First-of-its-kind program at Colby leverages Avangrid and Iberdrola’s global sustainability expertise to create immersive practical experience for students
ORANGE, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#CleanEnergy–Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), a leading sustainable energy company and member of the Iberdrola Group, announced today that it has partnered with the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Economics Department at Colby College in Waterville, Maine to conduct an independent-study and global experience focusing on theoretical ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) and its real-world applications. This first-of-its-kind program at Colby leverages Avangrid and Iberdrola’s ESG expertise to provide an immersive practical experience for students.
“As recognized sustainability leaders, it was a natural fit for Avangrid and Iberdrola to partner with Colby College to launch this unique course,” said Pedro Azagra, Avangrid CEO. “There is no substitution for quality education. We need programs like this at an undergrad level to increase interest in the sustainability field and build ESG knowledge. These students are the future workforce that will usher in the clean energy future.”
The four-week program launched as a test year with a four-person cohort of students. It was part of Colby’s exploratory term in January, Jan Plan, which provides students with a wide range of academic experiences and opportunities. The course included three weeks on the Colby campus to establish a foundational knowledge of ESG via guest speakers from Avangrid, including Vice President of Sustainability and Colby alumna Laney Brown, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Liz Riotte and Director of Innovation Enrique Bosch. The students then traveled to Iberdrola’s offices in Bilbao, Spain during the course’s final week to meet with and interview Iberdrola leaders and tour facilities, such as Iberdrola’s Smart Hub and Smart Laboratory.
The course culminated in final presentations today to Colby faculty, fellow students, and Avangrid and Iberdrola experts. The students framed their presentations as third-party consultants who were presenting to investors on Iberdrola’s ESG goals and strategy. The presentations included a summary of Avangrid and Iberdrola’s sustainable commitments, an explanation of how the company will achieve these goals and the metrics used to measure results, and an assessment of the company’s strategy.
This partnership with Colby further demonstrates Avangrid’s commitment to supporting clean energy education and workforce development—the company also partners with MIT to fund a fully endowed chair at the MIT Energy Initiative and, locally, the Avangrid Foundation has partnered with the University of Southern Maine to fund the Avangrid David Flanagan Endowed Professorship and the Avangrid David Flanagan Memorial Endowed Scholarship in Sustainability.
“It’s been extremely fulfilling to develop this course in partnership with my alma mater,” said Brown. “I know first-hand the value that an immersive course can have on your learning and development. I received my dual MBA through Iberdrola’s program. Executives from across the companies brought real world examples and applications to the course. This was invaluable experience that helps me to this day, so I jumped at the opportunity to partner with Colby and provide this type of education to Colby students.”
For over two decades, the Iberdrola Group has been leading the transition to clean energy and combating climate change while offering a sustainable and competitive business model that creates value for society. As a member of the Iberdrola Group, Avangrid’s climate action strategy is informed by Iberdrola’s commitments. Avangrid is one of the United States’ cleanest utilities and is a recognized leading sustainable energy company—last year, the company earned a total of 14 sustainability awards and recognitions, including being among America’s Climate Leaders by USA Today and being named a World’s Most Ethical Company for the fifth consecutive year by the Ethisphere.
“Colby and the Goldfarb Center are proud to launch a program that explores the public policy discussions in the ESG arena, while creating an innovative partnership between academia and the private sector,” said Alison Beyea, executive director of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs. “This program is not just an independent study; it’s a transformative global experience that prepares our students to be the next generation of sustainability and civic leaders able to engage in public policy on a world-wide stage.”
“Studying ESG and sustainably in this small group was not only an immersive experience, but it was also truly eye-opening to see its practical applications abroad,” said Leila Iredell, a Colby student. “It added a valuable real-world perspective to our learning.”
Colby has a long history of environmental sustainability, including becoming one of the first colleges in the country to achieve carbon neutrality. The College has also pioneered academic programs focused on environmental sustainability and has a legacy of green values that have made it a leader in environmental initiatives.
For photos of the final presentations and the students’ trip to Spain, click here.
About Avangrid: Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) aspires to be the leading sustainable energy company in the United States. Headquartered in Orange, CT with approximately $41 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states, Avangrid has two primary lines of business: networks and renewables. Through its networks business, Avangrid owns and operates eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Through its renewables business, Avangrid owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. Avangrid employs more than 7,500 people and has been recognized by JUST Capital in 2021, 2022 and 2023 as one of the JUST 100 companies – a ranking of America’s best corporate citizens. In 2023, Avangrid ranked first within the utility sector for its commitment to the environment. The company supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2023 for the fifth consecutive year by the Ethisphere Institute. Avangrid is a member of the group of companies controlled by Iberdrola, S.A. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.