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The CFA ESG Certificate has been around since 2019 but boomed in the last two years, making this the biggest ESG certificate in the world.

Potential candidates search to understand the eligibility, track record, target audience, level of difficulty, and potential benefits and outcomes of holding the CFA ESG Certificate.

What is the Goal of the CFA ESG Investing Certificate?

The goal is to educate and guide professionals on analyzing and integrating material ESG factors in their day-by-day roles. It offers both practical application and technical knowledge in the fast-growing area of ESG.

What are the Requirements and Entry Criteria?

Everyone interested can do this certificate. There are no entry criteria, anyone looking to improve their understanding of ESG issues can apply. This means you don’t need:

  • Other CFA Institute certificates;
  • A specific degree;
  • Certain years of experience.

The only recommendation from the CFA Institute is a foundational knowledge of the investment process. But that is just a recommendation.  

To whom is it directed?

The certification was designed for investment practitioners; however, it is suitable for anyone working in front or back offices and other positions, including wealth management, risk management, sales and distribution, product development, financial advice, and consulting.
Since its launch, the CFA ESG certificate has already registered more than 41,000 candidates globally.
In July 2023, there were around 41,000 registrations. This number refers to the total number of registrations since Edition 1 in 2019. The graph below presents the number of candidates registered per edition and shows the increased interest on the CFA ESG Investing Certificate.
CFA ESG Investing Certificate Number of Candidates Registered per Edition
Source: CFA Institute
Number of candidates registered on the CFA ESG Investing Certificate by Edition
Hong Kong is now the market leader. The top 5 markets also include the UK, USA, Singapore, and Canada. Alma Mundus has already supported thousands of CFA ESG Candidates, from over 140 countries. Besides investment professionals, Alma Mundus has also supported candidates with non-investment backgrounds, such as:
  1. Board Members
  2. Auditors
  3. Journalists
  4. Marketing professionals
  5. Professors
  6. Environmentalists
  7. Supply-Chain managers

Is the CFA ESG Certificate available worldwide?

The CFA ESG Certificate has a global presence; however, it has yet to be offered in all countries. Candidates have two options to take the exam:

1. In-person at a test center
Search for the CFA ESG test centers worldwide to check if it is a possibility. You may also find the availability of specific test centers (select CFA Institute and then ESG).

2. Remotely through OnVue remote solutions
This option is available depending on local regulations and system capability.

For further information on test availability in your country, please contact the CFA Institute at .

What is the cost, and what is included?

The CFA ESG Certificate fees can be summarized as following:

  • The registration cost of the certificate is USD 865, which includes one exam registration and the CFA ESG Book in pdf format.
  • The hardcopy version of the book costs around USD 135 + shipping, and candidates can order it though the CFA Institute learning ecosystem.
? Valuable Tip: Search for “CFA ESG Book” on Amazon and check for a better deal. Just make sure you are buying the correct version. For example, we are now in Edition 4 (or 2023 Edition), so the book should have that reference on its front page.)
  • Retaking the exam currently costs USD 690.
  • Rescheduling your exam is also possible. Candidates must do it 72 hours before their exam date/time and pay a rescheduling fee of $30.
  • Prep Providers: Candidates should weigh the costs and benefits of using a prep provider, taking into account whether the time saved and study efficiency gained is worth the investment in prep provider study solutions. Check a sample of successful CFA ESG Candidates on their investment in study solutions.
CFA ESG Registration Fee 2024

The certificate registration fee is US$ 865. It includes one exam registration and the CFA ESG book in PDF.

CFA ESG Retake Fee 2024

If the candidate needs to retake the exam , this option costs US$ 690.

Candidates can buy a hard copy of the book for around US$ 135. The same book can also be found on Amazon at a discounted price.

Candidates can reschedule their exam , 72 hours before their exam date and pay a rescheduling fee of $30.

