Strategic ESG: Creating Sustainable Value

Online Professional Certificate Program

The demand for businesses to address Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues is growing—from investors, customers, employees—and beyond. No longer can these be relegated to the ‘sidelines.’ In Strategic ESG: Creating Sustainable Value, you will learn how to act on important (material) ESG issues in ways that deliver sustainable impact across the triple bottom line and deliver a return on investment for your organization.

This virtual, global program is offered in partnership with WholeWorks. Designed for working professionals and leaders, this program hones essential skills to integrate sustainability into your areas of responsibility within your organization. It is also ideal for teams who are charged with delivering on a specific goal or initiative. The 6-week program requires approximately 6 hours of effort per week for a 36-hour learning experience.

  • Learn strategy & techniques through self-study, online learning modules;
  • Practice through a highly realistic business simulation alongside peers from around the world;
  • Apply what you learn immediately—with expert coaching and peer review—to your company.

Click here to register. Registration deadline Friday, September 22, 2023.

It All Begins With A Realistic Business Simulation

Picture yourself in the middle of a storm — a tempest of public outrage and financial turmoil that threatens the future of your company.

CareCo Natural, one of the largest personal care companies in India (popular for its use of natural ingredients as well as its stated commitment to sustainability), is facing a critical moment in its history. A shocking documentary has revealed the truth behind harmful and dangerous growing practices on coconut farms, calling out CareCo Natural as one of the biggest contributors and causing a public uproar. Consumers are outraged; revenue and stock prices have plummeted; and the entire previous executive team has been fired. The very survival of the company is at stake.

Now, CareCo Natural is hiring — and they need you.

  • Step into your new role at CareCo Natural. All team members are responsible for integrating sustainability into their area of expertise.

  • Which role would you choose i nCareCo Natural’s Executive Team? You can choose something distinctly different from your current role to maximise learning.

  • Meet with your global team for 1 hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays to review progress and develop strategies. You select one of three time slots that best fits your schedule.

  • Consider all of CareCo Natural’s stakeholders and its potential impact on larger systems as you transition the company to be truly sustainable.

  • Identify and map material ESG initiatives to generate value and create impact.

  • Make key decisions to execute the team’s strategy to achieve financial and ESG results.

  • Review financial progress – CareCo Natural must provide its investors with an acceptable return on investment.

  • Review progress against 24 key sustainability measures. The board and investors are expecting a ‘silver standard’ or higher for ESG performance by Year 10.

Program Content

Week 0 (2 hours)

Getting Started
  1. Welcome to Strategic ESG—Start Here!
  2. Course Expectations and Schedule
  3. How to Navigate the Learning Platform
  4. Welcome to CareCo Natural
  5. Team and Role Assignment
  6. Introduction to Project
  7. Ready to Get Started?

Week 1 (6 hours)

Introduction to Week 1
  1. Overview of the Week
Module 1: Creating Value (2h)
    1. Introduction: Why start with Finance?
    2. Self-assessment: What’s your level of financial acuity?
    3. Lesson 1: Financial basics
      1. The Income Statement
      2. The Balance Sheet
      3. Key Financial Metrics: Revenue growth, profit growth, ROIC
    4. Lesson 2: Creating Shareholder Value
      1. Two Kinds of Investors
      2. Return on Invested Capital (ROIC)
      3. 4 Drivers of Value
    5. Lesson 3: Strategy-driven Value Creation
      1. Traditional Strategy
      2. How Strategy Drives Value (Sustainable Value Creation Map)
      3. Competitive Advantage and Relative Attractiveness
      4. Core Business Processes
      5. Resources & Capabilities
    6. Case Study: How Did Southwest Airlines Veer Off Course?
    7. Summary and What’s Next
Module 2: Sustainability, Business, and ESG (1.75h)
  1. Lesson 1: Sustainable business and the Triple Bottom Line
    1. The Great Trade-Off Illusion
    2. The Triple Bottom Line
    3. The Larger Systems View of Business Impact
  2. Lesson 2: Sustainable Investing, ESG, and its impact on business
    1. Spectrum of Investing Approaches
    2. How Investors View ESG Performance
    3. ESG As Risk Avoidance
    4. ESG Integration
    5. Do High-Performing ESG Firms Produce Superior Financial Returns?
  3. Case study: EcoLab (water preservation technologies)
  4. Summary and What’s Next
Week 1 Team Assignment (2h)
  1. Individual Preparation:
    1. Review CareCo Natural Documents
    2. Complete PREPARE Section of Assignment
  2. Live Team Meeting:
    1. Introductions & Team Covenant
    2. Competitive Strategy for CareCo Natural
Week 1 Wrap-Up (15m)
  1. Personal reflection

Week 2 (6 hours)

