG investing for my future career path. So, considering my status, should I pursue CFA level 1 first to obtain the financial fundamentals then continuing with CFA in ESG investing or gain the CFA in ESG investing immediately without the CFA level 1?

    Reply
    • Hi Hung,
      I would recommend you to do the CFA 1 First for two main reasons:

      1. Your clean energy background was your competitive advantage in entering the Venture Capital Fund. However, they now expect you to learn and apply financial/investment approaches. If the fund is focused on climate technologies, it will be mainly focused on the E Factor of the ESG. And, if you have three years of clean energy experience, you are probably ahead of most traditional investment professionals without any environmental background. (believe me).

      2. ESG is an early-stage field. Different companies apply different methodologies. The ESG field is still trying to find solid ground, and it is expected to have some consolidation. So, try to understand if they plan to give specific ESG training to their employees. Probably yes. Another thing you can do is, start with the CFA 1 (it will require 300 hours of study) and purchase the CFA ESG book on Amazon, so you can use the book as an ESG professional manual while you take the CFA 1. After that, you can decide if you still want to take the CFA ESG.

      By the way, as the article above states. CFA ESG is Level 4, and CFA 1 is Level 5. So the CFA 1 will require you more hours of study.

      I think both certifications are great! I also hold the CFA ESG certification but again, in your case, and considering your background, I think “CFA 1 First” will be the best strategy.

      Cheers,

      Reply
      • Hi PSau! Can you please share your CFA ESG Badge/Credential?

        As I was going through the comments, I was amazed only to see one provider in the comments.

        Every candidate that passes the exam gets a CFA ESG Badge/Credential that is public/available to everyone to check. The CFA Institute provides these public credentials precisely to avoid fraud, misleading information, fake resumes, and fake reviews.

        Can you please share your CFA ESG Badge Credential?

        Reply
    • Hi RGom! Can you please share your CFA ESG Badge/Credential?

      As I was going through the comments, I was amazed only to see one provider in the comments.

      Every candidate that passes the exam gets a CFA ESG Badge/Credential that is public/available to everyone to check. The CFA Institute provides these public credentials precisely to avoid fraud, misleading information, fake resumes, and fake reviews.

      Can you please share your CFA ESG Badge Credential?

      Reply
  3. Hi everyone, I would like to take the CFA ESG exam and want to purchase a revision tool. Saw that many of you are using Brainie, any one got the latest discount code? Thanks!

    Reply
  4. I have passed the CFA certificate in ESG investing. I can recommend the Brainie Q-bank for study. Their summary notes were of great help.

    Reply
    • Hi Nabila! Can you please share your CFA ESG Batch Credential?

      As I was going through the comments, I was amazed only to see one provider in the comments.

      Every candidate that passes the exam gets a CFA ESG Badge/Credential that is public/available to everyone to check. The CFA Institute provides these public credentials precisely to avoid fraud, misleading information, fake resumes, and fake reviews.

      Can you please share your CFA ESG Batch Credential?

      Reply
  5. I just passed the exam at first attempt. Here is my study process (roughly 1.5 months of work):

    Read the entire curriculum over a period of 3-4 weeks. After having done that, I used the Brainie Q-Bank (highly recommend) and went through chapter by chapter all 400 questions. Simultaneously I had printed out their summary sheet, and whenever I didn’t know the answer to a question I went back and re-read it either on the summary sheet or in the curriculum. After having done all of that, I took their mock exam and had a 76% score which already gave me some comfort. I kept re-reading the summary sheet, added some own notes, and then in the final week took the CFA mock exam. The Brainie material prepped me well enough to score 75% on that one too.

    At the actual exam, which to be fair didn’t much resemble the CFA mock exam (questions on the actual exam felt much more practice-oriented, and CFA mock was more about understanding definitions and concepts), I answered 69 questions with a relatively high level of confidence and 31 where I might have been unsure between 2 of the 4 answers. You will know whether you pass or fail right on the spot..

    Hope this is helpful for anyone attempting the exam – Good luck!
    Luca

    Reply
    • Hi Luca! Can you please share your CFA ESG Batch Credential?

      As I was going through the comments, I was amazed only to see one provider in the comments.

      Every candidate that passes the exam gets a CFA ESG Badge/Credential that is public/available to everyone to check. The CFA Institute provides these public credentials precisely to avoid fraud, misleading information, fake resumes, and fake reviews.

      Can you please share your CFA ESG Batch Credential?

      Reply
  6. I recently passed the CFA certificate in ESG investing and used the Brainie platform to help with my prep. I found the question bank was really useful with helping me memorise concepts and I felt the questions were in line with those in the exam. I’d recommend the platform to others, especially those looking for further practice questions beyond the CFA materials and mock exam.

    Reply
    • Hi Sheena! Congratulations on passing the exam!
      Can you please share your CFA ESG Badge/Credential?

