Which is the Best ESG Certificate? Our Ultimative Guide

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the future of finance in the context of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) certifications. With the increasing focus on sustainable investing and ethical business practices, ESG considerations are no longer a side note in the financial sector; they're a headline. As the ESG landscape becomes more multifaceted, credentials such as the CFA ESG Certificate, GARP's SCR, and EFFAS' CESGA are playing pivotal roles in shaping professionals who are not just financially savvy, but also ethically aware.

Which is the Best ESG Certificate? Our Ultimative Guide

The CFA Institute is not the only organization that recognizes the significance of ESG considerations in finance. Other organizations, like the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP), offer credentials such as the SCR (Sustainability and Climate Risk) certificate. Similarly, the EFFAS (European Federation of Financial Analysts Societies) provides the CESGA (Certified ESG Analyst) certificate.

CFA ESG Certificate

The CFA ESG Certificate is a specialization within the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credential that focuses on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) analysis and investment strategies. Administered by the CFA Institute, this certificate is designed to equip investment professionals with the expertise needed to navigate the increasingly complex world of ESG investing. By gaining this certificate, you can deepen your knowledge in areas such as ESG risk assessment, sustainability reporting, and ethical investment practices. It serves as a powerful complement to a traditional CFA credential, adding another dimension to your skill set that is highly valued in today's finance landscape.

GARP's SCR Certificate

The SCR certificate from GARP focuses on sustainability and climate risk, providing risk professionals with the knowledge they need to understand, model, and manage these risks. The SCR covers a broad range of topics, including the implications of climate change for financial risk management. It’s an excellent supplement to a CFA certification, and many platforms, including Brainier, are adding GARP SCR study materials to their offerings.


The Certified ESG Analyst (CESGA) credential is administered by EFFAS and concentrates on ESG data, its reliability, and how to integrate this data into investment decisions. This certificate is an international qualification for investment professionals in the field of ESG analysis. CESGA complements CFA certification, offering an additional layer of expertise that may make you more marketable in the ESG-focused finance landscape.

Here is our video where we share our views on the GARP SCR, CFA ESG and CESGA exam: 

Study Time and Preparation Hours for Each Exam


The CFA ESG specialization is relatively new and builds upon the existing CFA levels. The ESG specialization might require 100-150 hours to master the ESG-specific material, depending on your background in sustainability and governance topics.

  • Study Time: Approximately 100-150 hours for the ESG specialization
  • Preparation Timeframe: Ideally, 6-9 months before the exam


The GARP SCR certificate has a more focused curriculum than the CFA but is dense in terms of the topics it covers, from climate science to regulatory guidelines. As such, the recommended study time is around 130-150 hours.

  • Study Time: Approximately 130-150 hours
  • Preparation Timeframe: Suggested 3-4 months before the exam


The CESGA certification, offered by EFFAS, is more specialized and tailored towards professionals already in the field of investment analysis or related roles. Because it’s designed to integrate with the knowledge these professionals already have, the recommended study time is around 100-130 hours.

  • Study Time: Approximately 100-130 hours
  • Preparation Timeframe: Recommended 3-4 months before the exam

Comparative Analysis of Exams

When comparing the three certifications, it's clear that the CFA ESG requires the most significant time investment. This is understandable given that the CFA exam itself is a broad-based financial exam that then adds an ESG layer. On the flip side, the SCR and CESGA are more specialized but somewhat similar in terms of preparation time, falling in the range of 100-150 hours.

Why Choose One Over the Other?

The choice between these certifications should align with your career goals. If you aim for a comprehensive understanding of finance with an ESG specialization, the CFA ESG would be your go-to. On the other hand, if your focus is strictly on risk assessment concerning sustainability and climate, the SCR is a more targeted choice. CESGA would be suitable for those who want to specialize in ESG data analysis within the scope of financial analysis.

Why Multiple Certifications are Beneficial

Having multiple credentials, such as CFA, SCR, and CESGA, positions you as a well-rounded finance professional with a deep understanding of ESG factors. This combination prepares you for a variety of roles, including risk management, investment analysis, and corporate governance related to ESG initiatives. Platforms like Kaplan Schweser and Brainier offer specialized study materials, including Kaplan Schweser login for SCR-299 related materials, that cater to multiple certifications.