Introduction to Week 2
  1. Overview of Week 2
Module 3: Strategic ESG: Creating Sustainable Value (2h)
  1. Lesson 1: Identifying Material ESG Issues
    1. A Note on Materiality
    2. Assessing Materiality to Prioritize ESG Issues
  2. Lesson 2: Connecting the Dots: Mapping Cause-and-Effect from ESG Initiative to
    1. Impact and Value
    2. Connecting ESG Priority Issues to Impact and Value Creation
    3. The Sustainable Value Creation Map
    4. Practical Tips for Using the Sustainable Value Creation Map
  3. Lesson 3: The Value of a Sustainability-Driven Strategy
    1. Beyond ESG Initiatives: Sustainability-Driven Strategy
    2. The Intangibles of Sustainability Strategy
    3. Mapping Long-term Strategy Using the SVCM
  4. Case Study: DE&I at a Major Hotel Chain Property
  5. Lesson 4: Applying the Sustainable Value Creation Map
    1. Exercise: Create a SVCM for a CareCo Natural ESG Initiative (Grower Certification)
  6. Summary and What’s Next
Module 4: Sustainability Reporting and Materiality (1.75h)
  1. Lesson 1: A Brief Overview of Sustainability Reporting Frameworks
    1. Sustainability Reporting and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
    2. Additional Frameworks: CDP, SBTi, GHG Protocol, UN SDGs
  2. Lesson 2: Reporting Sustainability to Investors
    1. SASB + TCFD = ISSB
    2. Emerging Trends in Reporting
  3. Case Study: Nike and SBTi
  4. Summary and What’s Next
Week 2 Simulation Team Assignment (2h)
  1. Individual Preparation:
    1. Review the CareCo Natural Sustainability Scorecard/Key Metrics
    2. Map ESG Initiatives for CareCo Natural
  2. Live Meeting:
    1. Share Maps and identify priority ESG initiatives
    2. What are implications for CareCo Natural competitive strategy?
Week 2 Wrap-Up (15 m)
  1. Personal reflection

Week 3 (6 hours)

Introduction to Week 3
  1. Overview of Week 3
Module 5: Making Progress (e.g. Application to project) (1h)
  1. Lesson 1: What are you going to do?
    1. Choose Your ESG Initiative
    2. Finding Your Project Sweet Spot
  2. Lesson 2: Making Your Proposal
    1. Making a Strong Pitch
    2. Mapping Your Project Using the Sustainable Value Creation Map
    3. Review the Project Assignment
Leadership Team Hub (15m)
  1. CareCo Natural Leadership Hub Tour
  2. Performance Report Tour
Year 03-04 Simulation Team Assignment (4h)
  1. Individual Preparation 1:
    1. Review Year 03-04 briefing materials and Partner Project Proposals
  2. Live Meeting 1:
    1. Year 03-04 strategy
  3. Individual Preparation 2:
    1. Review Guidebook: Roles & Decisions
    2. Enter preliminary input decisions
  4. Live Meeting 2:
    1. Review and finalize Year 03-04 input decisions
  5. Advance simulation and get Year 04 results
Project Assignment (30m)
  1. Begin mapping your organization’s strategy (do your homework) — using the Sustainable Value Creation Map
Week 3 Wrap-Up (15m)
  1. Personal reflection

Week 4 (6 hours)

Introduction to Week 4
  1. Overview of Week 4
Year 05-06 Simulation Team Assignment (3h)
  1. Individual Preparation:
    1. Review Year 04 reports
    2. Review Year 05-06 briefing materials
    3. Enter preliminary input decisions
  2. Live Meeting:
    1. Year 05-06 strategy and input decisions
  3. Advance simulation and get Year 06 results
Year 07-08 Simulation Team Assignment (2.75h)
  1. Individual Preparation:
    1. Review Year 06 reports
    2. Review Year 07-08 briefing materials
    3. Enter preliminary input decisions
  2. Live Meeting:
    1. Year 07-08 strategy and input decisions
  3. Advance simulation and get Year 08 results
Week 4 Wrap-Up (15m)
  1. Personal reflection

Week 5 (6 hours)

Introduction to Week 5
  1. Overview of Week 5
Year 09-10 Simulation Team Assignment (2h)
  1. Individual Preparation:
    1. Review Year 08 reports
    2. Overview of Upcoming Regulatory Changes (Yr 10 and beyond)
    3. Enter preliminary Year 09-10 input decisions
  2. Live Meeting:
    1. Long-term strategy and input decisions
  3. Advance simulation and get Year 10 results
Distill Insights — As a Team (1h)
  1. Live Meeting: Share insights from the simulation experience
Project Assignment (2.75h)
  1. Work on Project Assignment
Week 4 Wrap-Up (15m)
  1. Personal reflection

Week 6 (6 hours)

Introduction to Week 6
  1. Overview of Week 6
Project Assignment (5h)
  1. Complete and submit Project Assignment
  2. Provide 3 peer reviews
  3. Reflect on peer reviews received
Content Final Quiz (30m)
Team Contribution Ratings (30m)

Our Model: Learn–Practice–Apply.


