The Hydropower Sustainability Standard

Find out more about the only sustainability certification initiative in the renewables sector.

The Standard

The Hydropower Sustainability Standard is a global certification scheme, outlining sustainability expectations for hydropower projects around the world. 

Hydropower has a key role to play in the clean energy transition. The Standard can help make sure that hydropower projects provide net benefits to the local communities and environments they interact with. 

The Standard covers twelve environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics, including: Biodiversity and Invasive Species, Indigenous Peoples, Cultural Heritage and more.
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The Hydropower Sustainability Standard is the only global certification scheme for operators to accredit their projects as Certified Sustainable. It is supported by industry, governments, and NGOs.

Certification of a project indicates that it meets minimum sustainability expectations across a comprehensive range of topics using up to date and sector specific sustainability guidance.

The Standard is aligned with green finance initiatives such as the Climate Bonds Initiative’s Hydropower Criteria. Certifying a project using the standard is the easiest way to unlock green finance for it.
Find out more about certifying your project


The Standard is governed by the Hydropower Sustainability Council, an independent body which is comprised of representatives from social, community and environmental organisations, commercial and development banks and the hydropower sector.  

The council  is currently chaired by Dr Ashok Khosla, one of the world’s leading experts on sustainable development. Dr Khosla previously chaired the  International Union for Conserving Nature (IUCN) and has worked in the environmental and development sectors for over 50 years.  
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How-to guides

A suite of How-to Guides offering a deep dive into specific sustainability topics supplements the Hydropower Sustainability Standard.

Published by the International Hydropower Association (IHA), these guides can help hydropower professionals to achieve good practice in line with the internationally recognised Hydropower Sustainability Tools

How-to Guides have been published on Hydropower Resettlement, Labour and Working  Conditions, Benefit Sharing and more.  
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Sustainability Training

The Hydropower Sustainability Standard, can help to identify gaps in the sustainability performance of hydropower projects and offer guidance on how to improve. 

The Hydropower Sustainability Training Academy offers regular training for professionals with any level of experience to learn how to  upgrade the sustainability performance of their hydropower project.

Built on 25 years of hydropower experience, the Hydropower Sustainability Training Academy provides the most comprehensive knowledge about sustainability in the hydropower sector.
Find out more about training opportunities

The Hydropower Sustainability Standard and tools are governed by the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council, a multi-stakeholder group of representatives from energy companies, government agencies, financial institutions and social and environmental NGOs.

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