ESG in the Corporate World

In the long term, companies that prioritize ESG factors are not just doing good; they're also doing well in terms of financial performance. Corporations worldwide are including ESG metrics in their reports to attract socially conscious investors. A CFA certificate that specializes in ESG is like a golden ticket to organizations focused on sustainable investment options. This is why ESG certification has grown in demand.

Why ESG Expertise is Crucial for Your Career and the Corporate World

In today's business landscape, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) expertise is not just a value-add; it's fast becoming a necessity. As corporations face mounting pressure from stakeholders to be transparent about their ESG practices, professionals equipped with ESG certifications are becoming indispensable assets.

A Competitive Edge in the Job Market

By gaining a credential such as the CFA ESG Certificate, you set yourself apart in the highly competitive field of finance and investment analysis. Employers are no longer just asking for traditional skills; they are actively seeking professionals who have a nuanced understanding of ESG factors. Whether you are targeting long-term investment analysis roles or eyeing positions directly connected to sustainability, possessing ESG knowledge gives you a competitive edge. Certifications like GARP's SCR and EFFAS's CESGA further diversify your skill set, making you an attractive hire for forward-thinking companies.

The Corporate Imperative for ESG Awareness

Corporations themselves have much to gain from enhancing their ESG awareness. With the increasing frequency of climate-related disasters and social movements advocating for change, ESG considerations are becoming cornerstones of business strategies. Companies that prioritize ESG not only stand to boost their social responsibility quotient but are also more likely to attract and retain top talent committed to sustainable practices. In the long term, a robust ESG strategy contributes to sustainable growth, reduced regulatory risks, and enhanced investor relations. Thus, having ESG-aware employees can be a competitive advantage for corporations.

The Future of ESG Expertise

The trends suggest that ESG is here to stay. Given its integration into mainstream investment analysis, governance policies, and social responsibility charters, ESG expertise will only grow in relevance. As corporations seek to align their business practices with global sustainability goals, the demand for ESG-competent professionals is set to rise exponentially. Specialized study materials, such as Brainie's CFA level 2 notes for 2023 and CFA mock exams, equip you with the essential knowledge and skills to be at the forefront of this transformation.

Incorporating ESG into Corporate Strategy

More corporations are integrating ESG factors into their core business strategies. They are not only investing in sustainable technologies but are also focusing on governance models that incorporate diversity and inclusion. The importance of social responsibility has also been magnified, with corporations taking a more active role in their communities.

Role of Financial Analysts in Promoting Corporate ESG

Financial analysts with an understanding of ESG are increasingly sought after to fill crucial roles in corporations. They assist executives in decision-making by evaluating the long-term sustainability and ethical considerations of business choices, rather than focusing solely on immediate financial gains. In the long run, this approach fosters not only a more sustainable business model but also a stronger relationship with stakeholders.

Career Opportunities After ESG Certifications

The growing significance of ESG considerations in the financial landscape has led to an increase in specialized roles that require expertise in environmental, social, and governance factors. Professionals who pass exams like the CFA ESG, GARP's SCR, or EFFAS's CESGA are uniquely positioned to occupy a variety of roles across industries. Here's a glimpse into the kinds of jobs that can benefit from these certifications:

ESG Analyst

An ESG analyst typically works with investment firms or corporate sustainability departments to evaluate companies based on their ESG performance. These analysts are involved in collecting and interpreting ESG data to guide investment or operational decisions.

ESG Consultant

Consultants may work for management consulting firms, specialized ESG consultancies, or as freelancers. Their role often involves advising companies on how to improve their ESG performance or integrate ESG criteria into their existing operations.

Risk Manager

For risk managers, understanding ESG factors can be crucial for assessing the long-term viability and risks associated with investments. Professionals with the GARP SCR certification can be particularly suited for these roles, given the certificate’s focus on sustainability and climate risk.

Corporate Sustainability Officer

These individuals are responsible for aligning a company's strategy with sustainable practices. They may work on implementing ESG metrics into corporate assessments and reporting or coordinating with various departments to execute sustainability initiatives.

Investment Advisor

In the finance sector, investment advisors with ESG certifications have a unique selling point. They can offer clients advice on responsible investments and are better equipped to evaluate the sustainability of certain investment options.

