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Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO)

In this 5-day course you will learn to integrate sustainability into your organization's strategy and operations. You will have a broad, in-depth and up-to-date knowledge of current laws and regulations, challenges, and sustainability risks.

Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) – modes of study

Option 1: 5-day course (classroom and live online)
Option 2: In-company course, tailored to your organisation

35% of large firms in the EU has already appointed a Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO)!

Chief Sustainability OfficerChief Sustainability Officers (CSO) are increasingly being appointed in companies to strategically define and embed/implement sustainability in their organisation. In Europe, 35% of all corporates has already appointed a CSO. As Chief Sustainability Officer, you are responsible for integrating sustainability into your organisation's strategy and operations. For this, you need broad, in-depth and up-to-date knowledge to interweave sustainability in your company's strategy and translate your strategy into working action plans.

A sustainable organization is not only a choice but also a must

An overwhelming number of laws and regulations and an enormous social pressure make integrating sustainability into your overall strategy and business operations both desirable and inevitable. For example, investors will increasingly want to do business with sustainable companies. How do you ensure that people and planet are also embedded in your company?

Climate change is recognized as one of the greatest business risks worldwide. The energy transition is also an important development that your organization can't ignore. What are the effects of circular thinking on the supply chain, the production process, marketing, and your customers? Are there opportunities for your company as well?

The launch of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) by the European Commission is of great importance and leads to regulations that align sustainability reporting with financial reporting. Financial and non-financial reports are therefore given equal value. From the financial year 2024, large companies must - among other things - measure and report their climate impact and from 2027, the EU will also make this mandatory for large SMEs. If you fail to do so, you risk that your annual report will not receive assurance. However, ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) reporting is still in full development. A (future) vision when drawing up and/or checking ESG reports is therefore very important!

Sustainable finance means sustainable investment in or sustainable financing of companies. What does this mean for raising capital? For example, issuing 'green bonds' can be financially (and in terms of reputation) attractive for your organisation. 

To adequately embed sustainability risks in your organisation's risk management, you must have a system for data collection. After all, consistent and reliable data are crucial, also for reporting purposes. In short, how do you develop data-driven ESG management for your company?

Sustainability is not just about the environment. The S (Social) of ESG, such as social inequality, diversity, safe working conditions, etc., is also an important element within sustainability. How do you deal with the social responsibility/impact of your company?

Most European economies must be fully circular by 2050 (Green Deal). There still is a lot to do to realize the transformation to a circular economy. Which standards should you take into account on your way to a circular economy and how do you translate these to your stakeholders? Technological innovation (recycling, hydrogen, etc.), but also legislation, cause changes in cost prices and therefore market dynamics. What are the consequences for your current business models?

Developments in the field of sustainability are moving at the speed of light. The changing and future standards and guidelines will always lead to a reconsideration of your strategy. During the course, ample attention is paid to relevant international standards, guidelines, (emerging) legislation, and current trends.

After this course, you will have up-to-date knowledge about how you can turn sustainability challenges into opportunities for your organization and how you can manage the accompanying risks.

What will you learn as a (future) Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO)?

As a (future) Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) you are confronted with numerous dilemmas, but also with opportunities. For example, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) provide clear frameworks for transforming into a sustainable organisation. You are also required to include non-financial information in your reporting. During the course, therefore, much attention is paid to sustainability reporting, compliance, and audit with an extensive explanation of, among other things, the EU Taxonomy, SDFR, CSRD, TCFD and the Climate Agreement. In addition, the consequences for understanding our impact on the supply chains and developing formal internal structures are being discussed. For an overview of all topics that are covered, please examine the curriculum.

After this course, you can make informed decisions about how to use sustainability as a building block for your strategy and to translate your strategy into actions.

For whom is this Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) course relevant?

The Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) course is of strategic and practical importance for all professionals involved in drawing up, implementing, and reporting on the organization's sustainability policy. We are thinking of (future) CSOs, CEOs, CROs, CIOs, CFOs, controllers and other finance professionals and their internal and external advisors, such as internal and external accountants, auditors, risk managers, compliance officers, policy analysts, (company) lawyers, investor relations managers, HR managers, business/product development managers, quality managers, marketing managers, communication managers, PR managers, environmental managers and supply chain managers.

The course is also important for investors and asset managers, such as banks, insurance companies, private equity companies, pension funds, and regulators.

Also interesting for you!

In addition to the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) course, the following courses may also be of interest to you and/or your colleagues:


During an in-company course, the trainers can link up with the yet to be formulated or existing sustainability strategy of your organization and help you with its implementation. A (tailor-made) in-company course offers many advantages, such as:

  • Organizational issues can be discussed openly because no delegates from other organizations participate
  • It saves you and your colleagues (travel) time and travel and accommodation expenses
  • you follow the course in your own working environment
  • You determine the dates, times, and location yourself
  • From 5 participants, an in-company course is often useful and cost effective

Do you prefer an in-company course? Please contact us for the possibilities. We are happy to discuss all options with you!


Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) – curriculum


Setting the Scene

  • Brundtland report; People, Planet, Profit (PPP); Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); Integrated Thinking; creating shared value
  • Voluntary initiatives/International Responsible Business Conducts (IRBC)
  • Integration of existing (voluntary) initiatives such as Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), etc.
  • Legislation
    • EU Green Deal
    • EU Taxonomy
    • SDFR (Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation)
    • CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive)
    • Translation into international agreements (Paris Climate Agreement)
    • Local fulfillment of international agreements (like the Dutch Climate Agreement as a follow-up of the Paris Climate Agreement)
  • Climate and energy transition and the importance of circularity
  • Imminent risks (dual materiality): impacts of climate change (for business)
  • Reporting
  • Market dynamics (innovation, taxes, consumer preference)
  • Where does your influence lie as Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO)?

