IHA releases new sustainability guidelines to define good practice for hydropower

The Hydropower Sustainability Guidelines on Good International Industry Practice, released yesterday, present a definition of the processes and outcomes relating to good international practice in the hydropower sector.

The International Hydropower Association says the guidelines are a reference document to meet the expectations of lenders, regulators and consumers.

Derived through consultation with a broad coalition of industry, civil society, governments and financial institutions, the set of 26 guidelines define expected sustainability performance around a range of environmental, social, technical and governance topics relevant to hydropower activities.

The guidelines are governed by the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council, whose 100 members include representatives of the World Bank Group, Inter-American Investment Corporation, Women for Water Partnership, WWF, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Norwegian Agency for Development, Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs and IHA.

Roger Gill, chair of the council’s governance committee, said the guidelines should “demystify what is required to advance sustainable hydropower.” “Use of the guidelines on good international industry practice will enable hydropower developers and operators across the world to step up to ensure their projects can meet the needs and expectations of the communities they serve,” he stated.  

Aligned with standards developed by the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, and the Equator Principles group of banks, the guidelines are hydropower-specific and designed to support assessments of project performance using the council’s Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol and ESG Gap Analysis Tool.

Developed for a range of stages in the planning, development and operation of a hydropower project, compliance with each guideline can be specified in commercial contracts between financiers and developers, and developers and contractors.

Earlier this year, IHA announced the release of a new suite of tools for assessing hydropower projects against sustainability performance criteria.

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