Introducing GARP’s SCR Certification: A Handy Guide

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One of the key lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic so far is that we must react swiftly to high probability, high impact risks — and delays are costly.

The climate is changing. And the risks from climate change are only going to rise over the foreseeable future.  As climate risk management continues to develop towards being a discrete job title, managing climate risks will be an integral component of a holistic risk management approach for all industries globally.

Here’s where GARP’s new Sustainability & Climate Risk (SCR) certification comes in – check out our comprehensive guide to learn more!

Overview of the Sustainability & Climate Risk (SCR) Certification

SCR certification sustainability and climate risk certificate

Launched in January 2020 by Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) – which also runs the FRM program – SCR is a global climate risk management program designed to help professionals understand the effect of climate change on organizations and how to manage that risk. It is created in response to growing demand for financial and non-financial firms alike to incorporate sustainability standards in their operations, primarily driven by climate change.

The SCR course is great for professionals who are looking to add climate risk management to their skillsets – not just for those working in finance but also in other disciplines such as supply chain management, operations and technology. And it isn’t just for those professionals early in their career either, GARP expects to see meaningful demand for the SCR coming from the more senior ranks as well.

The course consists of 6 modules, covering policy and regulation; green and sustainable finance; the science, effects and measurement of climate-related risks; scenario analysis; and emerging issues such as health effects and geopolitical impacts.

With registration opened on 1st May 2020 for the first SCR exam in September, GARP reported that there are already candidates from more than 60 countries globally, coming from a myriad of industries, company types and stages of career – all reflecting the relevance of climate change risks across geographies, industries and career level.

SCR Certificate In A Nutshell

SCR Sustainability & Climate Risk Certificate In A Nutshell

The SCR certification is designed to equip professionals with the understanding on how to manage the potential economic and operational impacts of a changing climate on their organizations. The impact of climate change is vast, and certainly not limited to just finance, but other disciplines such as supply chain management, technology and operations. 

The SCR exam consists of a one-part, computer-based testing exam consisting of 80 questions in 3 hours. The exam is not highly quantitative and designed to be accessible to a wide audience.

In terms of study hours, it is recommended that SCR exam candidates devote around 100-130 study hours in total to complete the qualification

The SCR exam can be taken in specific 2-week windows at Pearson Vue test centers internationally.

In terms of pass criteria, the questions are equally weighted and there are no negative markings for incorrect answers. There are no pre-determined pass/fail rates for the SCR Exams, with the passing score determined by SCR Advisory Committee.

As it is a new qualification with its first exam conducted in September 2020, there are no specific timelines on when or how long it takes for exam results to be released, but we expect it to be similar to FRM‘s 6 weeks timing, since it is also administered by GARP.

Pass Rates & Pass Marks

Registration has just opened in May 2020 for the new SCR certificate, with the first exam window in September 2020.

While there are no pass rates data as yet, GARP has confirmed that cut-off scores will be determined through an industry best-practice methodology under the oversight of the SCR Advisory Committee. The expectation is that “properly prepared” candidates should fare well on the exam.​

That said, the SCR exam is not highly quantitative, as it is designed to be accessible to a wide audience.

Topic Areas & Weightings

Introducing GARP's SCR Certification: A Handy Guide 1

The Sustainability & Climate Risk Certificate does a great job in covering a breadth of topics in 6 modules that provides a holistic overview of the effective assessment and management of climate risks.​

​The topics areas, in-depth description and exam weights are as below:

Sustainability & Climate Risk Certificate TopicsDescriptionTopic Weights
​Foundations of Climate Change: Science and Global ResponseThis chapter focuses on the
foundational concepts of climate change, including the underlying science and global responses.
​Policy, Regulations, and ImplicationsThe chapter is all about the responses of financial institutions, regulators, and international bodies to emerging climate risks.20%
​Green and Sustainable Finance: Instruments and MarketsThis module looks into the emergence of financial sector tools and markets born out of the global response to climate change.15%
Climate Risk Measurement and ManagementThe area of focus here is the risks from climate change and how do we measure and manage these risks.​20%
Climate Scenario AnalysisThe chapter explains the development and application of climate scenario analysis, the types of scenarios that exist, and what information they can provide.15%
​Current Issues in Sustainability and Climate RiskThis module shares the latest issues that are increasingly becoming part of the sustainability and climate risk landscape. 10%

Exam Fees

SCR exam fees vary depending on:

  • your membership status with Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP);
  • whether you have other GARP certifications such as Financial Risk Manager (FRM) or Energy Risk Professional (ERP);
  • whether you’re a new or returning candidate. 
Fees, US$SCR Certificate
Exam FeesFor non-GARP members: $650 for Early registration, $750 for Standard registration
For GARP members (Individual member): $550 for Early registration, $650 for Standard registration. Bear in mind that Individual membership costs $195 per year
For candidates who are Certified FRM / ERP: $525 for Early registration, $625 for Standard registration
Retake Fees
​(if applicable)
​For retakes within next 2 exam windows (12 months): $350

Otherwise, full exam fee applies for retakes after 12 months. If the curriculum changes before the candidate retakes the SCR exam, an updated electronic version of the curriculum will be made available to the candidate free of charge.

SCR Exam Dates

SCR exams are conducted via an in-person computer-based testing (CBT) exam at Pearson Vue centers globally.

SCR exams are held twice a year in April and October with the following key registration deadlines:

SCR Exam Dates and DeadlinesApril 2021October 2021
Registration opens1 Dec 20201 May 2021
Early registration deadline31 Jan 202130 Jun 2021 (TBC)
Standard registration deadline31 Mar 202131 Aug 2021 (TBC)
Exam Window17-25 Apr 202123-31 Oct 2021

Once registered, you can schedule an in-person CBT Exam at a Pearson VUE test center. SCR candidates must schedule an exam at least 48 hours prior to their desired exam start time, only for the exam window they’re registered for. The in-person CBT exams slots are on a first-come, first-served basis. Candidates who do not schedule an exam by the deadline must re-register and pay the applicable fees.

