A Guiding Document

The Hydropower Sustainability Guidelines on Good International Industry Practice (HGIIP Guidelines) define expected sustainability performance for the hydropower sector across a range of environmental, social, technical and governance topics.

The 26 HGIIP Guidelines present definitions of the processes and outcomes relating to good practice in the planning, operation and implementation of hydropower projects. As a compendium, the guidelines are a reference document for meeting the expectations of lenders, regulators, and consumers.

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

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 internationally recognised Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol and Hydropower Sustainability ESG Gap Analysis Tool.

Origin and governance

The guidelines are governed by the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council, whose 100 members include social and environmental NGOs, intergovernmental organisations, development banks, governments, and hydropower companies and contractors.

The application of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP) revealed a need for derivative tools to better support hydropower practitioners, governments and other relevant stakeholders in implementing hydropower aligned with international good practice. Most notable was the need for additional guidance on good practice in the different HSAP topics. In response, International Hydropower Association (IHA) developed the HGIIP Guidelines based on the performance framework of the HSAP. Work on the HGIIP Guidelines began in February 2018, leading to the official publication in December 2018.