Portfolio Manager

ESG-centric portfolio management is on the rise. Managers who can construct and manage portfolios with strong ESG performance are increasingly in demand. The CFA ESG certification can be particularly beneficial in this role, given its investment-centric curriculum.

Governance Specialist

Often working within the corporate governance department, these professionals focus on ensuring that governance structures and processes are aligned with best practices, ethical considerations, and compliance regulations.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Manager

These managers oversee a company's social initiatives and are often involved in strategizing and implementing programs that fulfill the company’s social and environmental responsibilities.

ESG Auditor

With companies facing increasing scrutiny regarding their sustainability reports, there's a growing need for auditors who specialize in ESG criteria. ESG auditors review and verify the authenticity of the ESG data that companies publish.

Regulatory Affairs Manager

With ESG regulations becoming more stringent, professionals who understand both financial regulations and ESG considerations are invaluable in roles that involve ensuring company compliance with legal requirements.

Academic and Research Roles

For those inclined towards academia, ESG certifications can provide the foundational knowledge to engage in research roles or even teach ESG-related courses at universities and business schools.

How Certifications Map to Roles

  • CFA ESG: Given its broad-based curriculum, it is especially relevant for roles in investment analysis and portfolio management.

  • GARP SCR: Best suited for risk management roles, especially in industries directly impacted by climate and sustainability risks like agriculture, energy, and insurance.

  • CESGA: Ideal for professionals focusing on ESG data analysis and integration, such as ESG analysts and consultants.

Educational Trends and Employer Requirements for ESG Certifications

As ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) considerations gain traction in the global business and finance landscape, the educational trends and employer expectations surrounding these topics are also evolving. Certifications like CFA ESG, GARP’s SCR, and EFFAS’s CESGA are increasingly becoming the gold standards for financial professionals who want to excel in ESG-related roles. Here’s a deep dive into the current trends and what employers are looking for.

Educational Trends

  1. Interdisciplinary Approach: Educational resources for these certifications are increasingly incorporating materials from diverse fields such as climate science, sociology, and governance law to provide a well-rounded understanding of ESG risks and opportunities.

  2. Online Learning: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the move towards online educational platforms. Providers like Brainie, Kaplan Schweser, and Quartic have adapted by offering interactive webinars, online Q&A sessions, and digital study materials.

  3. Focus on Practical Application: There’s a rising trend towards case studies and real-world scenarios in study materials to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

  4. Regular Updates: Given the fast-evolving nature of ESG considerations, constant updates to the curriculum have become a norm. Providers are updating their study materials annually or even bi-annually to keep pace with the latest in regulations, technologies, and best practices.

  5. Soft Skills: Apart from hard knowledge, soft skills like ethical decision-making and stakeholder communication are getting more emphasis in educational curriculums.

Employer Requirements

  1. Holistic Skill Set: Employers are looking for candidates who not only possess a certification but can also demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of how ESG factors impact different areas of finance and investment.

  2. Analytical Abilities: Being certified is not enough. Employers seek professionals who can use ESG data analytics to make informed decisions.

  3. Regulatory Knowledge: With governments around the world tightening ESG regulations, employers expect candidates to have an up-to-date understanding of relevant laws and guidelines.

  4. Experience: While certifications are valuable, a track record of applying ESG principles in real-world scenarios is often required for senior roles.

  5. Multiple Certifications: Organizations are increasingly preferring candidates who have diversified their skill sets by obtaining more than one relevant certification. For instance, a candidate with both a CFA ESG and SCR or CESGA certification could be considered more favorably than one with a single credential.

  6. Continual Learning: Given the fast-paced changes in the ESG landscape, employers appreciate professionals committed to ongoing education, often providing incentives like tuition reimbursements for additional certifications or courses

How These Trends and Requirements Affect Exam Preparation

With employers demanding a more comprehensive skill set and educational trends focusing on a 360-degree understanding of ESG topics, candidates must choose their preparation materials wisely. Platforms like Brainie specialize in providing up-to-date, practical, and interdisciplinary study materials for the CFA ESG exam. However, as the focus shifts toward multiple certifications and continual learning, candidates may find it beneficial to leverage resources from other providers like Kaplan Schweser, Alma Mundus, or Quartic to fully prepare for SCR or CESGA exams.

