01 May 2017

Sustainability and Social Responsibility Guidelines


The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) is committed to embracing environmental sustainability best practices in our society, across our operations and programming, and consistend with our mission and values. We define sustainability in an inclusive way, encompassing human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods and a better world for all generations.

In 2012, SETAC World Council apprived the Berlin Declaration on Sustainability, which specifies five areas where SETAC can engage to advance sustainability as a science and to promote sustainability in its operations. Subsequently, these guidelines were established as a steppingstone from the declaration towards operationalizing environmental sustainability in our society.

The SETAC Sustainability and Social Responsibility Guidelines are organized consistent with the Sustainability Tracking, Assessnent and Rating System (STARS) used by colleges and universities to measure their sustainaiblity performance for reporting on sustainability used in the United States, where SETAC is incorporated.

Air and Climate

Recognizing the myriad negative imacts of global climate change, we are committed to minimizing direct and indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with operations and programming. We do this by:

  • Supporting employee telecommuting
  • Supporting online collaborations that reduce the need for travel where possible
  • Creating opportunities to offset GHG emissions associated with business travel
  • Making decisions when purchasing goods and services with sustainability in mind


Recognizing that buildings can be designed, built and maintained in ways that provide a safe and healthy indoor environment for inhabitants while simultaneously mitigating the building's impact on the outdoor environment, we are committed to prioritizing office space, conference centers and other venues that serve as local models of sustainability.


Recognizing that each decision represents an opportunity to choose environmentally and socially preferable programs, we are committed to:

  • Making buisness decisions based on sustainability principles (e.g., encouraging online meetings and programs)
  • Selecting vendors with strong commitments to sustainability, for example vendors that use renewable energy in the production process or try to cut down on packaging
  • Identifying event venues that are walkable and bike friendly


Recognizing that implementing energy conservation measures and switching to renewables can reduce GHG emissions, save money and help support markets for cleaner, renewable sources of energy, we are committed to:

  • Selecting office space, conference centers and other venues that meet energy efficiency standards or source clean and renewable energy
  • Minimizing energy consumption in our office space and venues for our events

Food and Dining

Recognizing that sustainable dining practices can help support ecologically sound, fair, humane and resilient food systems, we are committed to:

  • Purchasing environmentallly and socially preferable food and beverages (seasonal and locally sourced products)
  • Making vegan and vegetarian options available and promoting low-impact dining
  • Minimizing single-use items (e.g., cutlery and dishware)
  • Minimizing food waste through source reduction, donation or composting


Recognizing that each purchasing decision represents an opportunity to choose environmentally an dsocially preferable products and services, we are committed to:

  • Requesting low packaging at purchasing (e.g., buying in bulk)
  • Limiting printing and encouraging online alternatives
  • Choosing more sustainable printing options, such as FSC-certified, 100% recycled paper or vegetable-based ink
  • Purchasing recycled paper
  • Contracting with local community-based printing services
  • Reusing materials (e.g., lanyards)
  • Working proactively with our service providers to encourage more sustainable practices


Recognizing the positive environmental, social and health impacts of using more sustainable transportation options, we are committed to:

  • Minimizing the impact of employee commuting by supporting telecommuting
  • Minimizing the impact of event travel (meetings, workshops, board meetings) through site selection (prioritize accessible venues that offer public transport), considering a shuttle service where public transportation is not available, and encouraging participants to use more sustainable transportation options and offset air travel
  • Selecting event locations that are walkable and bike friendly


Recognizing the positive environmental and social impacts of minimizing waste and diverting materials from the landfill or incinerator, we are committed to:

  • Limiting printing and encouraging online alternatives
  • Encouraging recycling and composting
  • Selecting materials that are recyclable and/or compostable over others
  • Working with our exhibitors to encourage sustainable practices (e.g., promotional materials)


Recognizing the importance of protecting surface water, groundwater and public water supplies, we are committed to:

  • Selecting office space, conference centers and other venues that employ water efficient fixtures and systems, water recycling and reuse, and other green infrastructure such as good stormwater management (e.g., living roof, run-off retention or treatment, etc.)
  • The use of reusable beverage containers at all events and other strategies to minimize the consumption of bottled water

Coordination and Planning

Recognizing that sustainability requires accountability and transparency in operations and governance, we are committed to:

  • Embracing cooperation and civil dialogue as one of our values and in all our work
  • Working in a democratic fashion in our operations and governance structures to ensure that all stakeholders have access to decision-making processes. This includes member-elected positions on formal governance bodies, committees, interest groups and other mechanisms for stakeholder engagement
  • Maintaining a whistleblower policy that empowers employees and members to raise complaints or issues without fear of reprisal
  • Integrating organizational sustainability into our formal plans and reports
  • Providing training for employees to create awareness
  • Transparency in relation to the public and our members and employees (e.g., open book management practices, participatory budgetary processes)

Diversity and Affordability

Recognizing that the historical legacy and persistence of discrimination based on race, gender, class and other differences requires an active approach to promoting a culture of inclusiveness as an important component of creating an equitable society, we are committed to:

  • Embracing diversity and inclusion as one of our values
  • Fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace and all programming
  • Maintaining an anti-harassement and anti-discrimination policy for employees
  • Making our programs and services accessible and affordable to historically disadvantaged and low-income populations


Recognizing that environmentally and socially responsible investing can improve long-term fiscal health, encourage better corporate behavior, support innovation in sustainable products and services, and help build a more just financial system, we are committed to:

  • Embracing transparency and integrity as values and are actively working towards transparent financial management
  • Investing SETAC assets in a socially responsible way
  • Providing regular employes with a retirement plan that includes socially responsible funds where retirement plans are offered

Wellbeing and Work

Recognizing that the people of an organization define its character and capacity to perform, and that an organization's achievements can only be as strong as its community, we are committed to:

  • Embracing equity as one of our values and prompting employee pay and benefit equity
  • Offering employee continuing education and professional development
  • Maintaining a forma problem resolution procedure to help resolve workplace problems

Adopted by SETAC World Council in May 2017