SASE is highly conscious of the global sustainability crisis and the contribution that has been made to this by academic events and related travel. We are determined to minimise the ecological impact caused by our conferences and other events.
We are also mindful of the need to ensure that any measures we take are consistent with SASE’s own broader objectives and that they are practical for SASE staff and conference organisers. These objectives include: continuing to provide, and where possible to grow, productive forums for debate and networking between our members from all over the world; ensuring the accessibility of our events to less advantaged academic communities such as those based in the global South and precariously employed academics; and maintaining SASE’s ability to deliver these objectives by ensuring its continued financial viability.
SASE’s leadership team will work closely with the local organizing teams of SASE events to address, where possible, sustainability issues as they relate to SASE activities.
SASE as an association
SASE will consider the capacity of local organising teams to deliver a sustainable conference, including a steadily improving virtual conference experience, as one of the criteria for selecting conference venues. To this end potential organisers will be expected to provide a short environmental impact statement.
SASE will consider the accessibility of the host city to SASE members by train or other ground transport as a further criterion for selecting conference venues.
SASE will assist local organizers in organizing sustainable conferences by assembling and passing on knowledge regarding sustainable conference organizing, learning from their experience, and transmitting that learning to future local teams.
SASE will continue to enhance the remote conference experience, for example by improving networking opportunities for remote participants.
SASE will encourage members to think carefully about the environmental effects of their choices, to choose trains over flights where possible, and to consider offsetting the carbon emissions resulting from their journeys.
SASE will support the establishment of initiatives on sustainability and sustainable organizing within the SASE community, for example by research networks.
Local conference organizers
SASE expects local organizers to
- minimise the environmental footprint of the event
- enable remote participation in the event
- offer and encourage vegetarian/vegan catering options, including organic food
- minimize food waste, and the use of plastics and paper
- avoid excessive heating or cooling, and advise delegates in advance of the need for appropriate clothing given this policy
- provide attendees with information on lower-carbon options for travelling to the conference city, notably opportunities to travel by rail instead of air
- provide attendees with detailed information on local public transport options (including details of apps, where available) and encourage their use rather than taxis or hire cars.
Members are encouraged to:
- minimise their conference-related travel, and/or explore alternative, low-emission means of transportation
- avoid air transport whenever viable less polluting ground transport options are available
- participate remotely/virtually in SASE events where possible
- explore possibilities for carbon-offsetting essential conference travel
Revision of this document
These principles are subject to revision by the SASE Executive Council.
With thanks to EGOS, whose sustainability principles we have drawn on in preparing this document: https://www.egosnet.org/egos/about_egos/egos_sustainability_principles