The World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) is training the largest hydro generator in Lao People’s Democratic Republic in how to improve its management of environmental and social risks to help the company operate more sustainably.

IFC held a a five-day training session last week for 25 professionals from EDL-Generation Public Company (EDL-GEN) and its major shareholder, Electricite du Laos. Participants gained an in-depth understanding of the business case for sustainability and IFC’s Performance Standards, which are recognized globally as a benchmark of environmental and social standards guiding companies on how to mitigate risks and do business sustainably.

“IFC’s training helps our employees understand project risks better and how to apply IFC Performance Standards to their assigned tasks," said Souksanh Phongphila, EDL-GEN’s Director of the Corporate Support and Administration Department. "We are planning to develop a larger environmental and social team that will support the sustainable construction of hydropower plants and provide support to communities surrounding project sites."

IFC’s training also provided the participants with the opportunity to apply what they learned in practical field exercises at hydropower sites around Vientiane province. For example, they created a checklist to determine whether a project complied with IFC’s Performance Standards.
“Our training helps demystify IFC’s Performance Standards," said Pablo Cardinale, IFC’s Principal Environmental Specialist based in Washington D.C. "When participants return to their jobs, we hope that they will try to understand their projects better and approach their work through a new lens."

Established in 2010, EDL-GEN is the first public company in Lao PDR and has seven hydropower projects underway throughout the country, generating 387MW. EDL-GEN sells the majority of its electricity to its state-owned parent Electricite du Laos. EDL-GEN has invested in four independent power producers in Lao PDR, including a 60% stake in Theun Hinboun hydropower project and a 25% stake in Nam Ngum 2 as well as Nam Lik 1 and 2. The company plans to expand its business by taking over existing Electricite du Laos projects, including Huay Lamphan Yai, Nam Khan 2, Nam Khan 3, and Nam Sana hydropower plants.