Certificate in Sustainable Finance


WEEK 1: Jan 17th – Jan 20th 2022

Session 1:     Implications of Sustainability for Financial Markets, Dr Peter Mathis (Week 1 Day 1 9:00-12.30)

  • Why should companies care about sustainability?
  • The role of politics, regulators and the legal system.
  • Central Banks and Sustainable Finance.
  • The role of finance. Why is there even a need for “sustainable finance”? What makes finance special in this context?
  • Shareholder versus stakeholder orientation. Why should managers internalize externalities to the environment in their decision making? If not, how could taxes and/or regulation help in this context.
  • Define E, S and G and to discuss the main challenges for each of those dimensions. (Focus on climate-related aspects of sustainability).
  • Green Bonds: Financing by Governments and Large Companies.
  • Responsible lending by Banks.
  • Microfinance and Sustainability.

Session 2:     Financing Investments and Financial Instruments, Dr Peter Mathis (Week 1 Day 1 13.30-15.00)

  • Fundamentals of Corporate Finance and Financial Markets: A refresher
  • Financial Instruments: Equity and Debt
  • Financial instruments from a contract theoretic perspective: How do different financial instruments affect incentives of management?

Session 3:     “Climate, Energy, and Finance: how late are we?”, Thomas Gibon (Week 1 Day 1 15:00-17:00)

  • Participants will receive a compact overview of the challenges we all face and why immediate action is needed.

Session 4:     Corporate Reporting of ESG-related information, Prof. Alexander Bassen, Prof. Kerstin Lopatta (Week 1 Day 2)

  • Participants will learn the major requirements of corporate reporting in relation to ESG-dimensions under different accounting regimes.
  • Standardization, disclosure and measurement problems of ESG dimensions.
  • EU Initiative on ESG disclosure – a critical analysis.
  • Different initiatives at international level for a harmonization of non-financial data.
  • Case study on ESG reporting.

Session 5:     Integrating Sustainability into Asset Management, Prof. Michael Halling (Week 1 Day 3 and 4)

  • Participants will study the main techniques to incorporate ESG in investment strategies covering simple screening approaches as well as active engagement strategies.
  • Traditional portfolio construction concepts as well as the risk-return tradeoff will be briefly reviewed.
  • Implications of sustainable investment strategies for expected returns as well as risk profiles of ESG-portfolios will be reviewed, critically assessed and evaluated within a consistent and comprehensive economic framework.
  • In addition to equity markets, ESG-implications for other asset markets, in particular, corporate bond markets will also be presented.
  • The lecturing will be complemented by case studies that provide specific, real-world situations and ask students to use the concepts discussed in class to solve the problems described in the case studies.


WEEK 2: Jan 31st – Feb 3rd 2022

Session 6:     ESG-related Risk Management, Prof. Michael Halling (Week 2 Day 1)

  • By the end of that day, participants will have an overview of sustainability-related risks (their identification, measurement, management and frameworks).
  • Detailed discussion of climate-related risks including physical as well as transitional risks.
  • Brief discussion of scenarios frequently used in ESG-related risk management.
  • Overview of quantitative methodologies to measure ESG-related risks including climate Value-at-Risk and climate-adjusted estimates of probabilities of defaults.
  • Financial instruments that can be used to hedge against ESG-related risks.

Session 7:     Regulation and Legislation related to Sustainable Finance, Prof. Dirk Zetzsche, Dr Marco Bodellini (Week 2 Day 2)

  • Participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of the Sustainable Finance Regulatory Horizon and the main obligations for financial market participants.
  • European Commission action plan on financing sustainable growth and the EU Green Deal.
  • Regulation 2020/852 on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment (“Taxonomy regulation”).
  • Regulation 2019/2088 on sustainability-related disclosures in the financial sector (the “SFDR”).
  • Regulation 2019/2089 on low carbon and positive carbon impact benchmarks.
  • Amendments to UCITS, AIFMD, MiFID II, Solvency II, IDD directives.
  • Modifications to the Non-Financial Reporting Directive.

Session 8:     Disclosure of ESG-related information for financial products, monitoring of ESG information and reporting of ESG Data as well as ESG-related risks, Jane Wilkinson (Week 2 Day 3)

  • Participants will learn the major disclosure requirements at the level of financial products as well as for investment managers and financial advisors.
  • Study the expectations of the regulator, with regard to embedding and documenting ESG-related information as well as ESG-related risks, at manager and product level, considering regulatory developments in UCITS, AIFMD, MiFID II and IDD.
  • Standardization, disclosure and measurement problems of ESG investments.
  • Nature, availability, reliability, consistency of data on investee companies and assets: listed securities, unlisted securities and other assets.
  • Self-reported data versus data vendors/ data feeds.
  • EU standards, labels and certification of financial products including requirements of EU Green Bond Standards, EU Ecolabel and other labelling schemes.
  • Initiatives to regulate providers of ESG data and ESG research, ESAP (European Single Access Point).

Session 9:     Trends in the industry and in Luxembourg, Prof. Hakan Lucius, (Week 2 Day 4 9:00 to 12:30)

This session will feature a series of short guest lectures on current and upcoming topics in sustainable finance, possible followed by a panel discussion on next important steps and important challenges.

  • Overarching trends: What is driving the need for sustainability?
  • Are we revising shareholder value maximization? From shareholder to stakeholder value.
  • How are we tackling the societal challenge:  Can we manage what we do not measure?
  • Does ESG outperform in the long term?
  • How to best internalize externalities?
  • Natural capital and biodiversity.
  • Regulatory outlook.
  • The next level: from ESG to ....
  • Wrap up.

Session 10:      Exam (Week 2 Day 4 13:30 to 15:30)

Session 11:      Get together and Round-up (Week 2 Day 4 15:30 to 17:00)

Assessment and Grading

The certificate in sustainable finance will be graded on a pass/fail scale. There will be a final exam on the last day of the second week. In addition to the final exam, active participation in class will also contribute to a successful completion of the certificate.