      As I was going through the comments, I was amazed only to see one provider in the comments.

      Every candidate that passes the exam gets a CFA ESG Badge/Credential that is public/available to everyone to check. The CFA Institute provides these public credentials precisely to avoid fraud, misleading information, fake resumes, and fake reviews.

      So, to avoid this, can you please share your CFA ESG Badge Credential?

      Reply
  7. I’ve finished reading the book. In addition to the mock exam, what other resources can I use? I saw a few mentioning Brainie below and I a curious to know if it’s helpful and if there’s any discount code. Thanks a lot!

    Reply
    • Hi Karmen, I actually just passed the exam using Brainie. I found it very useful with the 400+ questions, particularly since they are divided by chapter. I only used the CFA material and the Brainie QBank, and passed at first attempt.

      I was also impressed by the responsiveness of the Brainie team. I had to reset my PW and got a response at 1am local time by one of their employees. All in all, had a very good experience. Would recommend.
      Found also this discount code, not sure it still works: Welcome10

      Thanks,
      Abhisek

      Reply
      • Hi AbhisekM! Congratulations on passing the exam!
        Can you please share your CFA ESG Badge/Credential?

        As I was going through the comments, I was amazed only to see one provider in the comments.

        Every candidate that passes the exam gets a CFA ESG Badge/Credential that is public/available to everyone to check. The CFA Institute provides these public credentials precisely to avoid fraud, misleading information, fake resumes, and fake reviews.

        So, to avoid this, can you please share your CFA ESG Badge Credential?

        Reply
    • Hi Karmen, I successfully passed the CFA ESG exam and used Brainie in addition to reading the exam materials. Brainie helped me memorize the content more efficiently and helped simulate the experience of answering questions on screen.

      Reply
      • Hi Katie! Congratulations on passing the exam!
        Can you please share your CFA ESG Badge/Credential?

        As I was going through the comments, I was amazed only to see one provider in the comments.

        Every candidate that passes the exam gets a CFA ESG Badge/Credential that is public/available to everyone to check. The CFA Institute provides these public credentials precisely to avoid fraud, misleading information, fake resumes, and fake reviews.

        So, to avoid this, can you please share your CFA ESG Badge Credential?

        Reply
    • Hi Karmen,
      Besides the readings, I attended one of Alma Mundus Webinars. I end up using their study platform. They have a defined study process, summaries per chapter, question banks per chapter, mock exams, a study community (to engage with other candidates and raise questions).

      The study summaries saved me tons of hours of study. Realy helpful. In the last two weeks, I also did a tutoring session with them. They helped me define a study plan for the last week and focus on the most important exam topics based on my Qbank and Mock Exam results.

      Regarding discounts, I got a discount code when attending their webinar. But ask them, they are very responsive.

      I passed the exam! 🙂
      Good luck

      Reply
      • Hi Michele! Congratulations on passing the exam!
        Can you please share your CFA ESG Badge/Credential?

        As I was going through the comments, I was amazed only to see one provider in the comments.

        Every candidate that passes the exam gets a CFA ESG Badge/Credential that is public/available to everyone to check. The CFA Institute provides these public credentials precisely to avoid fraud, misleading information, fake resumes, and fake reviews.

        So, to avoid this, can you please share your CFA ESG Badge Credential?

        Reply
  8. Hi. I took the ESG exam for the second time and thought i did well but failed. The results itself didn’t look bad i scored highly in chapter 7 and others. Where i fell short (really short) was engagement. Not sure what to do now. I scored really highly in fitch and have exhausted all question banks including brainie. I feel it all comes down to exam tech.

    Also, read text book twice already

    I also tried to enroll for the 3rd time but they wont allow me. I have to wait until August 2022 and it’s March. I want to take it because i have all this content in my head.

    any ideas. do you think the CFA ESG exam is harder compared to when it was under CFA UK

    Reply
    • Hi Anna, I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t work out this time. We don’t think so, I think the syllabus is similar, having just transitioned to CFA Institute just March last year.

      Reply
    • Hi Anna, how were the questions in relation to the qns in tutoring platforms like Branie and Fitch? Also, not many mention this, but when you took it for the second time, was it the same set of questions or different? Thanks.

      Reply
    • Hi Anna. My name is Elizabeth and I had the same experience as you. I obsessed over the Brainie questions, took and re-reviewed chapter quizzes multiple times. I took and re-took the Brainie exam of 400 questions. I took and re-took the CFA MOC exam 4 times. I still did not pass. I scored 100% on sections (chapters) 5-9, scored 80% on section 4. My low scores were for first 3 sections. Go figure! I feel like the Brainie questions were not hard enough! The exam was much more intense. I used every minute of the 2+ hours. Am trying to figure out how to find moc exam questions that are more rigorous.

      Reply
      • Hi Elizabeth! I’m sorry to hear that.

