By: Pacific Environment, International Rivers
US - Nicole Catalano, Pacific Environment +1- 415-399-8850x316
Russia and China - Eugene Simonov, Rivers Without Boundaries Coalition, + 86 13942868942, skype: esimonov1968
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An international coalition of NGOs for the protection of transboundary rivers, Rivers without Boundaries, has presented evidence of undisclosed environmental risks to investors in advance of EuroSibEnergo's IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange. The report presented on the International Day of Action for Rivers exposes the environmental risks associated with EuroSibEnergo's plans to use the proceeds from its IPO to build two mega dams in the fragile river system in Siberia, including those connected to the protected Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater system in the world.
BankTrack members Pacific Environment and International Rivers are calling on investors to consider the report compiled by Rivers without Boundaries, which outlines the major environmental, social and political risks of the proposed hydropower projects. It also brings to EuroSibEnergo's poor environmental track record to light. In the past, the company's systemic failure regarding basic environmental management and corporate social responsibility practices has meant that its investors had to bear the burden of significant environmental fees and fines. These risks have not been adequately disclosed in EuroSibEnergo's listing documents.
The international NGO community is very concerned about the impacts of EuroSibEnergo's projects on the fragile Lake Baikal ecosystem -a UNESCO World Heritage Site -; the region's surrounding biodiversity and local communities.
"Large hydro in Siberia and in the Russian Far East compromises communities and ecosystems and is certainly not a ‘sustainable alternative renewable energy source,'" states Leah Zimmerman, Interim Executive Director of Pacific Environment.
"There are many excellent untapped alternatives for truly green energy in Russia, including solar and wind. Investors should not be fooled into thinking that hydropower in the Lake Baikal region is an alternative or sustainable investment for meeting Russia and China's energy needs," added Zimmerman.
Pacific Environment and International Rivers are deeply concerned about EuroSibEnergo's disregard for environmental protection laws and apparent desire to construct these hydropower projects at any cost.
"Investors should shy away from a company that hides so much information about environmental risks in its closet as EuroSibEnergo does. The company's destructive dam projects will not only damage the integrity of Lake Baikal but also the reputation of its investors," says Grace Mang, Program Coordinator at International Rivers.