Is CFA ESG worth it? – Career Outcomes

It is widely recognized that CFA ESG certified professionals have a better understanding of how to analyze and integrate material ESG factors in their day-by-day roles. If you are still wondering if it is CFA ESG worth it check the main career outcomes we’ve listed below:

  1. Obtain a unique qualification that is relevant to the job market;
  2. Boost your career prospects and increase your employability;
  3. Enhance your ESG knowledge and stay ahead in your field;
  4. CFA Institute qualifications are well-respected by leading companies and a valuable asset for anyone working in the investment industry;
  5. Acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to make responsible and ethical investment decisions;
  6. Gain a digital badge to highlight your skills and knowledge in ESG.
Companies recruiting ESG experts are committed to sustainable practices and working to make a positive impact on the environment and society. By investing in ESG-focused companies, you can help to channel capital towards sustainable businesses.

How Hard is the CFA ESG exam?

Comparing the CFA ESG with other certifications, we can say that it is as tricky as the Investment Management Certificate (IMC) and more accessible than the CFA 1.
Comparison of different certifications based on their level of difficulty
How hard is CFA ESG exam?
Nevertheless, candidates should acknowledge that the CFA ESG certification still follows the CFA’s high standards; therefore, it requires a plan, practice, and commitment. We suggest reading our article on How Hard is CFA ESG exam? to understand more about this topic.

Is CFA ESG worth it?

Our short answer is yes, CFA ESG is worth it.

It is widely recognized that CFA ESG-certified professionals have a better understanding of how to analyze and integrate material ESG factors in their day-by-day roles.

ESG was first mentioned in the 2006 United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) report. The PRI is the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment.

The graph below refers to the PRI number of signatories and assets under management. From 63 signatories and US$6.5 trillion in AUM in 2016 to 3,826 signatories and US$121.3 trillion in AUM in 2021.

The CFA Institute and LinkedIn reviewed one million profiles as part of a research to understand if there was a need for ESG expertise in the market. The table below shows the results of that research.
Job title family Number of profiles on LinkedIn (‘000) % with sustainability skills 1-year sustainability expertise growth % of postings seeking expertise
Portfolio Manager 146 1.5% 32% 18%
Chief Investment Officer 15 2.0% 18% 10%
Financial Advisor 630 0.5% 32% 5%
Analyst 180 0.7% 34% 2%
Chief Executive Officer 37 1.9% 12% 0%
Total 1,008 0.7% 26% 6%
Source: “Future of Sustainability in Investment”, CFA Institute: LinkedIn Talent Insights
Looking, for example, at Portfolio Managers:

  • 146,000 profiles were reviewed, of which only 1.5% of those had ESG or sustainability skills;
  • The 1.5% referred already considered a 32% increase compared to the previous year;
  • The percentage of postings seeking Portfolio Managers with ESG or sustainability skills was 18%.

Enrolling in an ESG certification at this stage allows candidates to study subjects in a developing field with high market demand and opportunities. Doing the certificate may place professionals in a better position to take those opportunities.

Companies adopting CFA ESG Certification

One effective way to demonstrate the value of the CFA ESG Certificate is to provide examples of global organizations that have adopted it to educate their employees.
10 Global Companies that have adopted the CFA ESG Certificate
1. AXA Investment Managers
2. Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM)
3. HSBC Wealth and Personal Banking
4. UBS Asset Management
5. Invesco Asset Management
6. Mercer Consulting
7. United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund
9. S&P Global
10. MSCI
Alma Mundus had the privilege of supporting thousands of professionals throughout their study journeys with our CFA ESG study materials . Below, we provide a sample of the companies where Alma Mundus’s candidates work.
Banking, Asset Management, Insurance, Real Estate, Stock Exchanges and Monetary Authorities
Ratings, Indices, Databases, and Consulting Services
Development Financial Institutions (DFIs)
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Keep Focused. Keep Learning. Get Ready for the CFA ESG Exam!