        I have already commented above on my experience and study process in my answer to Karmen. In summary, my experience was very smooth with Alma Mundus.

        Reach out to them; they are very responsive, and they assist you during your studies.

        Best of luck.

        Reply
  9. Hi Sophie and Zee – Thank you very much for the information provided.

    Do you have any information on when Edition 4 of the CFA Certification starts?

    Reply
  10. Hi all,
    I’m a fund analyst at a fund of fund and am currently transitioning to become the SI-lead in our team. For what it’s worth, the CFA ESG is useful to fill the knowledge gaps and get some ideas on how to implement ESG in our suite of portfolios. My exam is scheduled for beginning of March and I have read the CFA material. It’s not too extensive – so if the question is, should you do it? Why not? If you can spare two months of studying for a title that is probably going to be valuable in the future given where the market is going, I think it would make sense. The only issue I had was that CFA does not provide a QBank – so memorizing all the 1000s of similar-sounding terms is a nightmare. I therefore went for a QBank provider. I was undecided between Fitch and Brainie. Obviously, Fitch is more established, but also more than double in price. And my company is not expensing the study material… So I thought for a 100Q exam I may try Brainie. So far, I’m finding it super useful and with the 400+ questions I’m starting to memorize the terms and concepts of the syllabus.
    Cheers,
    Regina

    Reply
  11. Hi Zee / Sophie, great work guys! Your page is an indispensable guide. Just wanted to check can you profile the CFAUK Climate and Investing guide as well which has just been launched. Especially if this cert will also transition to the CFAI like the ESG which was originally introduced by CFAUK

    Reply
    • Hi Anish, this is hopefully in the works soon! I have reached out separately to CFA UK on your question, and they said that “we (CFA UK) are not able to comment on any transition of the Climate Certificate to CFA Institute yet, or if this was to occur what the timeline would be.”

      Meanwhile, do check out our new ESG qualifications section where we will continue to feature more high quality, relevant ESG certifications out there 🙂

      Reply
  12. I took this exam recently, however, I did not pass this time. I am planning to take my second exam within a month and this time, I will purchase third-party study material for preparation. Currently, I can’t decide between Brainie, Fitchlearning and Quartic. Based on the fact that I already took the exam once and do not have sufficient knowledge regarding investing, which platform would you recommend to me the best?

    Reply
  13. I just started doing it, work on buy side in sales. I just saw how clients are increasingly concerned with ESG & Sustainability that I felt I had to step up my game to be able talk the same language. I think for that purpose, CFA ESG is great. BTW – I’m studying with Brainie. I found the discount code “GL20” in one of their promotional posts that gave me 20% off. Not sure the code still works but can recommend that platform.

    Reply
  14. Hey Sophie, thanks for the article super useful. I have seen a number of people referencing the ‘brainiegroup’ question bank. Do you know if this is a legitimate study resource? I went on the website and to me it seems a little suspicious but that might just be me.

    Reply
    • Hello James, thanks for your feedback. I personally know the founders, so I can vouch for them – also I used them to prepare for my CFA ESG it was helpful.

      Reply
      • Thanks Fabio. Did you mostly focus your study on the Brainie questions? If so, what scores were you getting in the question bank before taking the exam? Any insights would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, James

        Reply
        • Hi James, I did it similar to the other posts, starting by reading the curriculum and then qbank & secret sauce. I mostly worked with their qbank. the day before the exams I did score around 70%, which I think is reasonable since CFA does not provide any guidance on what score is needed. Unfortunately, I have not received/seen my detailed results, so I cannot provide any colour by what margin I did pass. What I can tell is during the exam I felt well prepared. But having done all CFA levels, I think I expected a somewhat tougher exam tbh. Hope this helps!

          Reply
      • Hi Fabio! Congratulations on passing the exam!
        Can you please share your CFA ESG Badge/Credential?

        As I was going through the comments, I was amazed only to see one provider in the comments.

        Every candidate that passes the exam gets a CFA ESG Badge/Credential that is public/available to everyone to check. The CFA Institute provides these public credentials precisely to avoid fraud, misleading information, fake resumes, and fake reviews.

        So, to avoid this, can you please share your CFA ESG Badge Credential?

        Reply
    • Hi James, thank you, glad you found it useful. We have not heard and tried out Brainie ourselves personally, so would not be able to comment on its quality at this stage. CFA Institute does not seem to have an approved prep provider program (yet?) for their CFA ESG certificate course, so there is no strict rules who can be a prep provider at this stage.

      We know of BPP, Fitch, Quartic offering CFA ESG Investing courses now, as they also offer CFA program courses. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  15. FAQs

    Hey guys, passing the exam, I‘ve received many question what it took, how i prepared.
    I spent between 100-110 hours to prepare for the exam. Initially I stared by reading the syllabus as I was missing the classical Schweser books. A friend later recommended Brainie, and i think they were a great help. Like others said in posts, it helped me to get to know the content. I think ESG is nice but I did it to differentiate from my peers and become an asset to the firm. I don‘t regret signing up for the exam early (September) and can recommend Brainie to others, as partice is key and this was the only tool I used beside the syllabus.

