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Revolutionizing ESG education: Carbon Markets micro-certificate

“I don’t think there’s an investment in this space that goes unrewarded,” says sustainable finance leader Jason Taylor about skill development in ESG.
March 6, 2024

Carbon markets

Concordia's committment to spearheading innovation is the driving force behind the introduction of groundbreaking micro-certificates in sustainable finance and ESG communications, marking a significant stride in fostering growth in these vital fields.

Jason Taylor, a sustainable finance expert and the instructor of the micro-certificates in carbon and biodiversity, helped develop the programs. Here's how they will address a widening skills gap in the sustainability sector and provide professionals with insights to confidently tackle new professional challenges.

How does your background position you to guide students looking to gain the sustainability knowledge they need to advance their careers?

Jason Taylor: After starting my career in finance, I ventured into sustainable finance in 2018 during my MBA to find a way to reconcile the power of finance in influencing behavioural change and contributing to what has been and still is considered today a large funding gap for environmental and sustainability objectives. 

I'm very passionate about using the power of capital to mobilize positive outcomes, and I returned to school to do this in a more informed and technical manner. Since then, I've continued, never really stopping learning because, the more I venture into the area, I realize how complex it is.

I love finance, and I love sustainability, and I find that bringing those two things together can contribute to truly positive outcomes. That's really what inspires me, and I love working with students, uncovering their passion, and helping them nourish that passion so that they can go on and forge their own success. 

How do you envision this micro-certificate making a meaningful impact on the professionals working in the rapidly evolving landscape of sustainable finance?

JT: Having led the sustainable finance buildout of two banks and worked with a wide variety of clients across different geographical locations in this space, it becomes apparent that those who invest time in developing their skills are significantly more effective for their employers, clients, and transaction. This is why we wanted this course rigorously focused on the practicality. Ultimately, we want our students to walk away with a toolkit of resources that they can use to generate tangible value within organizations.

I've had a lot of pleasure witnessing the progression of former employees—seeing them advance, get promoted, increase their salaries substantially, find meaning in their work, get close to their values, and find inspiration in their psychological space. So intellectually, it's stimulating, and I don’t think there’s an investment in this space that goes unrewarded. Every book, every paper, every course, every project, and every transaction all contribute to making a financial professional more effective. 

Concerning carbon, the area started out as something qualitative, with people recognizing the effects of global warming and appreciating the cost of inaction. However, carbon is now quickly starting to price into the value of assets and securities and affecting financial performance and corporate valuation. So it's now evolving into an area that's highly technical. We’re looking to equip students with tools to make the right calculations and adjustments to ensure that they navigate this potential liability efficiently and are capable of solving these complex challenges on their own. 

How does effective sustainable finance education contribute to mitigating the challenges posed by the climate crisis?

JT: I've had a chance to witness, on multiple occasions, the shortage of industry capacity. Presently, there's a high amount of science-based targets, voluntary commitments, and desire and intent to transition. However, that requires a significant number of people to mainstream these activities at the desk level. Given how little time there is to decarbonize the economy, the only way forward, in my opinion, is to accelerate capacity building. 

This micro-certificate is an opportunity to leverage professional abilities to their fullest extent and help accelerate and double down on the speed and implementation. There's a real cost to delaying; the cost of inaction is is far higher than the investment that goes into greening the economy. 


Learn more from Taylor during the micro-certificate in Carbon Markets and the Economics of Carbon Removal starting March 13. 

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