Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (more commonly referred to as ESG) refers to the three central factors in measuring the sustainability and societal impact of an investment in a company or business. Analysis of these criteria can help determine the future financial performance of companies (in other words the return capital and the risks that they face).

ESG criteria are a set of standards for a company’s operations that today’s socially conscious investors use to screen potential investments.

  • Environmental criteria look at how a company performs as a steward of nature in protecting the planet.
  • Social criteria examine how the company manages relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and the communities where it operates.
  • Governance deals with a company’s leadership, the pay of its executives, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights.


Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria are an increasingly popular way for investors to evaluate companies in which they might want to invest. Using ESG criteria can also help investors avoid companies that could pose a greater financial risk due to below par environmental or other practices.

This course is an introduction to these criteria and how they may be used.

Course Key Concepts: Climate change, Diversity, Employee relations, ESG, Governance, Human rights, Investment, Responsible investment, Social impact, Sustainability.

Learning Objectives
  • Explore the environmental, social, and governance criteria and gain an understanding as to how each segment relates to the others.
  • Discover how the three domains of social, environmental and corporate governance are linked to the concept of responsible investment.
  • Discover what the key issues are within each of the three ESG categories.
  • Identify what investment strategies are used to ensure responsible investment.
  • Recognize the critical factors in the environmental, social, and governance mix.
Last updated/reviewed: March 26, 2024
8 Reviews (31 ratings)


Anonymous Author
Interesting course on the history and need for ESG criteria. There was a lot of information that was read straight from the slides. The test could have been worded better. I felt a few of the questions could have been one of two answers.

Anonymous Author
Well laid out historical development of ESG and the direction it intends to go. There were dates, authors, books mentioned in presentation but not listed on slides. Would have liked shown on slides.

Anonymous Author
Very helpful overview of ESG and the history leading to new standards. I found the Final Exam to be difficult and included terminology that was not covered in the course materials.

Anonymous Author
This is a very thorough course that covers how ESG evolved and the many principles surrounding the topic. Presentation is wordy and a bit stuffy making it hard to maintain interest.

Anonymous Author
The instructor provided a good overview of the history and ongoing factors in the relationship of investors and expectations of companies to conserve the planet.

Member's Profile
this was a nice change of pace. i enjoyed the content and the test. thank you for this change of pace

Anonymous Author
Good introduction and overview to environmental, social and governance criteria

Anonymous Author
Interesting course - just a lot of material to go through.

Course Complexity: Foundational

No advanced preparation or prerequisites are required for this course.

Education Provider Information
Company: Illumeo, Inc., 75 East Santa Clara St., Suite 1215, San Jose, CA 95113
Contact: For more information regarding this course, including complaint and cancellation policies, please contact our offices at (408) 400- 3993 or send an e-mail to .
Instructor for this course
Course Syllabus
  An Introduction to Environmental, Social and Governance Criteria4:20
  A Brief History of ESG12:28
  Interpretation of the Law5:26
  ESG Criteria2:40
  How Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Criteria Work4:20
  Responsible Investment3:18
  Institutional Investors under Responsible Investment4:46
  Principles for Responsible Investment10:30
  Pros and Cons of Environmental, Social and Governance Criteria4:54
  Course Wrap Up6:18
  An Introduction to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Criteria1:10:28
  Slides: An Introduction to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) CriteriaPDF
  An Introduction to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Criteria Glossary/ IndexPDF