A current list of online sustainability courses and bootcamps to help take your business and/or your career to the next level.
As environmental regulations continue to tighten and stakeholders are becoming more interested in sustainability initiatives, businesses are faced with a unique challenge to tackle climate-related issues that they may know little about. Strict 2030 sustainability goals are forcing organizations to quickly learn and initiative sustainability goals in a short period of time. Below is a list of courses designed for individuals or corporations to take to broaden their understanding of climate issues and how they impact a businesses’ bottom line.
Institution: University of Illinois
Length: 25 hours
A highly rated introductory-level course that explores how today’s societies face global challenges like ecosystem degradation and resource limitations. The course focuses on core concept areas of sustainability theory like population, ecosystems, global change, energy, agriculture, water, economics, ethics, and history. A shareable certificate is earned upon completion of the course.
Institution: IESE Business School
Length: 16 hours
The course is based on Professor Mike Rosenberg’s book Strategy and Sustainability. The thought-provoking and engaging course explores the relationship between a businesses’ need to increase its bottom line while protecting the planet. Rosenberg recognizes that sustainability initiatives often require short-term financial commitments with uncertain long-term outcomes. He takes a hard-nosed and clear-eyed approach to filter out the noise when making these tough decisions.
Institution: University of Colorado – Boulder
Length: 5 months
The University of Colorado – Boulder is a top-ranking university when it comes to Sustainability. This program is broken up into four separate courses: First Steps in Making the Business Case for Sustainability, More on Change and Sustainability, Sustainable Business: Big Issues, Big Changes, and a Creating A Sustainability Capstone. The purpose of the program is to teach companies how to be an effective change agent. At the end of the course, the student should be able to create an effective sustainability proposal and know who to convince and what they need convincing on.
Institution: The University of Copenhagen
Length: 10 hours
In 2015, the UN announced its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted by over 193 of its members. The course provides a thorough overview of the SDGs and their history. It teaches businesses what the goals are, how they can be measured, and how they are relevant to humanity. It closely focuses on what it considers to be the most urgent goal, which is Climate Action. Professor Katherine Richardson is well-qualified to teach the course as a member of the 15-person committee chosen by the UN General Secretary in 2016.
Institution: Macquarie University
Length: 6 months
Comprised of five separate courses, this program is offered in English, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, and Spanish. The program sets out to future-proof your business strategy which includes topics such as strategic management, global supply chain management, disruptive innovation, and sustainability. The third course, Global Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility: Be Sustainable, takes a deep dive into how organizations can balance financial success with sustainable initiatives that have a positive impact on society.
Institution: Global Reporting Initiative
Length: 16 hours
Designed for both beginners all the way up to existing GRI reporting experts, this course is available through a global network of Certified Training Partners (CTPs). The course is designed to deepen your understanding of sustainability reporting and enable you to discover trends, challenges, and opportunities within your organization. You will walk away with a certification from a highly respected global sustainability organization as well as a deep understanding of SDGs reporting.
Institution: British Standards Institution
Length: 2 days
This course is for those who are looking to track internal progress as environmental managers within their organizations. The two-day course covers environmental protection, conservation of natural resources, and energy efficiency. It focuses mainly on internal auditing strategies to track compliance within your business.
Institution: SDG Academy
Length: 50 hours
Delivered directly by the United Nations, this course covers the science behind global warming and its associated impacts. The self-paced course is spread across eight modules with around 50 hours of material. The program covers HOW the climate has been changing and WHY it is actively changing to develop a system thinking approach to analyze the impacts of a changing climate on the natural world.
Institution: Harvard Business School
Length: 3 weeks
The prestigious Harvard Business School offers this three-week course that intricately illustrates how a business can thrive while simultaneously tackling some of the world’s largest climate issues. It explores a broader environmental, political, and social landscape that incorporates the roles of the government, investors, and customers. The course will have you primed to be a purpose-driven leader within your field.
Institution: Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Length: 10 weeks
The program focuses on its flagship ‘circular economy’ concept. A circular economy is based on three main principles: elimination of waste and pollution, circulation of products and materials, and the regeneration of nature. The course explores these principles in depth. It also offers mentoring opportunities from alumni and offers a strong network of like-minded individuals. The program is free, although it has an application process where it’s possible to be denied.
Preparation courses for the LEED AP exams are offered directly by USGBC. The organization offers study bundles ranging from $269 all the way up to $679 (which includes the cost of the exams). There are five different LEED AP industry-specific specialties to choose from which all focus on green building and the world-renowned LEED rating system.
Length: 1 day
The one-day Zoom course provides study materials and sector-specific information that is meant to help individuals earn the SASB FSA Level II credential. Learning objectives include learning the need for sustainability accounting standards, understanding the SASB standards, and using the SASB standards as a company or investor. The credential is designed for professionals who understand that a link exists between financial material and sustainability information that can drive a firm’s value.
These instructor-led courses are designed to help individuals earn their Sustainability Excellence Associate (SEA) and Sustainability Excellence Professional (SEP) certifications from the prestigious International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP). The certifications show an awareness of fundamental sustainability concepts and best practices. Courses vary in length and price depending on what you’re looking for but generally take place over four weeks with weekly live sessions that last anywhere from one to two hours.