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LEARN  strategy & techniques through learning modules designed for working professionals.

Practice heading.png

PRACTICE through a highly-realistic global team simulation — 10 years of experience over six weekS.

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APPLY immediately — with expert coaching — to an ESG initiative material to your company.

Join us and our network of 300+ WholeWorks alumni—

professionals and leaders from 35 countries practiCing integrated sustainability and making a world of difference.

Past participants have joined us from:

Alma College

AT Kearney

Carway Communications, Inc.

Casella Waste System, Inc.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health

Griffith Foods


Dow, Inc

University of Victoria Peter B. Gustavson School of Business

Tuition for the Strategic ESG program includes:

  • all course materials
  • full access to program and simulation
  • certificate and letter of completion

$1950.00 USD

A refund (less a $200 administration fee) can be issued for emailed cancellations received a minimum of 21 days before the program start date. Cancellations 20 days prior to the start of the program are non-refundable. Should you be unable to continue with the program you may defer your registration to the next scheduled session if approved by the program manager. Deferral of registration will only be processed once (no repeat deferrals will be permitted), and only to the next scheduled session of the same program. We do not guarantee that future programs will be held and if you choose to defer to the next program session, you do so at your own risk.  If the next program is cancelled following any deferral, you will not be entitled to a refund. 

Matt Mayberry, MBA, Ph.D.

For 25 years Matt has focused on training people to be better strategic leaders through award-winning simulation-based learning experiences for major companies. Designer and lead facilitator for ‘Leading the Sustainability Transformation,” his work takes a systems-oriented view of business, while also drawing on the stakeholder-oriented principles of sustainability. He holds an MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business and a Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Stuart Hart, Ph.D.

One of the world’s top authorities on sustainability, Stuart is the co-founder and former Director of the Sustainable Innovation MBA at the University of Vermont’s Grossman School of Business. A pioneer in business sustainability education, he established programs at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, and the University of Michigan. He is the author of the best-selling book Capitalism at the Crossroads. Stuart has a master’s degree in environmental management from Yale University and a Ph.D. in planning and strategy from the University of Michigan.

Laura Asiala, MSOD

Laura is the Senior Director of Business Engagement for the Council of the Great Lakes, former Vice President of PYXERA Global and former Director of Corporate Communications and Citizenship at the Dow Corning Corporation. Passionate about the power of business to help solve the world’s most intransigent problems, she has extensive experience leading efforts to attract more companies to contribute to global, sustainable development, through their people and their work. She holds a Masters in Organization Development from Case Western Reserve University.

Neil Hawkins, Ph.D.

Neil is the President of the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation and the former Chief Sustainability Officer of Dow. A recognized thought leader, he is the architect of several groundbreaking collaborations, including the Dow-Nature Conservancy Collaboration on valuing nature in business decisions. He is a member of the International Olympics Committee Sustainability and Legacy Commission and a member of the Committee on Policy and Global Affairs of the National Academies of the USA, through which he co-authored Sustainability and the U.S. EPA, commonly known as the Green Book. He holds a master’s and Ph.D. from the Harvard University School of Public Health.

David Stangis, MBA

Dave is the founder and president of 21C Impact, LLC and the former Chief Sustainability Officer at Campbell Soup Company. A recognized thought leader and influencer, he serves as advisor, mentor, and board member of leading sustainability organizations and brands such as Babson College, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, Plum Organics, and Net Impact. He is the co-author of 21st Century Corporate Citizenship and The Executive’s Guide to 21st Century Corporate Citizenship. He holds a master’s degree in occupational and environmental health from Wayne State University and an MBA from the University of Michigan.

Deidre White

Deirdre is the CEO of PYXERA Global and a global leader in building partnerships across public, private, and social sectors to address the world’s most pressing challenges. She has contributed to The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Forbes, Fast Company, The Council on Foreign Relations, and Stanford Social Innovation Review. She has spoken at the Shared Value Leadership Summit, Wharton Africa Business Forum, Wall Street Journal’s CFO Network, and US Department of Commerce’s Discover Global Markets. Deirdre is a member of the MIT Ideas Global Challenge Advisory Board and the Bretton Woods Committee, and is an alumna of the Aspen Institute.

Project Management Professional Development Units (PDUs)
Earning your PMI certification is a big step, maintaining it doesn’t have to be. Attendees to this program are entitled to 10 Professional Development Units (PDUs) from the Project Management Institute (PMI)® upon completion (2 for Technical, 2 for Leadership and 6 Strategic & Business Management).

Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC) Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or Professional Development Hours (PDHs) 

Attendees to this program are also entitled to 10 Continuing Educations Units (CEUs) or 100 Professional Development Hours (PDHs) verified by the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC).