Sustainable Finance

Gain an in-depth understanding of the social and environmental pressures facing the current financial system, and explore how sustainable finance strategies can create long-term value for business and society.


8 weeks
Excluding orientation


6–8 hours per week
Self-paced learning online

Learning Format

Weekly modules,
flexible learning

You'll walk away with:


An understanding of the strategic implications of sustainability challenges on financial systems, including capital management in private sector businesses and public sector policy formation.


An understanding of how the current financial system can be rewired to positively impact society and enhance your organisation’s long-term financial value.


Strategies and frameworks for responding to financial risks posed by social and sustainability issues, including impact investing, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing, and positive screening.


Enhanced core competencies for the public and private sector, including managing complexity, systems and long-term thinking, and collaborative approaches.

Course outline

Over the duration of this online short course, you’ll work through the following modules:

Module 1 Introduction to sustainable finance
Learn about the current financial system.

Module 2 Steering capital for a sustainable future
Investigate the flow of capital in the financial system.

Module 3 Strategies that work for sustainable finance
Explore sustainable finance approaches.

Module 4 Rewiring risk and return
Understand the relationship between risk and return, and the impact on sustainable finance.

Module 5 Sustainable finance solutions
Learn about the key attributes for promoting sustainable finance.

Module 6 The role of the public sector in sustainable finance
Investigate the role of the public sector in sustainable finance.

Module 7 Trends, disruption, innovation, and sustainable finance
Explore megatrends and the innovations required to deal with them.

Module 8 Creating impact
Develop an action plan that promotes sustainable finance in your environment.

Please note that module titles and their contents are subject to change during course development.

Your Course Convenors

Martin Roberts

Director of Digital Learning,
University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

Roberts is a programme director at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, where he helps companies with a global reach to derive value from embedding innovative approaches to sustainability across their organisation and their supply chains. Roberts has extensive experience working with companies and NGOs on sustainability challenges, with particular expertise in the food, agricultural, utility, tourism and extractive sectors. He has lived in several African countries working with governments and the private sector to tackle the resource challenges of today and the future.

Rose Dunne

Programme Manager (E-Learning and Creative), the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

As the programme manager of CISL’s e-learning portfolio, Dunne has designed and delivered courses for students working within the charity, education, and corporate sectors, up to master’s level. Prior to joining CISL, Dunne worked as a conservation e-learning specialist and designed an online course in collaboration with National Geographic. She holds a master’s in visual communication, and has produced creative and digital media projects across a range of mediums.

Alice Chapple

Subject Matter Expert

Chapple has worked on sustainable finance for more than 30 years. Her career has focused on finding ways to ensure capital creates positive social and environmental outcomes alongside financial return. Through her company, Impact Value, she works with several funds and companies to help them articulate, measure, and maximise their social and environmental impact. She is also the independent chair of the CDC Plus Committee, a trustee of the Shell Foundation, a member of the advisory board of the Sainsbury’s Foundation, and a chair of Investor Watch. Previously, Chapple was director of sustainable financial markets at Forum for the Future, a sustainable development charity, as well as an investment analyst and portfolio manager at CDC, the UK’s development finance institution. She holds an MA in economics from the University of Cambridge and is a chartered accountant.

Accreditation Logo

This course is certified by the United Kingdom CPD Certification Service, and may be applicable to individuals who are members of, or are associated with, UK-based professional bodies. The course has an estimated 60 hours of learning.

Note: should students wish to claim CPD activity, the onus is upon them. The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and GetSmarter accept no responsibility, and cannot be held responsible, for the claiming or validation of hours or points.

An online education that sets you apart

This CISL online short course is delivered in collaboration with online education provider GetSmarter. Join a growing community of global professionals, and benefit from the opportunity to:


Gain verifiable and relevant competencies and earn invaluable recognition from an international selection of universities, entirely online and in your own time


Enjoy a personalised, people-mediated online learning experience created to make you feel supported at every step


Experience a flexible but structured approach to online education as you plan your learning around your life to meet weekly milestones

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