News Release

UMN offers first-of-its-kind, graduate-level certificate in sustainability leadership

Aerial image of a landscape showing a river next to a field, where there are solar panels and windmills in the distance
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An innovative certificate in Sustainable Environmental, Social and Governance (SESG) Leadership — the University of Minnesota’s first graduate-level program in this specialty — will address a growing need for professionals with the skills to navigate today’s climate, environmental and social justice challenges.

Building on the University’s unique and comprehensive strengths, the multidisciplinary program was developed and sponsored by the Carlson School of Management, Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Institute on the Environment (IonE). The program targets the intersection of policy, business and environmental stewardship with courses that explore applications in areas such as organizational change, supply chain management, financial reporting, and intergenerational justice.

“Our approach underscores our commitment to preparing future leaders who are not only equipped to address pressing global challenges but are also poised to drive meaningful change within their organizations and communities,” said Humphrey School Dean Nisha Botchwey. “This certificate exemplifies our dedication to fostering sustainable solutions and empowering individuals to make a positive impact on the world."

Businesses are recognizing the role they play in climate change as well as increasing calls from investors, regulators and the general public to take action. But many companies, nonprofit organizations and government agencies lack the expertise to address these issues and the sustainability talent pool is also limited.

“The changing business landscape requires greater attention to sustainability efforts,” said Carlson School Dean Jamie Prenkert. “This leadership certificate is a strategic joint effort to elevate our University’s educational opportunities to give our students a competitive edge and provide them with tools to be agents of change across industries.”

The 12-credit program is designed for working professionals, with courses offered during evenings and weekends and through a mix of online or hybrid modalities.

“Sustainability is a long game — a lifelong pursuit — and this program offers a new path for working professionals to learn new tools and techniques, build their networks and expand the impact of their work,” said IonE Executive Director Jessica Hellmann. “As a catalyst for interdisciplinary environmental work, IonE is thrilled to be working with the Humphrey and Carlson Schools to build a program that crosses colleges, schools, and the public and private sectors.”

By launching the SESG Leadership certificate, the University of Minnesota remains competitive with similar offerings from leading universities nationwide. Fall enrollment for the SESG Leadership certificate begins April 2024 and is open to all UMN graduate students and non-degree-seeking students.

About the Carlson School of Management
Located on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus, the Carlson School of Management exemplifies a commitment to excellence through a focus on experiential learning and international education, and by maintaining strong ties with the Minneapolis/Saint Paul business community. Through its undergraduate and graduate programs, the Carlson School offers access to world-renowned faculty members and an alumni network of 55,000 people. Learn more at

About the Humphrey School of Public Affairs
The Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota is ranked as one of the country’s top professional public policy and planning schools. The School is long noted for equipping students to play key roles in public life at the local, state, national and global levels and offers six distinctive master’s degrees, a doctoral degree, and six certificate programs. Learn more at

About the Institute on the Environment  
The University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment supports research across the disciplines, develops the next generation of global leaders, and builds transformative partnerships – in service of solving our world's greatest challenges. IonE’s mission is to lead the way to a future in which people and planet prosper together. Learn more at

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