What Are the Requirements for SCR Certification?

Just like the Certificate in ESG Investing, there are no work experience or prior qualifications required to sit for the SCR exam. 

Candidates who successfully pass the SCR exam can claim a digital badge and an electronic certificate from GARP.

Benefits of the SCR Certification

Having the SCR Certificate could be a key differentiator in the risk management sector, which could be helpful if you’re job hunting during this COVID-19 pandemic

Similar to the Certificate in ESG Investing in terms of cost and time required, it does seem to be a cost effective investment for risk professionals to upgrade their skillset with climate risk management credentials.

By completing and earning the Sustainability & Climate Risk Certificate, you can expect to:

  • Apply principles of sustainability and climate risk management in current and future roles;
  • Improve your career prospects and increase your competitive advantage;
  • Demonstrate the knowledge and tools necessary to assess and manage the sustainability and climate risk challenges many industries face.
  • Gain a globally recognized qualification (and digital badge) from GARP
  • ​Pave your way for further finance designation such as FRMCFA, or CAIA as you further specialize.

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

Introducing GARP's SCR Certification: A Handy Guide 2

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

  • Sustainability & Climate Risk (SCR) certificate mainly focuses on educating professionals on how to manage the main environmental risk (arguably just the “E” part of ESG), i.e. climate change.
  • On the other hand, 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. That said, it also covers a section on climate change (including climate mitigation, and adaptation and resilience) and a range of climate change initiatives. 

​Both SCR and ESG Investing Certificate (via remote/online proctoring) are available globally. CFA UK is actively expanding the reach of its ESG Investing qualification to other countries around the world, so it is likely a matter of time that it is available worldwide as well for in-person exams.

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.

GARP’s Sustainability & Climate Risk (SCR)CFA UK’s ESG Investing
Suitable forRisk 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.​Students who are keen on an investment career; orInvestment 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
Pre-exam qualifications​None​None, although some insights in the investment process is strongly recommended (via formal qualification or experience)
Number of Exams1​1
​Exam Frequency2 exam cycles a year (Apr, Oct) with 1 week exam window eachAvailable to book throughout the year (except weekends and holidays)

Also available to book for remote/online proctoring globally throughout the year.

Maximum 4 attempts in 4 months​​
​Exam Format80 multiple-choice questions in 3 hours

In-person computer-based testing only
100 multiple-choice and item set questions in 2 hours and 20 minutes

On-site computer-based testing and remote testing
Pass RatesData not available yet as first SCR exams start on Sep 2020Between 60%-75%​
​Fees and CostsAround US$ 525-650 depending on GARP membership status or presence of other credentialsGBP £470 (around US$ 570)​
Study Hours Needed100-130 hours130 hours
​Post Exam RequirementsNone, although there are 20 hours of voluntary continuous professional development (CPD) every 2 yearsNone

Overall, the SCR certificate seems to be a cost efficient means of augmenting and signalling your climate risk management knowledge in an increasingly competitive marketplace. 

If you are in risk management, regardless of industry or discipline (finance, supply chain, operations, technology etc), the SCR certificate could prove useful in broadening your skillset as climate change issues are brought to the forefront of every company’s agenda. If you’re a student keen to start a career in risk management of any industry, the SCR certificate can be a valuable differentiator. 

Is the SCR Certificate something you’d consider taking on to enhance your job prospects? Let us know in the comments below!

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


7 thoughts on “Introducing GARP’s SCR Certification: A Handy Guide”

  1. on webpage ‘GARP’s Sustainability and Climate Risk (SCR) Certificate: A Beginner’s Guide’ while doing comparison between SCR and ESG its stated : ‘Overall, the SCR certificate seems to be a cost efficient means of augmenting and signalling your climate risk management knowledge in an increasingly competitive marketplace.’ however, while doing same comparison, on webpage ‘CFA UK Certificate In ESG Investing: A Beginner’s Guide’ for same comparison, it states : ‘Overall, the Certificate in ESG Investing seems to be a cost efficient means to signal your green finance credentials in this increasingly competitive marketplace.’ can we have real winner here please.

    • Hi Anand, when I wrote this article, I do mean what I say in those statements. It really depends what you’re going for and nature of work: Certificate in ESG is much broader in scope, whilst SCR is focused deeper on the “E” part of ESG only. I would say if you are working in risk management, SCR is probably more helpful given the current climate focus. If you are involved in investment decision making, Certificate in ESG is probably more applicable as you need to consider all aspects of ESG for that, not just climate risk. A recent article we wrote on asset management outlook globally would be an interesting read as well ( as ESG is part of that trend. Both qualifications are cost effective in my view, and are quite new certifications launched in the last year. Hope this helps!

  2. Hi K, you raise a good point. Other than the 10 questions provided by GARP SCR’s program as practice questions, there isn’t much of a SCR question bank or mock exam product (yet). However, my understanding is that the material is quite qualitative, and the exam is a fair representation of the reading material. Hope this helps.

  3. Dear Moderator, It is much better to have the early adaptation program, just like other famous institute such as ISACA (done for CPDSE), for ERM partitions, crisis/risk managers, and holders of related qualifications of sustainability, without taking SCR examination. This would further speed up the useability of this certificate for advocate sustainability risk management and implementation for contributing to the society. Best regards, Dr Danny Ha Chairman Academy of Professional Certification Affiliate member GARP, Certified ISO member of ISO 31000 Holder of Cambridge University CISL Sustainability Certificate Holder of ERM professional certification and CRP (Certified Risk Planner)


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