Institution: GHG Management Institute
Length: 18 days
A rigorous course designed for professionals that want to learn about greenhouse gas inventory accounting and carbon footprinting accounting. There are two exams to be taken at the end of three courses that will earn you a diploma from the institution. Those interested in GHG emissions and removals along with their standards and best practices should enroll in this course.
Institution: GHG Management Institute
Length: 20 days
Carbon management is a hot topic in the space of sustainability. This program is designed for those wanting to focus less on GHG accounting frameworks and more on the technical analysis of emissions and their mitigation strategies as it relates to carbon. It’s a rigorous course of five required courses and two final examinations. In the end, you will earn a diploma from the prestigious institution.
Institution: GHG Management Institute
Length: 22 days
Another diploma course offered by the GHG Management Institute, this program is meant for those who are looking to broaden their skill set in both GHG accounting and GHG auditing, validation, and verification. The course is intended to give students the necessary skills to keep up with ever-changing international standards and programs. Topics include GHG emissions and their removals, standards for GHG reporting, and GHG validations and verifications (also known as auditing, review, and inspections).
Institution: Earth Shift Global
Length: 1-2 days
Cost: Free – $3,000
Earth Shift Global offers courses related to Life Cycle Assessments and Sustainable Returns on Investment. The institution offers a multitude of courses for a variety of industries to help conduct and manage life-cycle assessments with confidence. Courses are anywhere from one to two days and typically fall within the $750 to $1,500 price range. Topics covered include life cycle assessments, recycling, social impact, and more. These are bootcamp style courses are co-developed with Professor Rafael Auras from the School of Packaging and Michigan State University.
Length: 10 weeks
The UNEP Asia Pacific Low Carbon Lifestyles online bootcamp helps entrepreneurs build back a better economy for both people and planet. Each week dives into a different topic and is taught through a series of webinars virtually available from Delhi and Bangkok. Topics covered include business skills, sustainability, carbon footprinting, communication, and marketing.
Institution: Aarcher Institute
Length: 4 days
The course boasts itself to be the original environmental compliance bootcamp. The four-day rigorous bootcamp covers topics of environmental compliance related to solid and hazardous wastes, lead, asbestos, and PCB management, water quality, storage tanks, air emissions, and much more. Bootcamps are offered in person at a variety of locations across the United States or completely online. Early bird pricing and group packages are offered.
Institution: Leading Practice
Length: 2 – 15 days
Cost: $25,000 – $150,000
The cost and length of the bootcamp are variable depending on what your organization is trying to accomplish. There are five bootcamps designed to revamp the sustainability program at your enterprise ranging from basic to sophisticated. It’s for corporate enterprises, NGOs, and government entities who are looking to build a sustainability concept from the ground up or reconsidering their own.
Institution: University of Geneva (UNIGE)
Length: 17 hours
Founded in 1559, the University of Geneva is one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious universities. The course covers the impacts mountains have on water resources and climate change. Students will explore the risks associated with these sensitive ecosystems. For context, about 100 climate experts worked with UNIGE from 2008 to 2013 to gather data and assess the impacts of climate change in mountain regions.
Institution: University of Leeds
Length: 10 hours
Future Learn offers four weeks of courses for free. After the four weeks, you’ll be prompted to upgrade to one of the unlimited learning packages (from $15.83 to $74). The course itself covers the concept of Caosian bargaining and how it relates to environmental quality. The goal is to teach students how to draft well-written environmental reports to shift people’s opinions and values. Accredited by the CPD Certification Service, you’ll earn a printable or digital diploma upon completion.
Institution: University of Exeter
Length: 4 weeks
Another Future Learn course, upgrades range from $15.83 to $64 if your free trial has expired. There are three main focuses in the course, the first being emerging energy systems and their link to climate change, air pollution and equity. Next, the course explores people, scale, and society as they relate to energy systems. Lastly, the course finishes off with energy governance and how it can assist with rapid decarbonization.
Length: 6 weeks
An associated program towards a Professional Certificate in Clean Power, this is an intermediate level course that covers how policy and regulation can create a pr-renewables world. The course tackled regulatory and non-regulatory approaches on how to incentivize renewables deployment. It is structured using case studies to give real world examples of how pro-renewable policies have been implemented elsewhere.
Institution: University of Copenhagen
Length: 12 hours
A deep dive into the global population growth and how that impacts global food systems and the environment. Agricultural activities alone are responsible for 80% of global deforestation. The course explores how our ever-growing population is bound to impact out forests and innovative ways to curb these destructive impacts. The course focuses on how our global food systems can become more sustainable.
Online sustainability courses and bootcamps on this comprehensive list are aimed at anyone interested in learning about environmental sustainability and how it applies to business practices in today’s society. The list has courses and bootcamps listed for a wide audience ranging from individuals to corporations. Prices, length, and availability of the courses are subject to change at the institution’s discretion.
Further reading: Our Free Green Resources library