Dubai, UAE: ESG-led strategies are being rapidly adopted by organisations across the globe, and as a result, there is an increased demand for investors and associated professionals with an advanced understanding of ESG investing. To address this skills gap in the region, PwC’s Academy, the talent and skills development business of PwC Middle East has introduced the globally recognised Certificate In ESG investing in the Middle East.

The certification, accredited by Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute, the leading association of investment professionals across the world, has been designed to support and accelerate progress in this field and will be of particular value for investment sector professionals and business leaders.

As environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies become central to decision making, both in the boardroom and for investors, having an in-depth understanding of the concept is a must for business leaders and investors. PwC’s most recent Global Investor Survey highlighted that 79% of respondents consider ESG risks important in investment decision making.

For the UAE, as it prepares to host COP28 next year, attention will certainly be drawn to the nation’s environmental progress. Understandably, these pressures will be felt by regional businesses, with ESG reporting expected to be a key metric to reflect the progress being made. While understanding and addressing climate change risks is a fundamental aspect of ESG, its implementation and reporting standards remain fragmented and complex – a challenge compounded by conflating two other business risks. This certification aims to combat the complexity of ESG by establishing the fundamentals of ESG, outlining global best-practices, and providing an in-depth understanding of their application.

One of the key drivers behind the adoption of ESG based strategies is investor pressure. PwC research found that investors are increasingly willing to intervene in a company’s efforts to tackle climate change, with almost half of respondents likely to divest if a company is considered to be taking inadequate measures. ESG investing is still a relatively uncharted territory, despite a significant number of businesses opting to voluntarily disclose ESG data and investors increasingly using ESG reports in their decision making. This has made creating a unified standard, such as the CFA certification, even more important.

Amanda Line, PwC Partner and PwC’s Academy Middle East Leader, said: “ESG is the talk in all boardrooms and investment strategy discussions nowadays. Whether you are a business leader seeking investment, an investment practitioner, or an aspiring investment management professional, this globally renowned certification provides you a badge of credibility and respect in the industry.

“It is an intensive and challenging programme, and all those who qualify earn a first-mover advantage in what is likely one of the most in-demand professional attributes in the near future.”

The comprehensive training programme by PwC’s Academy is led by CFA Certified Investments experts who will, over 10 in-depth classroom sessions, cover the entire curriculum and offer extended exam preparation support. Following extensive preparation, the candidates take a final exam to certify their expertise in ESG investing. This global certification is recognised by the UN Principles for Responsible Investing. More information about the programme is available here.