The World's Biggest Hydropower Dam Company
Sinohydro Corporation is the world’s largest hydropower construction company with a 50% share of the international hydropower market, which consists of a 65% share of hydropower projects within China. Sinohydro has aggressively pursued the international dam-building opportunities and is now active in South-East Asia, South Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. While Sinohydro strives to be an international leading hydropower construction company, it remains to be seen whether Sinohydro has leading international practices on environmental and community safeguards to achieve its global ambitions.
Sinohydro's role in several controversial hydropower projects has been the focus of significant criticism. During the construction of the destructive Merowe Dam in Sudan in the mid-2000s, Sinohydro along with other international contractors, was called upon by the United Nations to stop work after reports that local villagers were being flooded out of their homes. Sinohydro's failure to respect the request resulted in significant international criticism of China's role in global dam building. Today, Sinohydro's role in developing mega-hydropower projects on the Salween (Burma), Mekong mainstream (Lao PDR), Patuca (Honduras) and Nile Rivers (Sudan) has meant that the company continues to be the focus of international attention and scrutiny for its social and environmental footprint abroad.
Over the past five years, Sinohydro has demonstrated an increasing sensitivity to projects with environmental, safety and social issues. Sinohydro is seeking to build its reputation as an leader in the international market. In an interview with the Global Power Report in 2011, the then Vice President of Sinohydro, Huang Baodong, said that opposition to hydropower projects around the world had made the company more cautious while bidding for projects. "We now bid for projects which have the approval of either the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank" Mr Baodong said.
Recognizing Sinohydro's impact on communities and environments around the world, in 2009 International Rivers and Sinohydro began a policy dialogue on its overseas activities. Using this platform, International Rivers and our partners in Sinohydro dam-affected communities, urged Sinohydro to adopt an environmental policy that reflected international best practice and engage in a dialogue with civil society in the host countries of its projects. Sinohydro has accepted these recommendations.
Sinohydro's Environmental Policy
In 2011, Sinohydro adopted company-wide environmental and social standards. Its Sustainability Framework contains environmental, sustainability and safety policy documents that set out the overarching objectives, commitments and activities to be undertaken and a timeline for implementation. The standards adopted are consistent with international best practices, as Sinohydro has adopted the World Bank’s safeguard policies as a minimum standard. International Rivers' 2012 New Great Walls: guide to China's overseas dam builders summarizes key aspects of Sinohydro's environmental policy. These may be useful to communities impacted by Sinohydro projects. The key policy commitments are summarized here.
Company Spokesperson: Wang Zhiping
Position: Office of the General Manager