    Reply
      • Hello James, thanks for your feedback. I personally know the founders, so I can vouch for them – also I used them to prepare for my CFA ESG it was helpful.

        Reply
    • Hi Johri! Can you please share your CFA ESG Badge/Credential?

      As I was going through the comments, I was amazed only to see one provider in the comments.

      Every candidate that passes the exam gets a CFA ESG Badge/Credential that is public/available to everyone to check. The CFA Institute provides these public credentials precisely to avoid fraud, misleading information, fake resumes, and fake reviews.

      Can you please share your CFA ESG Badge Credential?

      Reply
    • i just recently completed the CFA ESG programm. given it is still early days, here my takeaways. i think overall it is worth to pursue the ESG programm. in my humble opinion, its like with many trends, first people laugh at it, then some adapt and afterwards its a standard and some people regret they didnt do it earlier. in order to help you decide, the curriculum is 50% interesting and 50% nice to know (not to say boring). therefore i found a questionbank (i used brainiegroup or brainie) very useful, given it helps to memorize the content and its easier to click just through questions than read the curriculum a few times. i spend roughly 100 hours in total or about 1.5 months. The last 2 weeks i mainly spend using the Q bank and filling the gaps with brainies summary sheet and in the end i felt pretty comfortable to write the exam and gladly i did pass at the first attempt. so overall i strongly recommend working with brainie because i think otherwise i would not have managed to memorize all the content.

      Reply
      • Hi Flo! Can you please share your CFA ESG Badge/Credential?

        As I was going through the comments, I was amazed only to see one provider in the comments.

        Every candidate that passes the exam gets a CFA ESG Badge/Credential that is public/available to everyone to check. The CFA Institute provides these public credentials precisely to avoid fraud, misleading information, fake resumes, and fake reviews.

        Can you please share your CFA ESG Badge Credential?

        Reply
    • Yes Chucxin. It is a computer-based test.
      You have two different options to do your exam:
      1) In a Test Center – Person VUE testing centers – Every Working day
      2) At home/Office – OnVue remote-proctored exams – Monday to Saturday

      2h.20 minutes exam
      100 multiple choice questions
      Type of questions: standard multiple-choice and item sets

      – The Certification includes 1 exam registration ($675) , and the PDF Handbook
      – If you want the hardcopy of the book you need to pay extra $135 (plus shipping)
      – You have 1 year from initial exam registration to sit for the exam
      – Nonrefundable. After 1 year you pay full amount.

      Reply
      • Hi!

        Can I ask you something very silly, maybe I’m wrong but I just did my exam online and the system only showed me 83 out of 100 questions. Some of those questions were divided into further questions, for example, 4: 4.1, 4.2 etc but if you counted all it gives you 110 questions rather than 100. I am confused in the sense that I am not sure if I should have seen 100 questions, or 83 plus the sub-divisions would yield me the 100 questions in total.

        Thanks

        Reply
  16. Hello. If an applicant is successful and passes the CFA ESG certificate test, does he/she receive a certificate from the CFA Institute that shows the acronym “CFA ESG” after their name?

    Reply
  17. Hi Sophie,

    I’m Aleck from Taiwan, cause there is too little info in Taiwan, so I would like to ask whether to pass the certification, is it enough to read the official textbooks, or if I need other supplementary textbooks? Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Aleck, no worries, that’s why we are here to help.

      With ESG certificate, the official textbook is comprehensive and pretty doable, so in my view, official textbooks are sufficient at this stage.

      Best of luck for your studies!

      Reply
    • I just recently completed the CFA ESG programm. I found a questionbank (i used brainiegroup or brainie) very useful, given it helps to memorize the content and its easier to click just through questions than read the curriculum a few times. i spend roughly 100 hours in total or about 1.5 months. The last 2 weeks i mainly spend using the Q bank and filling the gaps with brainies summary sheet and in the end i felt pretty comfortable to write the exam and gladly i did pass at the first attempt. so overall i strongly recommend working with brainie because i think otherwise i would not have managed to memorize all the content.

      Reply
      • Hi Flo! I am not sure if you are the same Flo that commented above. If you are is a bit odd that you come here to comment twice. Or these are two different Flo but used the same provider!

        As I was going through the comments, I was amazed only to see one provider in the comments.

        Anyway, you may have a CFA ESG Badge/Credential.

        This credential is public/available to everyone to check. The CFA Institute provides these public credentials precisely to avoid fraud, misleading information, fake resumes, and fake reviews.

        Can you please share your CFA ESG Badge Credential?

        Reply
  18. hi, I am Jane from China. I want to know if I can take the exam on esg investing in Mainland China 2022. Thanks a lot.

