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Master's programs

Climate & Business Certificate

Climate & Business Certificate

  • This certificate prepares students for navigating the complexities of climate change and the transition towards net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from a business and societal perspective
  • Five building blocks – understanding, decarbonizing, financing, experiencing and engaging – that together form the basis for becoming agents of change to achieve net zero GHG emissions and limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C as recommended by climate science
  • Combination of learning methods, where each week consists of three to four days of classes and case studies, as well as one day of individual and group assignments
  • High-profile inspirational speakers from academia, companies, financial institutions, governments, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

By the end of the certificate, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the net zero transition stakes on macro (planet, society, economy) and micro (company, individual) levels
  • Analyze a company’s GHG emissions profile and design short- and long-term decarbonization strategies in different sectors of the economy
  • Understand the key financial aspects of the net zero transition for businesses and financial institutions including emerging risks and opportunities
  • Engage various stakeholders on climate change topics and inspire others to contribute to the net zero transition

The certificate offers a five-week intensive program focused on understanding and experiencing the path toward net zero Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. Each week focuses on one of the five building blocks – understanding, decarbonizing, financing, experiencing and engaging – that together form the basis for becoming agents of change to limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C. The certificate employs a combination of learning methods, where each week consists of four days of lectures and case studies, as well as one day of individual and group assignments (students work on a company decarbonization project throughout the certificate). Classes are delivered by high-profile inspirational speakers from academia, companies, financial institutions, governments, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Business and Climate Change Certificate


The first week of the certificate focuses on understanding the big picture stakes related to climate change and the low carbon transition. We will start with a high-level thought-provoking discussion on the relationship between environment and society, tackle the issue of planetary boundaries before zooming into the climate change problem. We will then establish a solid understanding of climate change science and transformations required to avoid a climate disaster. This will be followed by a discussion about geopolitics of climate change and the evolution of the international climate regime. Finally, we will dive into domestic climate policies that affect businesses in all sectors of the economy and will use the EU climate and energy policy as our main case study.

The second week of the certificate focuses on measuring and reducing GHG emissions in key sectors of the economy. First, we will discuss the existing approaches to GHG accounting within a company (including Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions) and the process of setting science-based targets to reduce its climate impact. Second, we will learn how to identify and implement decarbonization strategies within a company, and develop circular economy solutions. Finally, we will look into several case studies in key sectors of the economy and learn how decarbonization strategies are developed and implemented in real world companies – both traditional corporations and start-ups.

The third week of the certificate focuses on the financial aspects of the net zero transition. First, we will look at the climate finance landscape to understand financial needs, sources of finance and different climate finance instruments. Second, we will learn about the evolving financial regulations that start taking into account climate considerations and influence investment decisions. We will then look into climate-related risks and opportunities in the financial sector. Finally, we will analyze several case studies on climate action in different types of public and private financial institutions.

The fourth week will offer students an opportunity to experience the transition hands on through one of the two options. The first option is to spend one week on the Transition Campus to personally experience the transformation and challenge the status quo of the conventional wisdom about our way of life. The second option is to do a hands-on project, where students will work closely with a company to develop mitigation and adaptation solutions.

The final week of the certificate will focus on how to engage all stakeholders in the net zero transition and the broader sustainability journey. We will look into the role of different stakeholders in accelerating climate action and conduct a series of debates related to different aspects of the net zero journey. Students will then present their group projects to a jury. Finally, we will discuss career opportunities in the climate change field and hear some inspirational testimonials from former HEC students that have been successfully implementing climate change solutions. The certificate will then conclude with a networking cocktail.

  • Daniel Halbheer, Associate Professor of Marketing, holder of the FII Institute chair on "Business Models for the Circular Economy," and Academic Director of the Climate and Earth Center at the Society and Organizations Institute of HEC Paris
  • Igor Shishlov, Adjunct Lecturer on Climate Change Economics at HEC Paris, Senior Consultant on Climate Policy and Finance at Perspectives Climate Group