ESG Exam Info

The CFA Institute Certificate in ESG Investing explores environmental, social and governance issues in the context of investment decision-making. Here we summarise the information you will find handy when deciding on the ESG qualification and how to best prepare for your CFA UK ESG exam.

General Information

The Certificate in ESG Investing is developed, administered, and awarded by CFA Society of the United Kingdom (CFA UK) and successful candidates will receive the CFA UK Level 4 Certificate in ESG Investing.

Launched by CFA UK in 2019, the Certificate in ESG Investing, developed by leading practitioners for practitioners, is designed to meet the increasing demand for further education, guidance and standards around environmental, social and governance issues.

The Certificate is supported or recognized by the following international bodies and societies:
CFA Society United Kingdom
CFA Institute
CFA Society Denmark
CFA Society Spain
CFA Society Switzerland
CFA Society Finland
CFA Society France
CFA Society Luxembourg
CFA Society VBA Netherlands
CFA Society Ireland
PRI Academy

Candidate prerequisites and recommendations

There are no formal prerequisites to studying the ESG Certificate. A knowledge of the investment process is useful but not essential.

The Certificate in ESG Investing programme is recommended  for practitioners working in investment roles who need to analyse and also to integrate material ESG factors as part of their day-to-day roles.

Candidates looking to improve their understanding of ESG issues applicable to all asset classes working in:
• sales & distribution
• wealth management
• product development
• financial advice
• consulting
• compliance
• risk

Registration Process for the Certificate in ESG Investing

You need to have a CFA UK account which you can create here.

After logging into your CFA UK account you can purchase the bundled exam and training materials.

Access to online materials via the CFA UK secure platform is included within the registration fee.

Candidates may opt to purchase a hard copy of the learning materials for £40 + postage.

The current, Edition 2 syllabus is valid for examinations until 30 September 2021.

After completing the online registration and paying the associated fee candidates get a confirmation email containing:
– username and password
– explaining how to schedule their exam
– how to access learning materials via the online platform


The current Certificate in ESG Investing version 2 syllabus has 9 chapters which covers a broad overview of the development of ESG investing, combined with technical aspects such as portfolio constructions.

The syllabus has the following topics areas, which in turn have these exam weights:

ESG Investing Certificate Topic Areas Exam Weights
Introduction to ESG 4% – 8%
The ESG Market 4% – 8%
Environmental Factors 6% – 12%
Social Factors 6% – 12%
Governance Factors 6% – 12%
Engagement & Stewardship 6% – 10%
ESG Analysis, Valuation & Integration 20% – 32%
​ESG Integrated Portfolio Construction & Management 8% – 14%
Investment Mandates, Portfolio Analytics & Client Reporting 4% – 8%


Level 4 Certificate in ESG Investing fees payable to the CFA UK

ESG Investing – Exam registration and online learning materials £485.00
ESG Investing – Exam registration resit fee £350.00
ESG Investing – Hard copy of the learning materials £40 + p&p


Study Information

Studying for the ESG Certificate should take between 100 and 150 hours. We recommend spending at least an hour a day on this so that you can sit the exam within around four months of starting. Although you will have a year from registration in which to do the exam, a more intense timetable will make the studying more efficient.

Exam Information

The exam contains 100 multiple choice questions, including a few (multi-question) item sets, and candidates have 2 hours 20 minutes to complete the paper.

You can sit the exam either at the nearest Pearson VUE centre (hundreds of locations around the world) or at home using the OnVUE Online Proctoring service.

Candidates, after registering and paying for the exam, are required to wait two working days before they are permitted to schedule the exam. The registration is valid for 12 months, if the exam is not taken within this period registration fee will be forfeited.

Exam rescheduling or cancellation of an arranged exam appointment is to be done with a more than 72 hours prior notice, prior to the appointment time.

To pass the exam you will need a score of at least 60 to 70%. The exact pass mark is not published but is adjusted to take account of question difficulty. You get your provisional result immediately at the end of the exam.

Details about the remote exam testing are available here.

There is possibility for an exam resit for a fee.

Candidates failing the exam or being absent from an arranged exam appointment are required to re-register and pay the full exam fee again before being permitted to schedule another exam sitting.

Candidates are not allowed to take the ESG exam more than four times in any four-month test window. No further attempts are allowed once a candidate achieves a passing score. For resits, candidates need to wait 3 working days after the exam date to re-register for the exam.


When you pass the exam you will receive the CFA UK Level 4 Certificate in ESG Investing, you can also claim a digital badge of the certificate.

If you have also passed the level 4 IMC exam then you will be awarded the CFA UK Level 4 Diploma in Investment Management (ESG).

ESG Exam Prep

Quartic provides CFA Institute Certificate in ESG Investing candidates with an intuitive and informative approach: a detailed workbook covering all topics, accompanied by a library of inspirational videos and an extensive question bank with mock exams. There are scheduled live sessions as well, designed to be accessible for all time zones on our ESG Live programme.

We have included an additional section – Finance Essentials – at the back of our workbook to provide background knowledge on areas of finance within ESG. These include quantitative methods, accounting, asset classes and portfolio theory, with video explanation of each concept. Although not directly examinable, the Finance Essentials section provides invaluable background to ESG candidates who would like to improve their knowledge.

The knowledge gained by studying for the Certificate in ESG Investing will not only get you through the exam but will help you to address ESG-focused questions and enhance the ESG credentials of your portfolios in your investment practice.

Check our ESG prep course options and our ESG course brochure, for any queries, please get in touch.

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