    Reply
    • ESG is not currently available in mainland China, but this might change. At this point in time we don’t have full certainty on 2022, but will update this page when we do!

      Reply
  19. Hi may i know what do you think about the cert in green finance offered by charter bankers vs this cert esg investing?

    Reply
  20. Hi, I used Kaplan to study for the three CFA levels. Are there any external companies offering tuition for the ESG qualification?

    Reply
    • As far as we know, the providers that offer ESG are Fitch Learning, BPP and Quartic Training. More are adding ESG to their range all the time so stay tuned!

      Reply
  21. I failed with an overall weakness of “slight” but in all the sub sections it says “severe”. How is this possible? Doesn’t make sense! The institute doesn’t answer my emails regarding that particular question so I have a hard time believing that my result is correct. Also because I found the exam not all that difficult..

    Reply
  22. Hi Sophie!

    Thanks so much for this analysis. Super helpful. Can you compare the CFA certificate in ESG Investing vs the US SIF Chartered SRI Counselor?

    Reply
      • Thanks! Yes I’m interested in both. I’m looking to get one or the other designation. Getting my feet wet, prior to attempting the CAIA or CIMA.

        Reply
  23. Hey Sophie! Thanks for the information, very helpful!

    I wanted to know that incase someone fails in attempt #1, what is the procedure for another attempt? How much extra payment is required or do we have to register all over again?

    Reply
  24. Does anyone know how much crossover there is between the CFA ESG and GARP SCR?

    If I take the CFA ESG first how many hours extra are likely needed for the SCR?

    Is it likely to be possible to pass the SCR 3 weeks after taking the CFA ESG?

    Reply
    • There’s no hard data on this, but I would guess that overlap is minimal, 20% at most. I personally would not bank on any study synergies when planning your studies. Good luck!

      Reply
  25. Could you also compare CISI/ CBA’s Climate Risk Certificate and Green and Sustainable Finance Certificate? Thanks

    Reply
  26. Hi Sophie!
    Are the article links at the end of the chapters content tested on the exam ?
    And does the exam allow multiple resits or just one try to pass the exam ?
    Thank you very much !
    Carolina

    Reply
    • The end-of-chapter questions are a good representative of exam content, and direct from CFA Institute, so we always encourage people to complete as many as you can!

      You can resit multiple times for the same exam but there is a limit – 6 times, if I remember correctly.

      Reply
      • Hi Zee, hope you are well. just wondering if end-of-chapter questions is suffcient for passing the exam? or if there is any other practice questions you recommend? many thanks

        Reply
      • Hi Zee,

        I’ve got 66% correct answers on the end-of-chapter questions, and also on the Specimen Paper 66%.

        Would you think that mark could translate in passing the actual exam?

        Many thanks in advance

        Reply
  27. Hello,

    Is it possible to know the number of pages (more or less) of the material provided to prepare for the ESG certification?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • There are 574 A4 pages in the v3 pdf.
      25 pages of miscellaneous at the beginning – contents, forewords etc
      9 chapters, each has several pages of sample questions, key points and references etc at the end
      glossary etc at the end off the book

      Reply
  28. Hello Sophie!

    Is there any study plan for the ESG CFA Certification that you would recommend in order to sit the exam around September 1st?

    Thank you =)

    Reply
    • Hi Natalia, we currently don’t have a specific study plan for CFA ESG Certificate, but may plan to add it in the near future.

      It is a shorter course, estimated to be around 130 hours of study time. If you’re just studying now with a full time job, timing may be a little tight.

      Studying based on the curriculum order makes sense at the moment, as it starts with an introduction and gradually goes deeper into each topic. Make sure you spend some time on the highest weighted topic “ESG Analysis, Valuation & Integration”, and make use of the mock paper they provide (as there are not many practice papers going around at this stage).

      Best of luck, hope this helps, do let me know how it goes once you took the exam!

      Reply
  29. Hi,

    Just wanted to check if the online course material (presumably eBooks) which are included in the registration fees can be downloaded as pdfs and printed at our end instead of paying the hard copy additional fees?

    Thanks,
    Sahil D

    Reply
  30. Hello,
    if i register today for the esg certificate, do i already have access to the v3 training material or do i need to wait until october 1st?
    thx, Andy

    Reply
  31. Hi!

    I have a doubt regarding the sheduling process.

    For example, if I register for the exam in September, I could take the exam on November, December or January, for example?

    Whatever the month I want in one year period from the registration date?

    Thank you so much!

    Reply
  32. Hi,

    How much does the syllabus vary year on year? If you were to register and learn the current syllabus, would you receive the following syllabus and theoretically take the exam towards the end of the year? Or would you need to take the exam before the next syllabus is released?

    Thanks,

    Tom

    Reply
    • Hi Tom, the certificate is relatively new and launched in 2019, so we don’t have many datapoints, but I’d imagine it varies from year to year depending on how fast the ESG practices changes practically.

      The syllabus is updated 1st October annually, and we are currently on v2 syllabus. In fact, CFA UK helpfully published the differences from V2 (valid up to 30th Sep 2021) to V3 syllabus (valid from 1st Oct 2021) here – from a quick scan changes look light to moderate.

      You should be taking the exam based on the syllabus it is based on. So if you want to take the exam on or after 1st Oct 2021, you should study v3 syllabus. You can find out more about the ESG syllabus here.

      Hope this helps!
      .

      Reply
  33. Hey besides the course material provided by Cfa, is there any reference material especially in terms of mock tests that may help? Q

    Reply
  34. Hi All, I have register for Cfa esg 2020 exam. Going through the material( covered 6 chapters till now), I haven’t come across a quantitative/numerical question yet. However, one of the candidates who appeared for the exam suggested that roughly 25% questions were quantitative. Can someone please give an example/ share topics of such questions

    Reply
  35. Hi Sophie,

    Good Evening. I am a Reinsurance Underwriter and considering doing a certification on ESG. I am based in Dubai and I had 2 questions which were
    – A confusion prevails between whether my job as an Underwriter would benefit from an ESG vs SCR qualification.
    – Whether I can do the ESG certification exams in Dubai?

    Reply
    • Hi Rajeev, this is a tough question, although it really depends on your career goals.

      1) As you probably read from the article, ESG is a broader certification focusing on investing with ESG considerations, whilst SCR focuses on climate risk. With your job, and assuming you want to further this career path, initial thoughts may be that SCR is more suitable as you’re analyzing risk on a daily basis. However, what works best is actually looking through the syllabus of both qualification to compare, and more importantly, speaking to your manager and companies to see which is valued better from a career progress perspective.

      2) Yes, Certificate in ESG Investing is available in Dubai via remote testing.

      Reply
    • Unfortunately, for technical reasons, online proctoring option for Certificate in ESG Investing is not available in South Korea (as well as China, Cuba, Iran, Japan, North Korea and Sudan).

      For in-person testing, CFA Institute is forming partnerships with local CFA societies globally to enable local testing to take place. It may be worth contacting CFA Society Korea to check if this partnership is being formed soon, so you can take the exams locally, in-person.

      Reply
  36. Hello,
    1- Is it possible to fully attend the online course and take the exams remotely? I will be connecting from Italy/Switzerland
    2- Is it possible to register and start at any time?
    3- Are we talking about recorded material to be enjoyed at any time or are they live lessons?
    4- Are there any professional requirements to join the course?

    Many thanks

    Best regards
    Luca

    Reply
    • Hi Luca!
      1) Yes you can take the exams remotely from Italy/Switzerland. It is a self-study course with ebooks.
      2) Yes, you can register and start anytime. But you must take your exam within 1 year from registration, and be mindful that their syllabus changes on 1st October annually, so if you register now, do plan to take the exam BEFORE 1st October, or else you’ll be tested on the new syllabus.
      3) It’s just ebooks (included in registration fee). You can also purchase physical copies of the books for an additional cost.
      4) No, there is no requirements.

      Hope this helps 🙂

      Reply
      • Hi Sophie,

        When I registered recently I hadn’t realised the course was going to be updated in Octobter and I don’t know if I’ll be able to complete the course before then. Do you know if I attempt the exam before October can I then repeat it later in the year using the new curriculum?

        Reply
        • Hi Aoife, yes the exam is tested on the syllabus it is valid for.

          So if you took the exam before 30 Sep, it would be the current syllabus. And if you need to reattempt it later, it would be based on the new syllabus.

          Reply
  37. Hi,
    Are there possibilities for sponsorship to do the online course for international applicants, ie east africa.

    Reply
    • Hi Dave, do you mean if there are scholarships for the Certificate in ESG investing? There are currently none as we are aware of. However this certificate can be done and tested remotely in East Africa.

      Reply
  38. I am a lawyer with environmental and governance expertise. Can I obtain a CFA certificate in ESG investing if I do not have finance experience?

    Reply
    • Hi Leslie, although the Certificate in ESG is designed for practitioners working in investment roles who want to learn how to analyze and integrate material ESG factors into their day-to-day roles, it is also suitable for anyone looking to improve their ESG understanding. Finance experience isn’t a pre-requisite.

      Reply
    • Hello, while finance expertise is not required, chapters 7, 8 focus heavily on these some finance jargon. things like SAA, MVO for portfolio optimisation. Fixed income concepts and so on. So you may have to brush up on these (I find a lot of similarities esp. on the finance side having a common ground with some concepts covered in CFA L1). So a bit of groundwork is required if you are not from the finance side.

      Reply
  39. Hello

    Please I live in Nigeria. Can i have access to the ESG Certificate exams here?

    Regards.

    Reply
  40. Hi, I am looking at ESG certificates and need some help around here.
    According to FAQ of OnVUE tests, pearson VUE does not deliver OP exams in South Korea. I am currently based in South Korea. Is there any possibility of me taking the exam? 🙁 Thanks for your help in advace!

    Reply
    • Hi Hyungeun, unfortunately you are right, where Pearson Vue doesn’t provide online proctored exams in South Korea. Nor does CFA UK have a partnership with CFA South Korea Society that would allow you to sit this test in person.

      May be worth reaching out to CFA UK directly to see if they have plans for South Korean partnership soon?

      Reply
  41. Hi, I am looking at Certificate in ESG Investing by CFA UK and the SCR certificate by GARP. The beginner’s guidance mentioned “On the other hand, Sustainability & Climate Risk (SCR) certificate mainly focuses on educating risk professionals on how to manage the main environmental risk (arguably just the “E” part of ESG), i.e. climate change.”

    Questions: 1) Does anyone know if the “S” and “G” components are completely missed in SCR certificate or just take a small weighting? 2) I am based in Australia, can I take the exam here? Also, can anyone please help with the relationship between CFA UK and CFA – as I am new to CFA community? Thanks very much.

    Kind regards

    Reply
    • Hi Tanya, lots of questions! Let me go through them in order:

      1) If you glance through the SCR curriculum, it mainly focuses on the environmental aspect, with the social and governance aspects covered in the ESG framework overview sections, i.e. a small weighting.

      2) Yes you can take the exam in Australia, just check out the latest Pearson VUE test sites locally.

      3) CFA Society of the UK (CFA UK) is a member society of the CFA Institute. CFA Institute governs activities related to the CFA Program exam worldwide, while the CFA society is country-based. So for non-CFA stuff, CFA UK is independent from CFA Institute whereby they have other qualifications such as Certificate in ESG Investing and IMC which are no affiliated to CFA Institute at all.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  42. Hi Sophie Thanks for putting this together. Some questions in the CFA UK ESG course… Have you by chance taken the exam? It seems from the study material, there is a lot of detail and procedural stuff. Is the exam a test of one’ rote learning / memorising capability? Has anyone here given the exam and if so what are one’s chances of passing with resign broad strokes, key points and self assessment questions at the end of the chapters + the mock exam paper uploaded on their website? I’m surprised on the lack of conceptual testing and case study based work? I just can not deal with this acronym heavy syllabus. Help!

    Reply
    • Hi I feel the same with the CFA ESG investing syllabus, there is a lot of details, acronyms, history. For those who passed the exam, please what can you advice for a more efficient preparation, reading only ket facts and doing mock exams ? Actually am going through the syllabus and I feel that that is long and not efficient enough.
      And I don(t want to pay for quartic or Fitch additional resources or should I ?..
      Thank you for your help!

      Reply
  43. Do you know if there is a more condensed study guide available to buy, aside from the copy of the syllabus that is included in the registration fee? Like the CFA books, it is rather dense and a shortened version would be most helpful.

    Reply
    • Hi James, that’s a good question. Upon passing the CFA UK’s Certificate in ESG Investing, you are eligible to get the relevant ESG digital badge. However, achievement of the qualification does not confer any designatory letters and, therefore, ESG as a designation should not appear after your name in email signatures. Successful candidates should state clearly that they have achieved the CFA UK Level 4 Certificate in ESG Investing (or CFA UK Certificate in ESG Investing). You can share your badge on social media, LinkedIN or embedded in your email signature or digital CV. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  44. Hi, I am an Operations Analyst at a Lender (for Development Finance) in London and I would like to know whether this would be a suitable qualification for me if I want to learn how to implement ESG through my business. The CFA website said it is suitable for Operations and Risk professionals, but I don’t know how true this would be? I work with the Investment Managers but I do not take part in the investment process, I oversee the policies, procedures, quality assurance, etc. Do you think this would work for me? If not, what would you recommend for ESG in financial services business? Many thanks, Selena S

    Reply
    • Hi Selena, I think ESG affects all parts of the finance industry, whether or not you directly or indirectly take part in the investment process. As to what would be useful for your career in Operations, I think it really depends on what you’re currently doing, what your employer values and what career path you would like to target. While CFA UK’s Certificate in ESG is broader in scope, GARP’s SCR qualification is focused on climate change risk specifically (i.e. the “E” part of ESG only). Both are useful for a career in financial services but SCR is more risk-focused whilst ESG is broader. I think it is really worth having a conversation with your employer to see what would add value to your current role, by looking and comparing the syllabus of both qualification before deciding. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  45. Good afternoon Sophie, This was really helpful for me in the run up to my exam last week (passed thankfully). So good to have this information concisely delivered in one place. You mention the IMC and ESG combine to make a diploma but I cannot see any references to that on the CFA UK website. Would you be able to point me in the right direction? Kind regards, Tom