In a job market where ESG knowledge is becoming a requisite rather than an added advantage, staying updated on the latest educational trends and employer requirements is crucial. By aligning your preparation strategy with these, you are not just preparing for an exam but setting the groundwork for a successful, future-proof career.

Selecting a preparation provider is an essential step for candidates aiming for renowned financial certifications like CFA, GARP's SCR, or EFFAS' CESGA. Understanding the landscape can help you make an informed choice. Here are some of the notable providers in the industry:

Kaplan Schweser

Kaplan Schweser is one of the oldest providers in the market, offering a range of study materials including Kaplan CFA login portals, mock exams, and Q&A banks. They cover all levels of the CFA exam.

Alma Mundus

Alma Mundus is newer in the field, offering flexible study schedules.


Specializing in financial and investment qualifications, Quartic provides curriculum-focused training, offering tailored programs for CFA, GARP SCR, and CESGA exams.

How Brainie Stands Out

While there are multiple options for exam preparation, Brainie specializes in effective and efficient training for the CFA ESG exam. Our study materials, including the Q-bank, Mock Exams, and Summary Notes, have been utilized by candidates globally to successfully pass the exam. Brainie aims to keep you up-to-date with the most recent CFA level 2 notes for 2023, CFA exam questions, and even offers a CFA mock exam level 3 for those at the advanced stage of their studies. Our platform is designed to be a comprehensive resource, from CFA exam prep to understanding ESG factors, ensuring you're well-prepared for your financial certifications.

In Summary

ESG considerations have permeated the financial landscape, affecting everything from long-term investment strategies to day-to-day operations. With this seismic shift, obtaining a CFA ESG certificate has become more relevant than ever. For those interested in acquiring CFA certification, leveraging ESG-focused CFA study material and CFA mock exams can provide an edge in this competitive landscape.

Brainie has carved a niche in offering some of the best CFA ESG study materials, including CFA mock exams and CFA level notes that are up-to-date with current trends. The company caters to all levels of the CFA exam and offers a free trial to prospective users who are looking to pass these rigorous exams successfully. Additionally, Brainie provides specialized training materials for the GARP SCR Certificate, aiding professionals who aim to demonstrate expertise in sustainability and climate risk management."

In a world where ESG and financial viability are increasingly interlinked, the route to a successful career in finance will likely pass through a landscape dotted with ESG considerations. Whether you are a seasoned finance professional or someone just starting, the combination of ESG expertise and CFA certification could be your key to a rewarding career.

To embark on this journey, resources are available at your fingertips. From Kaplan Schweser's exhaustive notes to Brainie's specialized ESG-centric study materials, the path has never been clearer.

Get started today! Log in to your CFA Institute account, choose your study material wisely, and don't forget to include ESG in your preparation strategy. The world needs more professionals who not only understand finance but also recognize the value of sustainable and responsible investing. Be that professional.

Questions Answers
What is ESG Certification? ESG Certifications like CFA ESG, GARP SCR, and CESGA are specialized credentials that focus on environmental, social, and governance factors within the finance and investment sectors.
How do I become ESG certified? To become ESG certified, you typically need to enroll in a specialized program, complete the necessary coursework, and pass an exam.
How to get ESG certified? To get ESG certified, choose the appropriate certification, complete the training, and pass the required exam.
How to get ESG certification? To get ESG certification, one needs to enroll in a specific program, complete the required study or training, and successfully pass an exam.
Best ESG certifications? The best ESG certifications may include CFA ESG, GARP's SCR, and EFFAS's CESGA, among others. Choices may depend on your career goals and specialization.
ESG certifications for companies? Companies can also earn ESG certifications by meeting certain sustainability criteria or adhering to responsible business practices.
Certificate ESG? Certificate ESG refers to a formal recognition provided to individuals or companies proving their proficiency in ESG matters.
How do ESG funds work? ESG funds invest in companies that meet specific environmental, social, and governance criteria, aiming for both financial returns and positive impact.
How to become ESG certified? Becoming ESG certified involves choosing a program, enrolling, completing required study, and passing the certification exam.
How ESG works? ESG works by integrating environmental, social, and governance factors into investment decisions or business operations to achieve both financial performance and sustainable impact.
Best certifications for ESG? Among the best certifications for ESG are the CFA ESG, GARP SCR, and EFFAS CESGA, depending on the career path you intend to pursue.