Finnish company off the hook in Lao dam project


Finnish Pöyry Oyj did not violate OECD Corporate Social Responsibility Guidelines in its dam project in Laos. However, companies should assess the risks of similar projects more carefully and act more transparently in the future. This recommendation is contained in the statement issued by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy.

The statement concerns the actions of Finnish consultants, Pöyry Oyj, and its Swiss auxiliary Pöyry Energy AG in the Xayaburi dam project in Laos.

Commissioned by the government in Laos Pöyry has carried out a technical comparison of the original project plan for the hydropower plant and the recommendations given by the Mekong River Commission.

Pöyry has not done any project planning or environmental assessment or social impact assessment relating to the project. A year ago, a total of 15 non-governmental organizations filed a complaint to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, claiming that Pöyry Oyj had not complied with OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The NGOs felt that when studying the environmental and human rights impacts of the dam project, the company had not paid sufficient attention to its negative effects.

The statement states that as a leading company in the sector, Pöyry had influence on the progress of the project. However, Pöyry operated within the confines of a relatively limited assignment, which for example restricted its possibilities of hearing the stakeholders.

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