    Reply
    • Hi Renuka, as long as you’re a female (I presume you are!) and meet one of the following CFA enrollment requirement: – have a bachelors degree (or equivalent), OR – be a final year uni student when taking Level 1, but must complete your degree before registering for Level 2, OR – Have a combination of four years (or 48 months) of full-time work experience and/or college/university education on the date of registering for the Level I exam. The work and education experiences cannot be overlapping. Assuming you’re a new L1 candidate (or have not registered), do you have a Bachelor’s degree, or a combination of 4 years of non-overlapping work and education experience? You mentioned you work 2 years in ESG, but what did you do before and after that 2 years of ESG work? I don’t have sufficient info currently to determine if you meet the requirements. Let me know and I’ll help advise.

      Reply
      • I have a Masters degree in Environmental Studies and Resource Management (completed in 2018). Post my masters I have worked for NGOs focused on Rural Development & Women Empowerment, Environmental awareness and advocacy and in corporate sector for ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) research. In total I have 4.2 years of work experience.hope that helps you out for guiding me.

        Reply
        • Hi Renuka, yes you definitely meet the enrollment requirements for CFA: you already have a Masters degree (higher than Bachelors) as well as your non-overlapping work experience plus university education exceeds 4 years. Good luck for the scholarship application and CFA exams!

          Reply
  46. Sophie, thank you very much for your answer! and also for the comparison on the side of the to “ESG” Certifications – from Garp and CFA.I more incline now to the one from CFA. I have already the FRM designation and work now as Internal auditor at an Insurance company. Which of the two would you recommend for me? Thanks.

    Reply
  47. Hi, I am interested in the Certificate of ESG Investing and I have 3 questions: 1/ if I good understand from Austria I can only do the online examination from home or office ? (expect to do the exam in year 2021) 2/ the exam can be online done “any time” or are there any slots? 3/ I wanted to wait for the study material an see how study is going and register later. Is it possible or do I need do register for the exam shortly after registration? thank you very much!

    Reply
    • Hi Kathy, to answer your questions: 1) yes you can do the exam from your home or office, with online proctoring. You’ll need to check your system meets the requirement for online proctoring first at https://home.pearsonvue.com/cfauk/onvue 2) There are slots: OnVUE online proctored exams are offered Monday to Saturday, 24 hours a day, subject to availability. 3) Yes, you can register and purchase the study materials first. When you are finished studying, then you need to check your system requirements for online proctoring, before booking a relevant date and time for your online proctored exam. Registration for the ESG course and the booking of exam slot itself are separate. Hope this clarifies!

      Reply
  48. Hi, I’m looking at ESG certificates and apart from the CFA ESG I also found the CESGA which seems interesting. Any idea on the differences/advantages between these certificates? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hey Vincent, that’s a good question. I think it depends on where you’re based, what is more well known / recognized by employers as well as budget. CESGA seems more comprehensive, Europe-centric and at a higher education level (Diploma, i.e. Level 5 equivalent benchmark by UK NARIC), and therefore more expensive at EUR1,500 for the course/exam. On the other hand, Certificate for ESG is cheaper at GBP470 and a level below Diploma (i.e. 1st year Bachelors equivalent, Level 4 benchmark by UK NARIC). I think it largely depends on which qualification is better appreciated by your employer and cost. I hope this helps. What do you do for a job currently and where are you based? What certification are you leaning towards at the moment?

      Reply
      • Thank you Sophie. I’m in portfolio management based in Singapore and I’m already CFA charterholder. I was leaning more towards the CESGA but considering the large difference in cost I may pursue the CFA one.

        Reply
        • Sounds like a good plan Vincent – let us know how it goes and would be good to hear your personal feedback about Certificate in ESG Investing once you’ve completed the course – just shoot us an email 🙂

          Reply
          • is there any website or details to show :ESGA seems more comprehensive, (Diploma, i.e. Level 5 equivalent benchmark by UK NARIC i tried looking for similar details(level 5) on effas website but not be shown anywhere

          • Hi Kal, my comment was based on CESGA being advertised as Diploma level, but this is not officially compared by UK NARIC per se. However, Certificate in ESG Investing by CFA UK is officially rated as Level 4 under UK NARIC (1st year Bachelor’s equivalent), and under that same scale Level 5 is a ‘Diploma equivalent’, hence that broad reference that CESGA is probably equivalent to Level 5 if officially rated by UK NARIC. Hope this clarifies.

          • agreed thanks Sophie, i have know both candidates who too CFA ESG and EFFAS honestly there is mor ebent forEFFAS compared to CFA one’s qualitiy wise esp, i am bent on EFFAS too spoke to several candidates int his space quite +ve actuallly

      • Hi Sophie,

        Any chance you have access to any CESGA mock exams? It would be really helpful if I could have an idea of the type of questions presented in the exam.

        Thanks!

        Reply

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