Marketing Guidelines

The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) is pleased to provide these Marketing Guidelines for the use of its name and certification mark in connection with the Low Impact Hydropower Certification Program. Certification is designed to provide consumers with assurance that a facility that displays the LIHI certification has met the LIHI Certification Criteria, meaning that the environmental impact is low compared to other hydropower facilities. Certification entitles power from the facility to be marketed as certified Low Impact Hydropower. In order to protect the consumer and provide the greatest degree of credibility for the Low Impact Hydropower Certification Program, all marketing claims associated with Low Impact Hydropower certification must comply with the following guidelines.

Federal Trade Commission Standards

All publication, display, or use of a Low Impact Hydropower certification or seal must follow the principles established by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides, also known as the Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims. 16 C.F.R. Part 260. Under the Green Guides, all environmental claims used in advertising must:

  1. Be factually based (and objectively verifiable to the extent technically possible);
  2. Not overstate environmental attributes or benefits, expressly or by implication;
  3. Present comparative claims in a manner that makes the basis for the comparison sufficiently clear to avoid customer deception; and
  4. Ensure that any necessary qualifiers or disclaimers be sufficiently clear and prominent to prevent deception.

Additionally, LIHI certification does not eliminate the obligation of facilities and marketers to ensure that they have substantiation for any and all marketing claims reasonably communicated by their advertising and statements.

Approved Language

Marketers that publish, use, or display a LIHI certification logo or seal must publish near or alongside the logo or seal the following text clearly and prominently, and in close proximity to the claims of Low Impact Hydropower certification.

This product includes Low Impact Hydropower from facilities certified by the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (an independent non-profit organization) to have environmental impacts in key areas below levels the Institute considers as the maximum acceptable for hydropower facilities. For more information about the certification, please see

Any reference to individuals, companies, or organizations that are LIHI Certification Program Supporters or that otherwise support LIHI, must include the disclaimer provided below. This disclaimer must be clear and prominent and in close proximity to the reference to supporting individuals, companies or organizations.

The following organizations support the goals and objectives of the Low Impact Hydropower Certification Program [or otherwise support the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (add if relevant)]. Certification of a facility as Low Impact Hydropower does not imply endorsement of that facility or any resulting power product by any of these organizations.

Language referring to the Low Impact Hydropower designation and LIHI Certification Program Supporters may appear only in written materials related to the certified facility or to power generated from the facility.

Any publication, use, or display of the LIHI logo or seal other than that consistent with these Marketing Guidelines must be pre-approved by LIHI, including press releases or product marketing materials that depart from the pre-approved language for describing the Low Impact Hydropower Certification Program or Supporters.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Facilities certified as Low Impact Hydropower must maintain compliance with all Low Impact Hydropower criteria and with these Marketing Guidelines. If LIHI finds that a Certified facility has committed a significant violation of the terms of the LIHI Certification, or if LIHI finds that a material misrepresentation of fact was made in any submission from an applicant or Certificate holder, and such violation or material misrepresentation is not corrected within thirty (30) days after the facility receives written notice from the Executive Director, the Governing Board may:

  • Impose additional conditions and/or condition fees;
  • Revoke or modify the Certification;
  • Bar the Certificate holder from re-applying to certify the same facility for five years;
  • Require the Certificate holder to immediately notify its current customers that its Certification has been revoked, and, if its customers do not deliver power to the ultimate retail customer, to immediately notify the retail marketer; and/or
  • Require any entity marketing power from the facility to immediately stop employing the LIHI Certification in its marketing unless it can find other supply that is also Low Impact Certified®.


The Low Impact Hydropower criteria have been established as relatively simple objective criteria for distinguishing hydropower in the marketplace. These criteria should not, however, be considered a benchmark for exemplary environmental operations at hydropower facilities. While the criteria are intended to be a national baseline for evaluating impacts of hydropower, not all environmental or social impacts associated with hydropower facilities are addressed by the criteria. In addition, while the reliance on resource agency recommendations for many facilities is designed to create an objective system based on scientific evidence that takes into account site-specific conditions, any specific facility may have unique conditions that require more or less stringent conditions for environmental protection. Thus, supporters of the Low Impact Hydropower criteria, officers and staff of the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, and recipients of Low Impact Hydropower certification reserve the right to seek conditions other than those outlined in the Low Impact Hydropower criteria in any legal or administrative proceeding.

Support of the Low Impact Hydropower Certification Program or of the Low Impact Hydropower criteria also does not imply endorsement of any facility certified pursuant to the Certification Program or any resulting power product. Supporters of the Low Impact Hydropower criteria, and officers and staff of the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, reserve the right to individually endorse or otherwise comment upon facilities receiving Low Impact Hydropower certification and resulting power products. In addition, support of the Low Impact Hydropower Certification Program or of the Low Impact Hydropower criteria does not imply endorsement of any level of power consumption. Supporters of the Low Impact Hydropower criteria, and officers and staff of the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, reserve the right to promote energy conservation as an alternative to power generation.

The term “Low Impact Hydropower” should not be published or used in a way that implies that a certified facility has no environmental impacts. In addition, the certification of some facilities as Low Impact Hydropower does not mean and should not imply that the Low Impact Hydropower Institute or its supporters, officers or staff are labeling other hydropower facilities as high impact.

The Low Impact Hydropower Certification Program is also intended only to aid in differentiating the environmental performance among hydropower facilities. LIHI certifies facilities whose impacts are low compared to other hydropower facilities based on objective scientific environmental criteria. LIHI certification is being provided to allow well sited and well operated hydropower facilities to gain market advantage because of the benefits that hydropower provides compared to some other power sources. However, the Certification Program only provides a comparison among hydropower facilities, and does not compare the environmental impact of hydropower generation to any other forms of power production. In LIHI’s view, the impacts of hydropower are not strictly comparable to the impacts of other generation sources.

LIHI’s Certification Criteria and other program requirements are subject to change by LIHI’s Governing Board. The Governing Board reserves the right to modify the criteria and other Certification Program requirements as needed, following public review and comment.