Drivers and relevance of sustainability for the business and financial sector

  • What are your personal values?
  • Business reputation (specific examples); Greenwashing
  • Market opportunities
  • Risks: difference between B2B and consumer market
  • Cost and profit potential
  • Legislation (EU), carbon tax, subsidies
  • ISO 26000 (Corporate Social Responsibility/CSR)
  • ISO 14091 (Climate Change Risk Assessment)
  • Customers
  • What is your position in the chain?

Business principles, corporate values, ethics and culture

  • Corporate values
  • Leadership
  • Responsibility of 'the top'
  • Culture and 'tone at the top'
  • Ethics and business
  • Discussion: 'the business of business is doing business'


Sustainability in the strategy

  • The management process throughout the organization (from purchasing, HR, the customer, reporting, etc.)
  • Where is your impact as a company?
  • How do you act?
  • How fast are you developing compared to others (colleagues, peers)?
  • Corporate culture
  • Urgency: investment cycle (years)
  • The role of the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO): various perspectives and studies

From policy to implementation

  • Formulate objectives
  • Setting priorities (materiality analysis)
  • Involving formal (incl. Supervisory Board and other advisory boards) and informal leaders 
  • Involve relevant stakeholders
  • Adapting processes and procedures: using international standards and methods, from ISO and OECD to UNGP (United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights) and SBT (Science-Based Targets)
  • Internal and external communication
  • Measuring the results
  • Data is crucial for sustainability!
  • Transparency about success and setbacks
  • Insights from (formal) reporting: various standards such as GRI (Global Reporting Initiative), ISSB (International Sustainability Standards Board), etc.
  • Review remuneration policy


Legislation (from Europe)

  • EU Green Deal
  • EU Taxonomy
  • Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR): successful implementation partly dependent on Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)
  • Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD): data!
  • Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD)
  • Centrally address negative impacts on human rights and the environment in value chains
  • Link variable remuneration of directors to the sustainability objectives of the company
  • Translation of international agreements
  • Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and Task Force on Nature-Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD)
  • Staying ahead of the benefits of the legislation

Climate agreement

  • No legislation, but still...

Developments with regard to reporting

  • Explanation of the various reporting systems and methodologies such as SASB, GRI, Integrated Reporting, ...


  • Incorporating knowledge about sustainability into existing processes


  • 3 Lines Model
  • Assurance
  • The role of audit and the role of the Audit Committee


What do investors pay attention to and what should they take into account?

  • Return and risk
  • Reputation
  • Followers
  • Whether or not exclude business activities
  • Willingness to reduce negative consequences for society and the environment
  • Willingness to compensate damage (Remedy – United Nations Guiding Principles)
  • Contributing to solutions (real world impacts): per investment but also at portfolio level
  • Using 'Green Bonds'
  • Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and their impact on stock markets
  • Regulators demand insight into sustainability risks

What do banks (and other financiers) pay attention to?

  • Reputational damage and financial damage
  • Example: Equator Principles
  • 'Tailored influence'
  • More and more sector policy
  • From large companies to increasingly smaller companies (sustainability requirements also in the chain)

What do insurers look for?

  • Climate change in particular leads to changes in risk estimates

Risk management

  • Case
  • Policy in conjunction with risk 'appetite'
  • Reputation risks
  • Financial risk
  • Indirect damage


Market changes and innovation

  • Changes in markets
  • Innovation: consequences of existing 'business models'
  • Possibilities to change
  • From strategy to a sustainable profitable (renewed?) business model

Insight into the chain

  • Operate in conjunction

The outside world

  • Stakeholder management
  • How to deal with the media and NGOs?
  • How do you influence suppliers and customers?

You as Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO)

Request brochure


You will receive a Personal Certificate at the end of the course.


Your headtrainer is a (international) sustainability expert.

Vincent van Assem MSc
Vincent van Assem is the owner of VADASU, an organization that is fully dedicated to strategic sustainability advice and its implementation in the business and financial sector. Prior to that, he held various (international) management positions at ABN AMRO, including Sustainable Development Manager for more than 10 years. Vincent is also affiliated with Hogeschool InHolland, an esteemed Dutch college, as a lecturer in 'Sustainable Finance'.


Start date(s)

The Chief Sustainability Officer course takes place near Amsterdam. Class times are from 09:00 in the morning to 17:00 hrs. in the afternoon. You can participate on the following dates:

  • 12 + 13 + 17 + 18 + 19 June 2024
  • 6 + 7 + 11 + 12 + 13 November 2024

Fee / Registration

The fee for the 5-day Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) course is € 4,780 (excl. VAT) per person. This amount includes all lunches, coffee/tea and documentation material.

Step 1/4: Your selection *

All amounts are exclusive of 21% VAT unless stated otherwise.
Are you unable to attend?
If you are unable to attend, we offer you three options:
1. You can have yourself replaced by a colleague free of charge.
2. You can have yourself transferred once - and of course if possible - to a subsequent Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) course, provided that the invoice has been paid.
3. You can cancel up to four weeks before the start of the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) course (provided you have not previously moved your participation to a later date). In that case we will charge you 10% of the invoice amount. In case of cancellation within four weeks before the start of the course, you owe the entire invoice amount.
Whichever option you choose, you must always notify us in writing.
Terms of payment
The invoice amount (incl. VAT) must be paid within 30 days of the invoice date, but always before the start of the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) course.
Terms and Conditions
Our general terms and conditions apply to your registration. The cancellation conditions may differ per course. The cancellation conditions stated here prevail over the cancellation conditions in our general terms and conditions.

Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO)

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